Planning a trip to Jordan with kids? All the important facts you need to know before you go!
In this post we will cover:
- Is Jordan family-friendly?
- Is Jordan Safe?
- Religion in Jordan
- What should women wear in Jordan
- What to pack for the family
- Jordan Visa Requirements
- Jordan Pass
- Best Time to Visit Jordan
- Jordanian Food and Kids
- Further Resources to prepare for visiting Jordan
Want to know how to tackle getting around Jordan? Pop over to our itinerary post for our 9-day highlights tour.
Is Jordan family-friendly?
Absolutely!!! Now let’s be clear, it’s not Disney World. This is the opposite end of the spectrum for family travel but equally exciting and rewarding.
I’ve often heard the Middle East described as “a lot of rocks and sand” (In fact I’ve probably used that expression too) – but curious and adventurous children couldn’t love this combination more!! It is the perfect place for outdoor exploration and introducing many concepts around history, religion and nature – a world schooling paradise!
Is Jordan Safe?
Jordan has a rather auspicious geographic position in the world for sure, sandwiched between Israel and the West Bank, Syria and Iraq doesn’t conjure up the most family-friendly of images. But throughout Jordan’s history, they have been a moderate in an otherwise unstable region.
Please, please never taint a whole region though by the actions of few. Read up on current politics before planning a trip to Jordan and check any Government warnings before making assumptions. Be broadminded.
The Jordanian Government undoubtedly faces refugee issues, particularly from Syria since 2011. But as tourists, you are very unlikely to be exposed to this and any related troubles unless you head to the northern border areas. Tourism is critical to the countries future and valued guests are treated as such. At the time of writing Jordan is considered very politically stable.
Like so many less developed countries, hygiene and road safety are likely to be the most important things to be mindful of when travelling with children. And of course in any country that gets a lot of sunshine with outdoor activities be mindful of sun protection. We also find mosquitos to be a bit of a nuisance, particularly at the Dead Sea. Currently, there are no additional vaccines recommended.
Note some travel insurance companies may not cover you for Jordan. Please read your policy fine print.
Religion in Jordan
Jordan is predominantly a Sunni Muslim country, but by our experience, more liberal than many of the neighbouring Gulf States. Christians make up around 6% of the population, mostly in the north near Amman and are very accepted.
When staying in Amman you may at first be overwhelmed by the sound of the call to prayer, waking you quite early in the morning! The way Amman sprawls over the hillsides and valleys makes for an amazing echo. It’s really quite enchanting, but for some, it might come as a surprise!
Visiting during Ramadan? Although not as strict as some of the neighbouring gulf countries, a moderation in behaviour is expected around the holy month of Ramadan. Check out our Ramadan guide for families if you are new to travelling in the Middle East during this time.
What should women wear in Jordan?
Women dress quite conservatively throughout Jordan. Not always fully covered but you will get a mixture of the young fashionable types and the more traditionally dressed. Most will wear at the very least a head scarf and longer sleeves and legs.
Visiting women are not required to wear any sort of head covering but you may feel most comfortable with something covering knees and shoulders. Avoid too much cleavage and anything over revealing out of respect. Around beach resorts, you’ll be fine in skimpier attire but still be considerate of the more conservative local population.
What to pack for the family
If you are heading to Petra or Wadi Rum expect warm days and cool nights. Some form of scarf or head wrap kept with you for either the wind, sun or modesty probably a good idea.
For the children, bring clothes you don’t mind if they come home ruined! Our lot put their clothing through some serious wear and tear with all their climbing and exploring. Hats and sunscreen, of course, are a good idea wherever you go. Ours loved having their hoodies to keep them warm and protected from the breeze – but 5 minutes later it would be sunny and hot! Sensible climbing footwear is a must too, avoid crocs or flipflops unless just for the beach.
For extra fun for the kids, why not pack torches for cave exploring, binoculars, magnify glasses – anything small and lightweight really that will help them get more out of their exploration.
Jordan Visa Requirements
Citizens of most countries can purchase a visa on arrival. For exceptions please see the Visit Jordan visa information page.
- Single entry month long visa’s are 40JOD each ($56USD)
- Double entry visas valid for three months are 60JOD ($85USD)
- Multiple entry visas valid for six months are 120JOD ($170USD)
Carpe Diem Our Way has this great guide on how to extend your tourist visa (the right way!) if you’re planning a longer trip.
Get yourself a Jordan Pass
Another option (we wish we’d researched better!) is to buy a Jordan Pass in advance. A Jordan Pass not only gives you access to over 40 attractions across the country, it INCLUDES your single entry visa! So with a price tag of 70JOD ($99USD), even if you only visit Petra for a day you’ve immediately saved yourself 20JOD!
Note: Children under 12 visit attractions in Jordan for free. They do however require an entry visa regardless of age – yes including infants
Best Time to Visit Jordan
One of the great things about Jordan is almost year round travel weather. The summers are hot, especially in the south, but more bearable than further south and into the Gulf states. The winters in Amman are cold and probably too cold for a dip in the Dead Sea, but not unbearably cold for exploring around Petra and Wadi Rum, albeit winter is the quiet season and many places may be closed.
The shoulder seasons are therefore long and enjoyable. April and October are the best times to visit but with the right clothing and preparation, you can really visit year round.
Jordanian Food and Kids
Two of our three kids are absolute fussy buggers at the best of times so it was little surprise they turned up their nose at a lot of the local food on offer. Jordanian food is most closely related to Lebanese so you can expect a lot of Mezze type dishes served with flat bread. Some of the common dishes and ingredients are hummus, kibbeh, bulgur, falafel, fattoush, eggplant, tomato, olives and olive oil.
If you are staying in a Bedouin camp you will most likely get to try a meat dish called Zarb which is cooked in a submerged oven!
You can, of course, expect in touristy areas to get western dishes like pizza, pasta, nuggets. Making any alterations to the menu though may result in confusion – you have been warned!!! All else fails parents of fussy ones, a large supply of dry crackers in your handbag. They won’t starve but for the sake of the moaning…..
Further Resources to prepare for visiting Jordan
Guide Book: Where would we be without our trusty Lonely Planet right? The Jordan guide doesn’t cover much in the way of kids specific activities but you will find a way to work them into grown-up adventures.
Further Reading: For more on the culture and background of Jordan and the Bedouin culture, a highly recommended book is Married to a Bedouin by Marguerite van Geldermalsen.
Money & Banking: You will need Jordanian Riyal to pay for everything or credit card. ATM’s start to become scarce the further away you are from Amman, or if you find one it may not be working! I’d recommend taking some cash to go to an exchange if necessary as a backup. That said when we ran out of cash in the depths of Petra – they pulled out a card machine for us!! Some places have definitely moved with the times.
Itinerary: Don’t forget to check out our Road Tripping Jordan with Kids post for our recommended itinerary and facts on how to hire a car and put together a self-drive tour., along with recommendations on where to stay.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get going to Jordan, one of the best untapped family travel destinations in the world!!
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