The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan lies in the heart of the Levant. Jordan is bordered by the West Bank and Israel from the west, Syria from the north, Iraq from the northwest, Saudi Arabia from the southeast and Egypt from the southwest. It is also easy to arrange visits to neighbouring countries as well after you travel to Jordan.
Jordan is two hours ahead of GMT during winter, and three hours ahead during summer. So do not forget to set your watch according to the local time while you travel to Jordan.
The official language of Jordan is Arabic. English is widely spoken, especially in the cities, Jordanians are well travelled and many have been educated abroad. French, German, Italian and Spanish are also spoken but to a lesser extent.
The electrical current is based on 220 AC volts, 50 cycles, and requires rounded two prong wall plugs. Visitors from the US will need a transformer while travelling to Jordan; most hotels will provide one.
Jordan Climate Information
Before travelling to Jordan, it is prudent to take into consideration the expected climate conditions to allow you to dress appropriately for the weather. Jordan is characterised by dry, hot summers with cool evenings. The Jordan Valley, 400 meters below sea level is warm during winter and very hot in summer.
Aqaba has a drier and hotter climate than the rest of the country (with temperatures on average 10 degrees Celsius above those of Amman). Rain falls between November and April (mostly in the central and northern mountain ranges), while the coldest weather conditions occur in December / January.
A departure tax of currently JD 10 per person (around US$ 15) is paid at all borders when departing Jordan, and it is currently included with your flight ticket, but is payable if you cross over land borders. If you are leaving Jordan through a land border it is advisable to keep a JD 5 bill with you at the end of your tour to pay the departure tax.
Lightweight cottons and linens are advised during the summer between May and September while travelling to Jordan. Warm clothes are necessary for winter and cool summer evenings. Rainwear may be needed from November to April. It is important to remember that Jordan is primarily a Muslim country, albeit not a very conservative one.
Revealing clothing is not appropriate outside tourist towns and conservative clothing is advisable for both men and women in downtown Amman and in rural areas. Evenings can be cool in summer, so a sweater or a shawl is advisable. Make sure you bring with you comfortable walking shoes, a hat and sun block.
No vaccinations are needed for visitors travelling to Jordan. During your stay, it is preferable to drink only bottled water, although it is alright to shower and brush your teeth using tap water.
You’ll soon note that tipping is part of the culture when you travel in Jordan, though you should also take into consideration that it is not compulsory and should only be given if good service is received. Although all tourism workers do get paid decent fixed salaries, they use tips to supplement their income. In hotels and restaurants, 10% may be added to the bill, but a tip for the waiter is appropriate.
For hotel bellboys and porters, 1 JD, or US$ 1 is customary. In taxis, pay the nearest round figure to the price on the meter. Visitors should consider tipping their guide, driver on tours, hotel staff, and waiters in restaurants.
The local currency is the Jordanian Dinar, or “JD”, which is divided into one hundred piasters or one thousand fils. The dinar is pegged to the dollar. The current exchange rate is JD 71 per 100 US$. Although US$ are widely accepted, it is prudent to carry Jordanian dinars while you travel through Jordan.
Credit Cards and traveller cheques
You will notice that Visa, MasterCard and to a lesser extent American Express cards are accepted in most shops while travelling in Jordan. Traveller’s cheques can be exchanged for cash at exchange shops, though you should expect to pay a commission of up to 5% for doing so.