Driving in Jordan is an exciting way to explore this beautiful country and for sure one of the best ways to explore Jordan as well. Endless roads in the middle of the Arabian desert, occasionally crossed by camels or flocks of sheep. It’s indeed an experience worth doing on its own. In this guide, I’m going to cover everything you need to help you plan an unforgettable journey along the dusty roads of Jordan.
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Are you planning a trip to Jordan? If you are still figuring out how to move around, consider renting a car. Above all the options you have, it’s the best to explore the country. Unfortunately, as much as I love exploring a country via its public transport network, in Jordan it can be quite limited. And of course, you will not be as independent on your itinerary as you could be with a car.
Table of Content
- Organize your trip
- Requirements for driving in Jordan
- Driving in Jordan: practical information
- Renting a car
- Driving distances
- The roads
- Orientating on the road
- Regular police controls
- Driving in Jordan vs driving in Amman
- Driving at night
- Car safety
- Should you hire a driver?
- Plan a road trip to remember
Organize your trip
It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of driving across Jordan, but it’s also very important that you plan out in advance your itinerary. Where will you stay? Which cities and landmarks do you want to see? And last but not least, how much gas will you need? This way you will be able to control your budget and avoid unexpected surprises.
Jordan is quite large, and there are indeed many things to see when you are visiting. The moment you decide to visit it on the road, start doing a list of all the main attractions and cities you want to see. And start looking for hotels and accommodations.
Do you need some inspiration? Steal our perfect road itinerary for 7 days in Jordan.
Requirements for driving in Jordan
Always check on the Jordan government’s website for the official requirements depending on the country that released your driving license. If your country has agreements with Jordan, you may only need your driving license and passport. Some other countries will require you to ask for an IDP (International Drivers Permit) to be able to drive in Jordan.
Along with the car keys, you will get a certificate of roadworthiness from the car rental. Treasure is! This piece of paper will be regularly checked during police control.
Just like in many other countries you can drive in Jordan at the age of 18. Although if you have less than 25 years you will pay an extra fee called Young Driver Fee.
Driving in Jordan: practical information
The distance and speed are stated in kilometers.
Panels are mostly in Arabic, but places of interest are mostly translated into English as well.
Drive is on the right-hand side.
There are no tolls, not even on the highways.
Unlike many European countries, it is not mandatory to have the daytime driving lights switched on.
Front passages must wear their seat belt.
Speed limits are the following depending on the areas:
Urban areas: 50 kilometers/hour
Rural areas: 80 kilometers/hour
Highways: 100 to 120 kilometers/hours
Naturally, the speed limits are indicated according to the specific area.
Renting a car
You can easily rent a car upon your arrival at Queen Alia International Airport (Amman) or King Hussein International Airport (Aqaba). Although the best solution, when planning your trip is to book your car online. Even if it’s unlikely they won’t have any car available you don’t want to have the risk. Furthermore, you may end up spending more due to the limited availability of economy/middle-range cars.
Sites like Rentalcars.com are very helpful for booking your ideal car.
When the rental agent will show you the car, don’t forget to check CAREFULLY all the car’s imperfections. Once you have done this, control that they are listed on the assessment you are going to sign. Take photos as well. It doesn’t happen often, but I once had a bad experience while car renting in the Caribbean. Now I systematically document every scratch or imperfection so that I have proof in case they try to charge you for something you didn’t do.
Lastly, check also the gas tank before leaving the parking. If it’s not full, agree with the agent to return it the same way. Normally your car should have a full gas tank but always make sure to do an extra check.
How much does a car cost per day?
For an economy/small car (a Nissan Micra is the first price on rentalcar.com), you can consider about 30€ for short periods of up to 3 days. While if you book for longer periods, you will spend less. A one-week itinerary will cost you 150 €, that’s about 21 €/day.
Important: Before booking your car, don’t forget to ask if you have unlimited mileage or not. Some suppliers have limited mileage and they will apply an extra fee if you exceed it. Avoid surprises by checking your itinerary and the mileage you will have.
Remember also to ask if they will take the car deposit from your credit card. In this case, it’s also better to have two credit cards in case one of them will not work.
Cost of gasoline and diesel
Unsurprisingly compared to European countries, the cost of gasoline and diesel is lower in Jordan. You can check the latest updated average prices on GlobalPetrolPrices.com
Cost of gasoline: 1,1 JD/liter – 1,5 €
Cost of diesel: 0,9 JD/liter – 1,1 €
Know the distances!
Before hitting the road it’s important knowing for how long you are going to drive and how many kilometers. In this way, you can manage your stops and the time you can take for exploring along the way. I’ve listed the distances of the most common itineraries you will drive along Jordan.
Note: One of the most beautiful landscapes we crossed on our journey, was the King’s Highway to go from Amman to Wadi Musa (Petra). Now, two different roads will let you reach Wadi Musa from Amman, both are about the same duration. The King’s Highway (or King’s Road) and a modern straight highway that crosses the desert. Even if the modern highway is easier, I highly recommend the lunar landscapes of the King’s Highway. And specifically, a specific valley where you will want to stop and take pictures that it’s absolutely worth it!
By the way, stop by Sami’s tent for tea. It’s one of the best panoramic views. You will find it once you have crossed the valley (coming from Aqaba).
Amman to Jerash (archaeological site) – 45 minutes / 52 km
Amman to Wadi Musa (Petra) via the King’s Highway – 3 hours / 237 km
Wadi Musa (Petra) to Wadi Rum Natural Reserve – 2 hours / 115 km
Aqaba to Wadi Musa (Petra) – 2 hours / 125 km
Aqaba to the Dead Sea (resorts area) – 3.50 hours / 270 km
the Dead Sea to Amman – 1 hour / 54 km
The main roads are well maintained, and the highways are large with great visibility. But speed dumps are EVERYWHERE! And they are pretty high as well. Be careful when driving as sometimes due to the heat the optical deformations may hide speed dumps in the distance.
Orientating on the road
When it comes to orientating on the road you have two main options: paying extra for car GPS or buying a phone card for internet credit and using google maps, or other map apps.
I find it more practical to have a phone card as through google maps you can navigate easier than on a car GPS. But of course, that’s up to you. If you decide to buy a card you will easily find one in Amman center.
Regular police controls
Due to geographical area instability, police regularly control cars, especially along the borders. When they see that you are a tourist, they often let you pass without asking further questions other than your driving license and roadworthiness certificate. Sometimes they may even ask you to show your car’s trunk but that’s not often.
In addition, to single police cars, you will also find many police checkpoints to pass. Just like for the controls they will let you pass rapidly once they see you are a tourist.
Driving in Jordan vs driving in Amman
Driving in Jordan is very safe actually. Locals mostly drive slowly, and the lanes are large. Don’t be surprised to see more than one car in the same lane. That’s very common especially if there is traffic. Traffic jam is very rare outside Amman, but you may find them before entering big cities.
Truck drivers deserve a special mention. When driving on the highways connecting Amman to the South (Wadi Musa and Aqaba) you will find many trucks on the road. Drivers are mostly respectful, but pay more attention, particularly if there are slowdowns.
Wadi Rum Natural Reserve
If you are planning on visiting the Wadi Rum desert (and you absolutely should, here is my travel guide, thank me later!), you will not be able to drive in the natural reserve. Instead, your host will pick you up from the tourist center or at Wadi Rum village and will take you to their Bedouin camp. Don’t worry about living your car the area is guarded, your car will be in safe hands.
With that said, driving in Amman is another story
And I have visited Napoli already! But Amman is on another level. First, there is traffic, every day and almost everywhere in the city. Yeah, in case you are wondering even at 11 PM. Second, when you end up driving in Amman it looks like there is no road code or rules.
The golden rule for finding your way through the traffic? Knowing where you are headed. Ask help from your co-pilot, if you have one, and strictly follow its instructions. The narrowest roads, nearby Amman Citadel and Downtown, are only one way and if you take the wrong street you may end up losing a lot of time to be on the right track again.
Driving at night
Driving in Jordan at night should be avoided. Speed dumps are more difficult to see, and you may break your car. Apart from this, the animal crossing is very dangerous at night. Think of a camel or donkey hitting your car, I can guarantee that you don’t want that to happen! It’s dangerous not only for your car but also for you. Also, you don’t want to test the intervention time of roadside assistance, especially if you are in the middle of nowhere and you can’t orientate yourself.
Just avoid driving at night.
Jordan is surprisingly one of the safest countries I have ever visited. There never was a moment where I felt like something was off. Jordan people are up to their fame: kind and generous. And above all, there is almost no theft in the country. I remember one of our Petra guides telling us how he doesn’t unlock his car, and he has never had anything stolen. In the same fashion, you can leave your car safely unattended for hours and you will not have any problem.
Still, as you are a tourist in a foreign country avoid just in case leaving documents or money inside your car and always carry them on you. But again, it is just a precaution. Jordan is very safe.
Should you hire a driver?
Are you still not sure about planning a road trip to Jordan by yourself? You should consider hiring a driver. I know, this can be more expensive, as you are paying an extra person to accompany you. And yet if you don’t feel comfortable driving by yourself, you can consider booking your stay via an agency and ask for a private driver. It may be one of the best solutions if you are looking for a comfortable and independent way to explore Jordan.
How much does a driver cost?
Prices for hiring drivers in Jordan start from 100 €/day, which includes gas as well. Naturally, depending on the time length of your stay, you can have discounts for longer periods.
What about taxis?
Taxis are another solution. But honestly, I don’t recommend them. You will end up rushing from one place to another without really enjoying the road. And in the end, they will not be less expensive than a private driver.
Instead, if you are not bothered by having to follow a strict schedule without the possibility to explore independently you should consider booking a bus tour through Jordan. Many different companies and travel agencies are doing that.
Plan a road trip to remember
Jordan is for sure one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever had the chance to visit. Its extra-terrestrial landscapes won’t leave you indifferent. Their incredible heritage will surprise you. And the warmth of their people will conquer your heart. Do you need some extra help in planning your road trip? Check out the Jordan page for more travel guides and tips for traveling in Jordan.
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