Solo Female Travel in Jordan; The one question at the forefront of every solo female traveller’s mind when choosing her next destination is often the same for many: Is this place safe for a woman traveling alone?
Jordan is definitely a region that many solo female travellers are unsure about and which triggers them to query their safety. Many people dismiss the entire Middle East as ‘out of bounds’ and that is not restricted to us solo female travellers.
It really is a shame because, as I have reiterated in many of my posts about this region, the situation on the ground is not necessarily reflective of what you see in the media. However since the main channel through which you are receiving information about the Middle East is the media, then that is the information that you will use to form your opinion on the matter.
My solo visit to Jordan was trouble free, as are the trips of many other travellers. However as a woman, you need to take several additional precautions in order to ensure your safety during your Jordan itinerary.
- 1 Highlights of Solo Female Travel in Jordan
- 2 Jordanian People
- 3 Is Jordan Safe?
- 4 Is Jordan Safe For Solo Female Travellers?
- 5 Jordanian View On Women
- 6 What to Wear in Jordan
- 7 Do You Have To Cover Your Hair?
- 8 Safety Advice for Solo Travel in Jordan
- 9 Getting Around Jordan
- 10 Accommodation in Jordan
- 11 Onward Travel
- 12 Costs of Travelling in Jordan
- 13 Solo Female Travel in Jordan: Additional Resources
Highlights of Solo Female Travel in Jordan
For as long as I can remember, I had daydreamed about travelling to Jordan. I was in love with the idea of pitching up a tent beneath the stars at a Bedouin camp-site, of wandering around the lost city of Petra like the female Indiana Jones and of feasting on delicious Arabic food.
Sometimes, we live in so much anticipation of our travels that when they actually come around, they don’t live up to our expectation. Solo female travel in Jordan was not like that at all. Jordan exceeded my every expectation and then some. Some of the highlights of my trip were.
- Conquering the challenging monastery hike at Petra
- Bobbing along like a cork in the dead sea
- Camping beneath the stars at Wadi Rum with Bedouins
- Experiencing all of the best things to do in Amman and falling in love with what a quirky city it was.
- Doing all of the above as a solo female traveler in Jordan and never once feeling afraid or intimidated.
One thing that struck me most during my solo female travel in Jordan was just how friendly and welcoming the Jordanian people were/are. “You’re welcome!” is kind of like a tag-line that people say during your every encounter. Sometimes this is said out of context which is actually pretty funny (but cute because the people are so well intentioned!) Entering some guy’s shop? You’re welcome! Inspect an item? He’ll pop up behind you and tell you “you’re welcome!” Leave the shop? Yep, you’re welcome!
“You’re welcome” aside, most of my experiences with people in Jordan were positive. I explored Amman and Petra by myself, but since Jordan is fairly difficult to get around since there is no public transport, I had a Guide and a Driver with me for a lot of my journey also. These guys both had such a great sense of humour and were one contributing factor for the adventure turning out some wonderfully.
Is Jordan Safe?
In a nutshell, generally yes. Jordan is ranked time and again in the World safety index as being one of the safest countries in the region. It is just unfortunate that Jordan’s neighbours (Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc.) have reputations that make people look at the map, gasp in horror, and conclude that it isn’t safe. The people of Jordan are typically friendly, welcoming, and pleased to show International tourists the beauty of their country.
Is Jordan Safe For Solo Female Travellers?
Jordan is generally safe, and I never really felt in danger during my time in the country, however there are definitely additional precautions that you need to take into consideration before visiting the region.
If you are travelling alone, I wouldn’t really recommend travelling to the Middle East unless you are a relatively experienced solo traveller, purely because of the additional stresses that travelling alone here can present.
Jordanian View On Women
Jordan is still something of a patriarchal society that holds traditional gender roles true. Though solo female travel is becoming increasingly popular, it’s still quite a startling sight from a local’s perspective to see a woman wandering around alone so be prepared for plenty of stares and people approaching you to make small talk.
Unfortunately, as with many countries around the globe, a lot of Jordanians assume that western women are promiscuous based on what they have seen depicted in western cinema so you are likely to experience some leeriness as a result.
In many areas of Jordanian society, men and women are separated. That means that when you travel away from the main tourist trail, you may be met with restaurants with separate dining areas for women, and segregated public transportation. Going out to a bar or a coffee shop in Jordan is considered a “male thing to do” so I would not recommend that you visit these places alone (with the exception of in Upper Jabbal Amman where there are tons of super cute hipster-esque coffee places).
What to Wear in Jordan
Let’s just address this quickly: Just because you are travelling in the Middle East amid a conservative culture, that does not mean that you have to dress frumpy and make yourself look like a walking, talking sack of potatoes. I mean yes, it is imperative that you dress respectfully when travelling in Jordan. However potato-chic is optional.
Jordan is still a relatively conservative Arab state and Jordanian women dress modestly to reflect that. Dressing appropriately is not only respectful, but it also works in your favor by helping you to reduce the amount of unwanted attention that you will attract during your Jordanian adventure.
The general rule in Jordan is covering up to your wrist, and down to your ankles. In tourist sites like Petra, and Jerash, you have more leniency since there are so many tourists around and the locals are more used to seeing people in shorts and tshirts but as a solo woman in Jordan, I’d still err on the side of conservative. I always just stuck to a short sleeved tee paired with long trousers but you can glam it up with jumpsuits and maxi skirts.
Do You Have To Cover Your Hair?
Unlike in more conservative Arab countries like Iran, you do not have to cover your hair or wear a hijab in Jordan. The only time you will be required to cover your hair will be when visiting a mosque, so I always kept a scarf in my bag for that purpose (and it came in handy for sun protection sometimes too!)
Safety Advice for Solo Travel in Jordan
There are several things that you should consider when travelling in Jordan, so I would just like to summarise a few of these below. This isn’t to scare you, but to inform you of precisely what you should be prepared for.
Don’t Wander Too Far Off The Beaten Track At Tourist Sites
A lot of ruins and archaeological sites in Jordan are extremely vast and if you leave the main trails, there is virtually no-one around which is not a situation you want to find yourself in. I climbed to a lookout point in Jerash and promptly scrambled back down when I realised that I was alone and a guy had followed me up there.
Learn To Ignore Male Attention
In Jordan, I felt like I always had a little group of men loitering around me and I received a constant stream of male attention. Don’t engage them at all. Continue walking with a determined stride and act as though you haven’t even noticed that they are there. (Further general tips on safety as a solo female traveller here)
Know When To Seek Help
If someone continues to harass you, look to seek help or make people aware. Yelling “Imshi” (go away) should deter them and attract the attention of others. Failing that, enter a local store or business and try to make the owner’s aware of what is happening (most Jordanians are super friendly and helpful). Tourist police kiosks are scattered around most major sites like Petra and Wadi Rum and helped me when a group of men were following me around Petra.
“My Boyfriend Is At The Hotel With A Migraine”
It’s perfectly fine to invent a backstory if you feel it necessary to do so and sometimes it’s better to have people think that you are not completely alone in the country.
Getting Around Jordan
Unfortunately, Jordan is not an easy country to navigate as a solo traveller. There are no trains, and the buses run to an extremely limited schedule. (Check the bus times, and the destinations that the buses run to via the Jett website here)
If you are comfortable with hiring a car, the road signs throughout the country are in English as well as Arabic, and Jordan has just two main roads that extend through the length of the country (Desert Highway and King’s Highway). Of course, if you are travelling alone, it’s understandable if you are not comfortable doing that. A common method of travelling around the country is to hire a private car and a driver which is not cheap and will typically cost you around 70JD a day. That is personally the route that I chose and would recommend, since as far as I’m concerned, you can’t put a price on safety.
Useful Transportation Tips
- If you are travelling by bus, try to sit next to another woman.
- If you travel by taxi or personal car, it is respectful for women to sit in the back, rather than next to the driver.
- In Amman, Uber is available which may make getting a cab easier than trying to haggle with a driver on the streets.
- Upon arrival in Jordan, you can either take a bus or a cab from Queen Alia Airport into Amman. A cab ride should cost you no more than 25JD but be prepared to haggle, as the driver will likely assume that you don’t know the going rate.
Accommodation in Jordan
There are a range of accommodation options available in Jordan. In Amman, hostels are available for those travelling on a budget, and in Wadi Rum and Petra, there are many yurt-style campsites.
My personal recommendations would be the Movenpick in Petra and at the Dead Sea (luxury without breaking the bank. Staying in a nice hotel also gives an added sense of security). In Amman, consider Le Royal Amman, and in Wadi Rum, a luxury Bedouin campsite beneath the stars. I personally did not experience any safety concerns as a result of staying in a campsite (obviously I opted for a yurt with a locking door) and I don’t believe you should be worried about it.
Jordan is a great place to explore as part of a wider adventure through the Middle East and its location enables you to easily access several culturally rich countries in the area.
Israel and Jordan make a great travel pairing, and Jordan is one of the few Arab states which does not prohibit you from entering with an Israeli passport stamp. For advice on crossing the Jordan-Israel border crossings, click here.
There is a bus that runs from Amman to Beirut but unfortunately, it runs via Syria so of course, I wouldn’t recommend trying that at this time. Your best bet is to fly from Amman to Beirut.
Access to the occupied Palestinian territories is possible via Israel. You will need to cross the border at King Hussein/Allenby Bridge and then take a bus from Jerusalem into Bethlehem and beyond. I have written extensively about travel to Palestine on this site.
Costs of Travelling in Jordan
Unfortunately, Jordan is not a budget travel destination. People often travel to the Middle East under the misconception that it is going to be cheaper than back at home and are then horribly surprised. The Jordanian Dinar is pretty strong, at a rate of 1JD = £1.1 or $1.4. Private transportation, accommodation, and tourist site entrance prices can stack up, and food can be expensive in tourist areas (circa 6-10JD).
If you are staying in Jordan for more than 3 nights/4days, then I would recommend getting the Jordan Pass before departing on your journey. The pass includes your Jordanian visa fee and entrance to the majority of notable sites in the country (including Petra).
Check the latest currency conversions here.
Solo Female Travel in Jordan:
I’ve compiled a list below of useful resources that may come in handy when planning your trip to Jordan. As always, feel free to leave me a comment below or email me (Melissa@highheelsandabackpack.com) if you have any questions.
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