Choosing Jordan as your next travel location may make your family and friends raise an eyebrow, especially if they’re aware of where it is. Taking its geographical location into consideration, visiting it might seem a little intimidating, specifically to your loved ones.
Your safety is always a concern to your loved ones, which is why they may not have the best reaction upon hearing you’re planning to take a plane to the Middle East. It doesn’t have the best reputation in terms of citizen safety, thus some people wouldn’t dare step on the land.
Despite being neighbors with countries known for terrorism, you’d be surprised to know that Jordan is not a hell, and you can actually enjoy some quality time there. Therefore, in order to give you an insight and help you make a decision, take a look at these Jordan safety travel tips. Through this Jordan safety guide created with you in mind, you should be able to determine if the country is safe enough for you.
Highest Risks You Expose Yourself to When Visiting Jordan
Overall Risks in Jordan: MEDIUM
“Is Jordan safe to visit?” may be the first thing you ask yourself when you see the country as a travel option. Although the geographical location might have made you shiver a little bit, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to enjoy the country without encountering dangers.
Terrorism is probably the first thought coming to your mind. Rightfully so, terrorist groups are likely to carry out attacks in Jordan, and there have been some incidents since 2016. Moreover, terrorists don’t discriminate – that being said, just because someone is a tourist, they wouldn’t hesitate to do what they’ve decided. So, even hotels, tourist sites and shopping malls can become easy targets to these people. Terrorism against aviation exists as well.
It is not recommended to travel within 3km of the country’s border with Syria, as Syria is a country where terrorism is existent. Terrorists could use kidnapping as a tactic too, which is one of the reasons why it’s better to keep the distance.
There may be demonstrations as well, as they occur periodically in certain cities and towns. Violence may arise at any time during these manifestations, which is why, as a tourist, you should stay as far away as possible as you can.
Pickpocketing and Theft Risks in Jordan: MEDIUM
Theft and pickpocketing are some of the concerns people have when visiting Southern Africa, given people struggle with poverty and may be drawn to wealthy people. While it is not wrong to ask yourself “How safe is Jordan for tourists regarding theft and pickpocketing?”, the situation is not that bad either.
Just like it is with any place on the Earth, there’s always going to be a few bad apples. Crime levels are not too high, but there are cases of bag snatching, pickpocketing and theft from cars.
So, if you are looking too wealthy, you may draw some unwanted attention to yourself, which may end up in your belongings being stolen. That being said, if you don’t want to chase a thief like you see on screens, important valuables should be kept somewhere safe or protected.
- How to avoid pickpocketing and theft in Jordan?
One thing you should do is be very careful when you’re in a crowded area, surrounded by people you don’t know. Given there’s little space and touching other individuals may be inevitable, this is the paradise of pickpocketers, because this is where they can take action. Even if you notice something is missing, it will be hard to determine who the perpetrator was, unless you caught him in the middle of the act.
So, if you must be in a crowded area, it’s recommended to take care of valuable belongings, such as money, mobile phone or passport. If you have a handbag, keep it tightly in front of you, and be wary of your surroundings and everyone passing by. Another recommendation would be not bringing all of your stuff wherever you go. Not only you’re going to have money left in case you’ve already been a victim, but you don’t even need to spend all of your money in one day regardless.
Moreover, make sure that, if you’re driving, you don’t let any of your valuables in cars, especially if they are very visible. Theft from cars is no stranger here, and the last thing you want is coming back to a robbed car.
Scam Risk in Jordan: LOW to MEDIUM
Even if there are little to no reports regarding the scams that one may encounter while visiting Jordan, we have managed to compile a list of the most common scams that have occurred there and have been documented by a variety of travelers, so to speak. In this respect, we will mainly mention the scams related to tourist activities and transport.
Among those that involve tourist activities, the sale of fake antiques, local products scams, fake tours, horse and camel ride scams, tour guide scams are the most common ones - in short, the locals will try to sell you anything for a higher price, both goods and services. On the other hand, when it comes to transport, we have the classic taxi-related scams - overcharging, broken meters, rigged meters, fake hotel-taxis, incorrect exchange rates, intentional long routes, and so on.
Naturally, you might also encounter some ATM scams, scams that involve fake currency, and fake accidents. However, you should not be worried or extremely careful while traveling through Jordan - as this is only a list of what might happen there. If you pay attention to your surroundings and know when to move on, you should be just fine.
- How to avoid getting scammed in Jordan?
Now, when it comes to avoiding all of the aforementioned scams, we recommend you to have a tour guide accompany you, especially if you plan longer trips - in this respect, you have to make sure that the tour guide can be trusted and is employee of a reputed travel agency. Then, keep your eyes wide open when you get inside a cab; if you notice anything suspicious, get off before the driver starts the car. You might risk something more serious than just a scam, especially if you manage to get the taxi driver angry.
In short, with a little bit of common sense and awareness, you should be able to avoid any of the scams we have mentioned and many other - just keep yourself a little bit suspicious to anything or anyone that might seem to good to be true or friendlier than usual.
Civil Unrest Risk: MEDIUM
Protests are not something to be ruled out, especially considering the pressure of large refugee populations and the war in the surrounding area. These, plus several other factors, are the reasons why protests occur, and they can take place in refugee camps, town centers and many others. They have also taken place in many parts of the country on Fridays, or even some other days during the week.
Violence wasn’t always avoided during these manifestation, as there have been situations when they occurred on university campuses. The situation can get bad, which is why tourists specifically should stay out of them.
Keep yourself up to date with the news and don’t miss anything that’s on the political part. You need to know whether demonstrations are posing a danger during the time of your leaving, so you’re aware of what to look out for. In the event that demonstrations take place during your trip, ensure your safety by staying away from the places they occur.
Especially at night, take care when traveling to or via towns outside of Amman. In addition, keep the distance from downtown Amman, as well as the centers of other big town or cities after Friday midday prayers. Also, don’t rule out the possibility of spontaneous manifestations and road blockages occurring somewhere else, especially after sunset.
Kidnapping Risk in Jordan: LOW to MEDIUM
Although it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be tied up and thrown in a truck as soon as you step on Jordanian soil, kidnappings are possible. So, if your question was “How safe is Jordan for tourists regarding kidnapping?”, you’re up for a treat.
There were cases when American foreigners and citizens have been targeted in kidnapping plots in the past. Therefore, kidnappings can be indiscriminate, so you being in a vacation doesn’t mean that attackers can be stopped.
Back in 2015, two Syrians were sentenced to three years of imprisonment because they plotted to kidnap an American. Also, in 2017, there were five people arrested and charged with plotting to kidnap and kill some foreign tourists from the Roman amphitheater. Whereas two of them were sentenced to five years of hard labor the other three received a three years of hard labor sentence.
Even though it doesn’t mean that you will certainly get kidnapped, you should stay vigilant, especially if you’re a solo traveler. You can’t read minds – unfortunately – meaning that it will be hard to determine if someone has evil thoughts. So, be careful at the strangers nearby, and make sure you don’t go close to the border with Syria. Some attackers could operate in that area.
- How to avoid getting kidnapped in Jordan?
As mentioned before, you should stay away from the borders with Syria - we all know that the situation around those areas is not quite good. Now, in order to avoid getting kidnapped while in a town or rural area, it is important for you to stick to your group or tour guide and don't go explore the surroundings on your own.
Naturally, you'll want to avoid any remote areas, especially after the sunset. It is also not recommended for you to walk alone during the night - and, if you notice anything suspicious, it is better to retreat into a safer area.
Terrorism Risk in Jordan: MEDIUM
Given Jordan’s vicinity with Syria, you can’t help but wonder “Is Jordan safe to visit?”. Terrorism is terrifying to think about, and it’s not only the well-being of your vacation you’re concerned about, but your safety too. There’s indeed a global threat of terrorist attacks against certain nationals, so your question doesn’t come as a surprise.
Terrorist attacks are indeed likely to be carried out in the country, and these incidents don’t make the difference between locals and tourists. So, if a tourist is unlucky enough to be at the place during an attack, it may end in a tragic way. During recent years, there have been incidents where local security forces have been targeted.
For instance, in December 2016, a terrorist attack in Kerak resulted in 10 dead people, and at least 29 injured ones. Also, in August 2018, a gendarmerie vehicle was destroyed by an explosive device, resulting in two injured officers and two dead ones.
- How to avoid terrorism in Jordan?
The Jordanian authorities have successfully prevented some attacks from happening and made some arrests, thus saving people from a tragic fate. Still, you should always be careful, stay vigilant anywhere and monitor the local news for any reported incidents. Also, be careful in praying places, and even in public places such as hotels, shopping malls and even areas frequented by tourists, as attacks could take place there too.
Risks for Women Traveling Alone in Jordan: MEDIUM
As a solo woman traveler, asking yourself “Is Jordan safe for solo women travelers?” doesn’t come as a surprise. Being a woman, some may find you an easier target, so worrying for your safety is only normal.
Over the last 12 months, cases of sexual assault increased in number. Sometimes, female travelers receive unwanted attention in the form of physical or verbal harassment by local men. The situation can escalate too, which is why female travelers should be very careful.
Especially if you’re alone and don’t have a companion, you may be seen as an easier target, because there’s nobody to protect you in the event something happens. At the same time, many travels to Jordan were trouble-free and, unlike other African countries, Jordan is pretty safe for women who are traveling unaccompanied.
- How to avoid crime as a solo woman traveler in Jordan?
First of all, you should only walk during daylight. In other words, when the dark approaches, you should return to your accommodation, so you are not targeted by people during the night, when it’s hard to see. However, that doesn’t mean that things can’t happen during the day either, which is why you should stay vigilant in public areas, whether they’re quiet or crowded.
Furthermore, the dressing code is something to pay attention to. That being said, forget about the mini skirt that you may be so eager to wear during your trip. Despite the fact that it’s going to be hot, you need to dress appropriately and be respectful of the culture. Not only you’ll make a good impression, but you’ll also stay out of trouble. Cover your skin, and don’t wear tight fitting clothes, tank tops or shorts.
Rape Risk in Jordan: MEDIUM to HIGH
Even though the rape rate for Jordan now stands at 2 cases per 100,000 population, governments have reported an increase in reports of cases of sexual assault over the last 12 months - it is also known that woman travelers, especially solo woman travelers, may get harassed by both individuals and groups of men, mostly when they travel in Jordan's remote areas.
Moreover, most sources recommend that both female travelers and locals should exercise and increased level of caution when walking/ traveling alone, even if they do so during the day. In short, Jordan is not the safest environment, so to speak, for woman travelers.
- How to avoid getting raped in Jordan?
As mentioned before, you should be careful when traveling through Jordan, both in its remote areas as well as in any major cities. Of course, it is recommended that you do not travel alone - have some friends accompany your or hire a tour guide from a reputed travel agency. Also, if you happen to be harassed, it is better to ignore the individual or group that's harassing you and move on - naturally, you should head towards your accommodation if something like that happens.
Basically, you'd want to be as cautious as you would be in your hometown - don't try to draw attention to yourself, avoid exposing jewelry or any other expensive items, in order to avoid thieves that may turn to harassing you if they fail to rob you, so to speak. Keep your eyes and ears wide open, avoid conflicts with the locals and nothing bad should happen to you.
Risks for People Traveling with Children in Jordan: MEDIUM
As you may have noticed, traveling in Jordan comes with a couple of risks, especially if you plan to travel all by yourself - furthermore, if you wish to bring your children with you, then you might want to have at least one or more people accompanying you. If you are a woman, you definitely don't want locals harassing you while you have your children around.
Moreover, you'll have to keep an eye on them at all times - reportedly, around 70,000 people visit Jordan every year, and those are only British nationals. Therefore, you can expect crowds of tourists and, with them, also comes the chance of your children getting lost. In short, you'll want to have someone take care of them while you browse for souvenirs or such.
- How to avoid unwanted scenarios?
As advised before, you should not be traveling all alone and with your children - an extra pair of eyes can make the difference, especially if you travel through Jordan in its most crowded time of the year. Obviously, you should not let them explore the surroundings on their own and keep them close at all times.
If you follow these recommendations, you should not have any issues if you decide to travel with your children - just take care of them as you would in any other country.
Natural Disaster Risks in Jordan: MEDIUM
Moving on to natural disasters, there are more than just a couple of things for you to put on your radar, so to speak - you can experience flash-flood, snowstorm, cold wave, flood, landslide, rain, storm, drought, and extreme temperature. Obviously, storms and flash-floods come with the highest mortality rate, of 33.3% and 42.5% respectively.
In this respect, we advise you to take a look at the weather reports, both online and local, before going away for the day - in case of an emergency or increased risk, you should know how to properly prepare for your trip or, better, reconsider leaving your accommodation.
Transportation Risks in Jordan: MEDIUM to HIGH
First of all you should know that, in order to drive in Jordan, you need an International Driving Permit. You should also have a third party insurance. Additionally, keep in mind that under Jordanian law, it is always the driver considered guilty when they hit a pedestrian.
Therefore, not only you should make sure to have the driving permit, but you should also look up the driving laws and be careful when driving. Having to pay someone’s hospital bills while on vacation is not exactly dreamy, you could say.
Jordan is also ranking pretty high in the world as one of the countries with many deaths resulting from traffic accidents. So, if you decide to be a driver for the time being, drive with care, specifically at night.
Always use seatbelts, don’t drive past the speed limit, have a fire extinguisher and warning triangle, and make sure to have the documents available. The police has a tendency of carrying random security checks, and you’ve seen enough movies to know how that ends if you don’t have the documents.
Also, as a rule of thumb, don’t use the mobile phone while driving. Not only it’s unsafe, but also illegal.
Night-Clubs, Pubs, and Bar Risks in Jordan: LOW to MEDIUM
When it comes to night-clubs, pubs, and bars, the good news is that there are no official reports telling of spiked drinks and such - in short, you can feel, and actually be, safe while in such a location and have a good time as well, so to say. Naturally, we still recommend you to keep an eye on your drink and avoid any offered by strangers/ locals.
Of course, you might encounter the usual pub brawl or the individuals or groups that may rely on verbally harassing tourists in order to scare them or such - however, if you don't stay up until late and avoid any conflict, you shouldn't have any problems.
You should also be careful when going home - if it's after sunset, we recommend you to call a taxi from a reputed company and to make sure that your accommodation or tour guide responsible of you knows your schedule. In the case of an emergency or such - even if you find yourself stranded or unable to reach your accommodation -, you should call the police, by dialing 911.
Health Risks in Jordan
In terms of health, you should be aware that any medical facilities that are located outside of Amman are basic - if you are in need of medical assistance, you should seek for the appropriate treatment in a hospital in Amman. Also, keep in mind that, in case you need emergency treatment, you can rely on certain facilities in Aqaba as well.
Depending on the time of the year you choose to travel in Jordan, you should get prepared properly - for example, temperatures are known to get very high in summer, case in which you should have enough water with you, as well as sun-block, especially if you plan on going on a longer trip.
As always, make sure that you are equipped with proper travel health insurance and that you have enough money on you, in case you need to pay off any treatment or medicine that you might need during your stay. If you find yourself in an emergency and in need of medical assistance, just call 911 and ask for an ambulance.
List of Vaccines You Need in Jordan
Visiting your doctor weeks before the trip may reveal that you may or may not need some vaccines. Here is a list of some that may be required before your plane flies to foreign lands:
- Routine vaccines
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Yellow Fever
Concluding Remarks: Is Jordan Safe to Visit?
Congratulations, you made it to the end of our Jordan safety guide. Although it wasn’t meant to sugarcoat the situation in Southern Africa, it wasn’t meant to scare you away either. There may be some little risks, but that doesn’t mean your vacation is 100% going to be ruined.
Are you ready to enjoy the beauty this country has to offer? Hopefully, these Jordan safety travel tips will come in handy.