Jordan in the Middle East is fast becoming one of the most exciting place for tourists to visit. However public transport is still limited outside the main cities. Perhaps you are thinking about renting a car for your stay. But is it safe to drive in Jordan? We spent 18 days driving around Jordan from the very north of Jordan in Umm Quais to the south in Aqaba. We’ve seen it all and want to share here below.
Is it expensive to rent a car in Jordan?
Renting a car will not be as cheap as we are used to in Europe and the the U.S. We paid $800 for the 18 days we had the car. This was for a basic model. We foolishly waited a couple of days to consider and the price had jumped up to $800 from $500. So book way ahead if you are certain you want to rent. Admittedly we had both of us insured as driver and had the max insurance available, so in theory you could reduce the price down from these numbers.
Where and who from should I hire one?
Where to hire? This depends on where you initially land. If you arrive in Aqaba then you’ll have an easy pick up there in the city. If flying into Amman then you have two choices, either pick up by the aiport (easy), or if visiting Amman first, from a suburb of Amman which you can reach by taxi from the center of Amman for around 3 JOD ($5), a 20 minutes drive. This saves a journey returning to the airport. The located we picked up our car we to the west of Amman so it easy to get out the city and be on our way without difficulty.
Who to hire from? We hired our car from Dollar, but the other alternative in Avis. Both companies have comparable prices and vehicle choices.
Can women drive in Jordan?
Yes, women are allowed to drive freely in Jordan.
What side of the road do they drive in Jordan?
Jordan drives on the right hand side of the road.
Can I drive in Jordan with a U.K/European/U.S license?
Yes, but you’ll need to get an international license accredited in your own country before you arrive.
Is it easy to fill your car, and is it expensive?
Petrol and gas stations are ubiquitous in Jordan. The are every 10 miles or so along all the main roads throughout the country. We used Jo Petrol and Total Energies as these were often the biggest and had stores and food places attached to them. The fuel is cheap, you could get a full tank of petrol for $45. (Unleaded).
Police check Points
Throughout Jordan there are police check points. These are normally located outside the towns of major tourist destinations such as Petra. No need to stop unless instructed to but everyone slows right down. We were flagged at one check point but rather than asking us to stop it was just to let us know our lights were not switched on. To be honest these police check points made us feel safe driving in Jordan.
Speed bumps and Speed Cameras
One of the most talked about features of driving in Jordan are the speed bumps. “Watch out for the speed bumps”! your friends who have been in Jordan will immediately say. It’s true they catch you out initially but pay attention to the road and you should avoid any issues with them.
Speed cameras in Jordan are not marked as clearly as in Europe and U.S. Be careful not to get caught as the speeds vary up and down even along the same stretch of highway. For example it can often change from 110Kph to 60kph in a brief time. The speed cameras are small things hanging off a grey gallantry, difficult to spot but local driver are the key and often slow down for them. This is the safest way to drive in Jordan.
Jordanian Driving Styles and Habits
Jordanians are good drivers on the whole but there are some major differences here than Europe or the U.S.
- Tailgating – If someone wants to overtake, they will come right up to back bumper and stay ther until you move.
- Undecided on what lane they are driving in. Some cars will straddle both lanes and cruise along. Baffling.
- Slipway highway exits. A number of times we encountered cars wanting to take a shortcut by using the one way slipway to get back on the highway as we were exiting. Terrifying as you wonder for a minute if it you that is going the wrong way down a main road.
Is it easy to find parking in Jordan?
This was a great thing about driving in Jordan. Car parks and street parking was free. Jordan has a lot of space relative to it’s population and people seemed very relaxed about parking outside shops and restaurants. This made a wonderful change to where we come from in London where a traffic officer will pounce on your car the moment it’s left unattended on a street. It felt safe leaving the car everywhere we went in Jordan.
Can I drive in Jordan after a drink?
It’s hard to find a drink in Jordan unless in a touristy hotel or restaurant. Jordan therefore has a zero tolerance policy for driving having conusmed any alcohol. If you are wondering about where to drink alcohol in Jordan we’ve written a guide here. Definitely not safe to drive in Jordan after drinking, don’t try it.
Can I get around Jordan without a car?
The big question, do I really need a car to get around a Jordan? The answer is probably no. You could in theory get guides to pick you up and get taken to your hotel or take taxis to the sites. It reuqires a bit more plannning but it can be done.
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