A Guide to Driving in Jordan
On my trip to Jordan, we decided to rent a car and road trip through the country so we could see everything we wanted. Driving in Jordan can be a unique and challenging experience, so it’s important to know what you need before hitting the road. This blog post will provide all the information you need to know about driving in Jordan, including what is needed, where to rent a car, driving conditions, and tips on how to stay safe.
The first step in driving in Jordan is making sure you have the necessary paperwork and documents. Drivers must be 18 years old and have a valid driving license from their own country and an international driving permit. It is also important to make sure your driver’s license is up to date. Getting an international driving permit is quite simple, and I was able to get one within 10 minutes. All you need to do is get a couple of passport photos printed at your local Walgreens or photo lab, fill out the application and stop into your local AAA office. You also have the option of mailing in the application which takes a few weeks to get back, so make sure you prepare.
Renting a Car
The next step is finding the right car for your trip to Jordan. There are several car rental companies that offer cars of all sizes and prices. We decided to rent a normal-sized sedan for our trip, as it allowed us to navigate the terrain without any issues. Most rental companies offer insurance, so make sure you look into that before signing the agreement. Make sure you also ask about driving restrictions and check if there are any additional fees or taxes. If you are flying into Amman, there are a bunch of car rental companies that are in the airport right after customs. We decided to go with Enterprise, and it only cost us around $30 a day. Since I have the Chase explorer card, it comes with rental car insurance as long as I pay for the reservation with that card. I highly recommend renting through the Enterprise as Queen Alia Airport, it's super easy to reserve online and the whole process was simple.
Once you have all the paperwork, you are ready to hit the road. Jordan has some unique driving conditions that may be a bit different than what you’re used to. Driving in the busy city of Amman was actually pretty tricky since there is so much traffic and cars weaving in and out of the lanes. It's not uncommon to get cut off by someone without a turn signal or have more cars than lanes. Parking is also free on most streets, but very difficult to find. I only drove to Amman in the early morning or very late at night, and during the day decided to opt for Uber since it's only a few JOD to go across the whole city.
What to Look Out For
When driving across the country, be sure to watch out for roundabouts and speed bumps. Within the cities and residential areas, there are a bunch of speed bumps to slow people down, but they are poorly maintained and difficult to see. Be aware that you might see plenty of stray dogs, sheep, and goats being herded, as well as wild camels. And unfortunately, with that comes a lot of roadkill as well. Also, hitchhiking is a big thing in Jordan, so there will always be plenty of people waiting on the side of the road to hitch a ride. I was told by several people that this is very dangerous and that you should not pick up any hitchhikers.
It is also important to know that traffic stops are very common in Jordan and something you should be prepared for. The traffic police can stop your car at any time, and they may ask to see your driving documents or request ID. It's best to always keep the paperwork on hand just in case they do pull you over. A police officer will typically have one car stationed on the side of the road, and another officer standing in the road waiving people down at random. This happened twice while we were driving to Petra. The first time we provided our rental paperwork and my international driver's license, and the second time he just asked us where we were from and when I said America he just let us go.
Getting Gas in Jordan
Finally, the driving experience in Jordan wouldn't be complete without talking about getting gas. It can be a bit tricky to find a place to fill up but once you do it's fairly straightforward. Scams are not common in Jordan, but I have heard of a few people saying that the gas station attendant jipped them a few bucks and did not fill up as much as they paid for. We decided to stick to bigger gas station companies like JO Petrol or Manaseer, which take credit card. This is the best way to make sure you get the most gas for your money.
In conclusion, driving in Jordan can be a great experience and extremely rewarding. Just make sure you take the necessary precautions and have all your documents in order to avoid any problems. Driving is the best way to explore this amazing country and see everything it has to offer!