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If you're considering renting a car in Jordan and doing a self-driving trip then I'm here to say that's a great choice!
After considering the options of public transport and tours I decided that renting a car gave me the most freedom to see everything I wanted to see in Jordan and allowed me to follow my own timings and itinerary. This was the best decision for our trip to Jordan as it really allowed us to follow our own schedule and see the country in a way we probably otherwise wouldn't have.
But I've had a lot of the same questions about my experience and the best way to get around Jordan. Hopefully this article will help answer some questions and concerns you have.
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Is it safe to drive in Jordan?
The short answer is yes. We had absolutely no problems on the roads in Jordan, no accidents and no close calls. However as with anywhere, use caution. There were some quirks to driving in Jordan that we were not used to at home and of course that means being alert and taking extra care.
a lot of the highways do not have visible lane markings so cars tend to weave in and out, straddling several lanes. Just stay alert, keep your distance and use your mirrors.
Drivers in Jordan are not great at using their turning signals. Again, keep your distance.
Traffic in Amman can be extremely hectic and busy, it was the only place we encountered heavy traffic. Everyone is pulling out and turning at the last minute, we found just moving slowly and keeping distance was the easiest thing to do until the traffic cleared.
There are a lot of large lorries or trucks which seem to drive very fast. Be aware of them pulling out in front of you. We had one lorry blow out a tyre right next to us which was pretty scary!
What are the roads like in Jordan?
The infrastructure in Jordan is fantastic and we found it very easy and straightforward to get from place to place.
I recommend downloading offline maps as these will work in Jordan for navigation. Signage throughout the country is also very good.
The only warning I would give is that the road condition in Jordan is a bit hit and miss. Some main roads, including highways, were very cracked and potholed. We noticed this particularly on the highway towards Wadi Rum/Abaqa.
Obviously if you have a rental car you need to be taking it extra slow and avoid potholes if possible to avoid any damage to the car, especially if you have a low chassis.
Also be aware of speed bumps. These are used extensively throughout the country to control speed which is great, however they are not always signposted and they are not painted a different colour. You'll often come upon them on the highway when you're going at 100km/h and have to break hard.
Surprisingly Jordanians are very good at using their hazard lights to warn you if one is coming up. So if a car ahead of you is flashing their hazards, slow down as there might be a speed hump.
What is the speed limit in Jordan?
Highways - 120kph (75mph)
Single lane/country roads - 80kph (50mph)
Built up areas - 60kph or less (38mph or less)
You drive on the right side in Jordan.
Police presence in Jordan
We were pleasantly surprised by the strong police presence in Jordan, although it is considered the safest country in the Middle East so you can see why.
There are traffic police throughout the country, monitoring traffic in cities and the countryside. Often they are just sitting in covered areas on the side of the road, but we saw several with mobile speed cameras so do adhere to the speed limit.
Gas stations in Jordan
You do not pump your own gas in Jordan. Wait for the attendant to come over and tell them how much you want, e.g. to full etc. Petrol is extremely cheap in Jordan (compared to the UK/Europe).
Use these stops for the bathroom, they aren't in great condition but you're not going to find many public toilets in Jordan!
Renting a car in Jordan
Of course there are plenty of options for car rental in Jordan. After shopping around we found the best priced car rental agency to be Montecarlo Rent a Car.
They had significantly cheaper prices, this is perhaps because they are located outside of the airport on the main highway which may be inconvenient for some but they arrange to pick you up from the airport and take you to the rental office free of charge, so it's really no hassle. They are even open 24/7 - our flight was delayed and they still came to pick us up at midnight from the airport!
The same goes again for your return flight, just let them know what time you'll be dropping the rental car back at their offices and they'll arrange a transfer to the airport for you.
Their website lists the types of cars so you can select a size in advance to suit the driving you'll be doing. We picked a mid size car as we were not doing any off-road activities but we would he covering a lot of mileage.
The great thing about Montecarlo Rent a Car is also the low deposit. Only £100 on your credit card!
They are very responsive and proactive if anything does go wrong. We had the driver seat belt fail on our way back to Amman halfway through our trip. We took it to the Montecarlo offices and the mechanic came out immediately and fitted a new one within the hour and we were on our way!
Should you take out full insurance cover on your rental car?
This is such a debated question, people say not to bother as you'll probably be fine and it can be a big additional expense. However we always take out full cover for zero liability and boy were we glad we did!
Two days before the end of our trip we stayed at a hotel in Amman as a base to drive to the Dead Sea and Jerash (You can read my full one week itinerary for Jordan here). Our car was moved into the secure carpark by the hotel valet and whilst it was there, something dropped on the windscreen and smashed it.
Obviously this is a nightmare scenario to badly damage a rental car, but we had full coverage which included the windshield so we didn't have to pay anything. Such a lifesaver considering that the hotel refused to accept liability!
Montecarlo were great and brought a replacement car out to us within two hours and took the old one away.
We had the option to pay for the additional coverage again on the new car which was an unexpected expense but only 40JD and one worth paying considering it had just saved us paying out a lot more for the damage!
After this experience I always recommend taking out full cover for your rental car.
Pin it for later to help you plan your future trip!
Flights: I use Expedia to find great flights and the best deals all over the world, they have regular sales and offers so I always check their website. I also check CheapOair to find cheap deals on round trip flights.
Car Rental: I love the customer service I've always gotten and the variety of options with Rental Cars. But for short notice rentals, I've been using Expedia for the last year, they always seem to have great one-day rates or last-minute rates from the main rental companies.
Accommodation: I prefer the flexibility of booking accommodation with Booking.com so I can cancel or change my reservation without a fee or only pay on arrival for most properties. For longer or more unique stays I prefer AirBnB because you can get the long stay discount, you can also find more unique properties and book experiences with talented locals and businesses. For my budget trips, I always stay in hostels and book through Hostelworld because they have great guarantees if anything does go wrong. If you arrive and your booking is not at the property, they refund the full deposit AND give you $50 extra credit.
Tours and organised trips Although I don’t use tours that often, I do like to book local experiences or day trips once I reach my destination. For that I use GetYourGuide because it has the biggest selection and variety of tour and experience options.
Travel Insurance: For all my longer trips and for the entire year I’ve spent in Australia, my partner and I have always used World Nomads. They cover everything I need and I can buy coverage for a year at a time, they also allow you to purchase cover when you’re already outside your home country. Plus my camera gear and equipment is covered and they also have special cover for when I’m scuba diving too.
My camera gear and equipment: I use a Canon 77D with an 18-135mm lens or a 50mm lens. And a DJI Mavic Mini Drone. For all my gear including laptops, tripods and more camera accessories read my travel photography gear guide.