With a conversion rate of 1.40 USD to 1 Jordanian Dinar, Jordan is a far cry from being a budget-friendly destination. Though the conversion rate is astronomical for most travellers, the prices of services within Jordan more or less make up for it. By following some of the budget tips that we’ve mentioned here, you can restrict yourself to spending as little as $600-650 for a 9-10 day trip (excluding flights) and have a gala time in Jordan on a budget.
1 JOD = 1.40 USD = 93 INR (as on Feb, 2017)
Jordan On A Budget – Expense Breakdown
We spent a grand total of ~122000 INR (1900 USD) including flights as a couple
All costs shown above are per person sharing costs for 9 nights/ 10 days.
Flights and Visa* – 26540 INR (412 USD)
Guided Tours & Sightseeing – 10950 INR (170 USD)
Food – 6630 INR (103 USD)
Transport – 9850 INR (153 USD)
Accommodation – 9450 INR (147 USD)
AVERAGE COST PER DAY: 8000 INR/ couple (126 USD)
*- We boarded our flight from Bengaluru, India. Visa costs are universal, irrespective of your nationality.
Flights & Visa
- We flew by ‘Etihad Airways’ from Bangalore, as we found a decent price of 29, 000 on it. Given Etihad is a Jet Airways partner, we also used it as an opportunity to rack up some JP Miles to redeem free flights in the future. Air Arabia is also a budget options for travelers heading to Jordan while Fly Dubai is the cheapest option but requires you to get a visa to UAE as well.
- Securing a visa for Jordan in India is costly, at INR 11000 per person. However, Jordan offers Visa-On-Arrival for around 60$ per person, for all nationalities. Though this might seem to be the best option, there is a way to secure a FREE VISA to Jordan – Using a Jordan Pass
- The Jordan Pass was introduced by Jordan Tourism to promote the nation’s tourist track. Available to be bought online using a credit or debit card, the pass gives you access to almost ALL the historical sites you’re likely to visit in Jordan and gives you a complete waiver on your visa fee!
- The pass comes at 75 JOD (105$) with a 2-day pass to Petra. Since tickets to Petra are 40 JOD and visa-on-arrival another 40, a Jordan Pass saves you big money even if you just visit Petra – literally the holy grail to experience Jordan on a budget. Additionally, sites like Jerash, Wadi Rum, Amman Citadel, Karak/ Shobak Castles are all covered under the pass handing you big savings!
- As mentioned above, most of the sightseeing that you are likely to undertake are covered by the Jordan Pass.
- The only other experience we paid for was bivouac camping (camping in the open without a roof!) in Wadi Rum. We booked the full day tour inclusive of 4-wheel jeep drive around the desert, freshly cooked Bedouin meals thrice a day, unlimited water & beverages, incredible conversations with Bedouin, and sleeping bags/ rugs to protect you from the cold at night!
- We strongly recommend the 1-day jeep tour offered by Wadi Rum Nomads. Fawaz, Habis, and Atallah were fantastic hosts who knew about every grain of sand in the desert. The food preparation was equally fabulous. The tour costs only 65$ per person if you book for a minimum of 2 people.
- Bethany Beyond Jordan – the site of Jesus’ baptism is not covered under the pass. If you’re really keen on Christian history, buy this alongside the Jordan Pass as it comes at a discounted price when bought in a bundle.
- Food in Jordan is largely kind on your wallet. All meals are incredibly filling with a good share of protein and carbohydrates. Most hotels/ B&Bs offer free breakfast that are served in huge portions.
- Instead of going for sit-down meals in restaurants, we suggest you hop from one eatery to the other digging into falafels, shawarmas, and Jordanian desserts as they’re each as little as 1 JOD. This is true especially for Amman. Street-eat is a critical element in experiencing Jordan on a budget.
- In Petra, ensure you buy water and beverages for your hike from OUTSIDE the site, preferably near your hotel/ guesthouse as they tend to overcharge you otherwise. There is no need to carry food for the hike (as opposed to what Lonely Planet suggests) as Petra has a large number of eateries within the site now at decent prices.
- There is a lot of scope to negotiate with restaurants, as well. As an Indian, you’re likely to be greeted everywhere with a “Indian? Welcome Welcome!”. Some restaurants immediately cut down their buffet costs from 12 JOD to 6 JOD when they learnt we are Indians. This is true for restaurants on the highways especially. The attitude is a bit different towards Westerners, albeit still warm.
- The best way to experience Jordan in its complete avatar is by renting a car. It gives you the freedom to stop along anywhere you wish, something you’ll definitely want to do given the astounding vistas that will be surrounding you. Moreover, public transport isn’t fully developed yet leaving car rental the only option!
- Most big car operators like Hertz, EuropCar, Avis, Sixt run services in Jordan. Unless you’ve an existing account with either of these companies, I’d completely avoid using them as they tend to overcharge.
- We found a local car rental company, Monte Carlo, that gave us the best price. Additionally, their full coverage (coverage for accidents et al) was cheaper by light-years from some of the more popular service providers. You can book them by using contact form on their website. They’re highly responsive on their emails, much like most Jordanians in the tourism business.
- Needless to say, gasoline prices are negligible in the entire Middle Eastern region. We drove around 1000 kms and paid as little as 47$ for gasoline for ALL days.
- Throughout our time in Jordan, we stayed in basic Bed & Breakfast places. But, we did not encounter a single bad experience anywhere as there is no compromise on quality even if the prices are low. Jordan is desperately trying to revive its tourism flow since the Syrian war leading to cheap hotel prices.
- In Amman, we suggest Zaman Ya Zaman Boutique hotel. The rooms are incredibly small and you’ve to share a bathroom much like a hostel but there was no question over their cleanliness, hospitality, or even the view from the rooms (right opposite the Roman Theatre!)
- Choosing a place to experience Dead Sea can get quite challenging. While most hotels in Amman support you with day trips to Dead Sea resorts, they do not make sense financially unless you’re a solo traveler. If you’re two or more, then we advise you splurge and stay in one of the resorts lining the Dead Sea as it is really the only way to experience Dead Sea in all its glory.
- We spent $125 for a room for the night at Holiday Inn Dead Sea, the cheapest among all the resorts that line the Dead Sea coast. But, this came with a mini bar, private access to Dead Sea (this means – you CAN wear a bikini!), towels and sun beds, swimming pools, and views of Dead Sea that you’ll remember for a long time to come.
- If you’re extremely under budget, then you have the choice of going to the ‘Amman Beach’ – a public access beach with an entry free below 8$. However, wearing a bikini or exposing your legs for the matter is a strict no-no. There are no towels, sun beds, or working showers either. But, well, if all you care for is floating in the Dead Sea, then go straight ahead!
- In Petra, we stayed at Petra Nights hotel but we wouldn’t recommend it as it was the farthest away from Petra entry point. It also meant we had to walk uphill every time we stepped out for a meal. In Lower Wadi Musa (town that surrounds Petra), there are better options like Cleopetra that we recommend.
What is ‘budget’ in Jordan?
A twin room with a shared bathroom: $30
A sit-down meal in a restaurant for two: $17-20
A street-side filling meal for two: $12
Car rental per day with accident protection: $30
A cup of coffee in an upscale cafe: $4 ; Around $1.5 in a street-side cafe
While Jordanian Dinar remains a very powerful currency, the tourism industry has been shaken up by the adversities prevailing in the region leading to lower prices of accommodation, food among others. If there’s a time to visit to Jordan, it is now as it would not just be budget-friendly but it would also do a big favour to many Jordanians whose livelihood has been hit.