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 spend as little as $500 per person for a 9-10 day trip (excluding flights) and have a gala time in Jordan on a budget.
1 JOD = 1.40 Dollars (USD) = 98 INR (as on Aug, 2018)
Jordan On A Budget – Expense Breakdown for a Road Trip
Together, we spent a total of ~ 74,000 INR (~ 1050 USD) excluding flights. As long as you are splitting the cost with another person, you may end up spending a similar amount. For solo travelers though, the cost may be a bit higher.
Here’s the approximate breakdown of our cost per person (on sharing basis) for a 10 – day road trip across Jordan.
Visa – The cost of a visa is waived off for those with a Jordan Pass irrespective of your nationality. More details below.
Guided Tours & Jordan Pass – 11,000 INR (~156 USD)
Food – 6,600 INR (~97 USD)
Car Rental Cost per person – 10,000 INR (~140 USD)
Accommodation on sharing basis – 9,500 INR (~134 USD)
AVERAGE COST PER DAY: ~ 7,400 INR/ couple (~ 105 USD)
FLIGHTS AND VISA
- We flew by ‘Etihad Airways’ from Bangalore, as we found a decent price of INR 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 option for travelers heading to Jordan while Fly Dubai is the cheapest option but requires you to get a visa to UAE as well.
- Jordan offers Visa-On-Arrival for around 60 USD per person, for all nationalities. GOOD NEWS: There’s a way to get the Visa-On-Arrival without paying a penny, by buying the JORDAN PASS in advance. Available to be bought online using a credit or debit card, the Jordan 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. So you walk into the immigration counter, show your passport, bookings, a print out of the Jordan Pass, and you’ll be ready to roll paying NOTHING.
- The pass comes at 7,400 INR (105 USD) with a 2-day pass to Petra. Since tickets to Petra alone are 5,000 INR ( 70 USD), a Jordan Pass saves you big money even if you just visit Petra. The Jordan Pass is 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!
- Given that around 40 sites are included in the Jordan Pass, you can save huge by sticking to only the attractions included in it. Take our word – these 40 sites itself will take you more than 10 days to cover. Bethany Beyond Jordan – the site of Jesus’ baptism is not covered under the pass. If you’re really keen on Christian history, we recommend you buy this alongside the Jordan Pass as it comes at a discounted price when bought in a bundle.
- 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 USD per person if you book for a minimum of 2 people.
- In case you’re wondering about the experience of floating in the Dead Sea, know that it can be accessed for free privately at one of the many resorts. More on this in the accommodation section.
- Food in Jordan is largely kind on your wallet. All meals are incredibly filling with a good share of protein and carbs. 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 100 INR (1.5 USD). 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’s a negotiation of the price of the food at some restaurants. As an Indian, you’re likely to be greeted everywhere with an “Indian? Welcome Welcome!”. Some restaurants immediately cut down their buffet costs to half when they learnt we are Indians. This is especially true for restaurants on the highways. 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 a 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 km and paid as little as 47 USD 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 the 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 the Dead Sea in all its glory.
- We spent 125 USD for a room for the night at Holiday Inn Dead Sea, the cheapest among all the resorts that line the Dead Sea coast. The room came with a mini bar, and we had private access to the Dead Sea (this means – you CAN wear a bikini!). The resort also provided towels, sunbeds, access to their 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 USD. 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 Hotel that we recommend.
What is ‘budget’ in Jordan?
A twin room with a shared bathroom: 30 USD
A sit-down meal in a restaurant for two: 17-20 USD
A street-side filling meal for two: 12 USD
Car rental per day with accident protection: 30 USD
A cup of coffee in an upscale cafe: 4 USD ; Around 1.5 USD 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 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.