Visit Jordan: 5 Tips for Staying Safe
Traveling to the Middle East may seem intimidating, especially to those who are influenced by the media, which most often portrays images of war, terrorism, protests, and suppressive governments, supplemented by bite-sized segments of sensational information about the region. Jordan is located in the heart of the Middle East and although it seems to be surrounded by turmoil, with conflicts occurring in three of its neighboring countries, Jordan remains secure. Perhaps one of the safest travel destinations in the region, I recommend that travelers visit Jordan.
Jordan is a country rich in culture, history and natural beauty — the home of Petra, an ancient city carved into mountains; Hammamat Ma’in or the Ma’in hot springs; the Dead Sea; Kerak and Shobak Castles; Mount Nebo, a mountain that holds religious importance for many people; and the ancient ruins of Jerash City, to name a few of the country’s most famous sites. The sights to behold throughout Jordan are worth the journey, so do not forget your camera.
In order to help you remain safe when you travel to Jordan, I have compiled the following travel safety tips for my fellow female travelers:
1. Never underestimate the importance of educating yourself.
Before you travel anywhere, you should educate yourself about your destination and be informed of its recent and past histories.
2. When you visit Jordan, be aware of your surroundings.
Although Jordan is a safe and secure country, petty theft, like pickpocketing, happens, especially in areas with a large tourist population. Keep your wallet close to you, carry a bag or purse that zips, spread out your money (i.e., take the money you will need and leave the rest in your hotel room safe), and carry a copy of your passport, leaving your actual passport in the hotel safe.
3. For women, dressing conservatively is an easy way you can protect yourself.
When you visit Jordan, you do not have to cover your hair, but I would recommend wearing long skirts (patterns are perfectly fine) or long pants, and loose shirts with sleeves. You can still look stylish, but just make that sure most of your skin is covered and that your curves are mostly concealed. In areas with a large tourist population, you may see other tourists wearing shorts, short dresses and tanks, but they are recognized as easy targets and stick out immediately as foreigners. Dressing conservatively will help you blend in a little more and may also reduce the amount of unwanted attention you will receive (i.e., cat calling, people trying to sell you things, etc.).
4. I would advise against stating opinions on politics regarding the Middle East.
Jordanians, in general, enjoy talking about politics and tend to be very passionate about the political issues in the region. Loudly broadcasting an opinion that is not well-received could jeopardize your safety. Keep in mind that Jordan has a large refugee population — people who have been directly affected by the conflicts in the region.
5. As a tourist, be mindful that you are a foreigner in a different country and culture.
Show respect to that culture and the cultural and historical sites you visit.
One of the first security and safety sessions I had as a Peace Corps Trainee was focused on taking responsibility for our safety. Although Jordan remains safe, there are still risks as there are with traveling anywhere in the world. But, as long as you protect yourself, remain aware of your surroundings, and use common sense, you will be sure to have a memorable Jordan travel experience.