Travel Tips

15 Invaluable Tips for Driving in Jordan

There are a lot of things to consider when planning a trip to Jordan: How long and when should you visit? What should you see? Where should you go and how should you get there? Is it even worth considering a car rental and driving in Jordan?

Driving in Jordan Hero

If you’re up for the adventure and want the flexibility of exploring on your own, Jordan is a safe place to do that. You can easily rent a car, plan a road trip route, and explore Jordan on your own terms rather than with a private driver or group of fellow travelers.

In this post I’ll cover my best tips for driving in Jordan based on my past visits. You’ll learn the basic rules of the road, plus a few Jordan-specific tips and tricks to make driving in Jordan a breeze.

Tip #1: You Can Rent a Car in Jordan

Driving in Jordan - Two-Lane Road

As you’re planning your Jordan trip, you might assume you need to be on a group tour or at least have a private driver-guide. Not true!

You can absolutely rent a car and explore Jordan on your own. Jordan is safe for car renters, but of course, there are a few tips for safety and generally making life easier that I’ll cover in the rest of this post.

In terms of the details, here is the most relevant info you need to know:

  • Drivers must be 25 years old to rent a car in Jordan
  • You’ll need to show your driver’s license and passport as part of the rental process.
  • You do not need an International Driver’s License to rent a car or for driving in Jordan.
  • Car rentals in Jordan typically start from $18 per day (source)

The vast majority of rental companies are in Amman at Queen Alia International Airport; keep it simple and rent your car there. I always use Kayak to browse car rental options.

Tip #2: Check Your Petrol Levels

Once you arrive in Jordan and pick up your rental car, it’s a good idea to check the vehicle (like whenever you rent a car anywhere). In particular, pay attention to the petrol (gas) levels. There is no common standard for “how full” your car will be when you receive it (like there is in other countries), so you may receive a rental car that is empty! (The good thing is that you can also return it empty.) Once you know your petrol levels, you can plan for your first fuel stop.

Tip #3: There are Plenty of Petrol Stations

10 Days in Jordan - Open Road to Dana

While Jordan itself is not an oil-rich country, they do live in a great region for it, so there is plenty of infrastructure to support fuel use in Jordan. Even tiny towns will usually have a petrol (gas) station.

That said, it’s always good to plan ahead to ensure you have enough fuel for the day. After your first day of driving, figure out how many times you’ll need to fill up each day. Then start your day with a full tank to ensure you don’t end up spending part of your trip waiting on the side of the road for a ride to the next town for gas.

Pro-Tip: When getting fuel, you don’t pump the gas yourself in Jordan. Just tell the attendant you want it “Full,” or hand out the number of Dinar you want to pay.

Tip #4: Seat Belts are Required…

…But only for front seat passengers.

I did a bit of extra digging on this rule to try and confirm, but yes: only front-seat passengers are required to wear seatbelts in Jordan. (Actually, they’re working hard to get to 100% compliance with this, as most people don’t wear a seatbelt at all.)

However, we know that seatbelts save lives no matter where you’re sitting in the car, and it’s a silly reason to risk your safety. Buckle up even if you’re in the back seat!

Tip #5: Drive on the Right Side

Though Jordan is a former British colony, you don’t need to learn how to drive on the opposite side of the road (and car) when driving in Jordan. (Thank goodness!) Yep, you drive on the right side of the road in Jordan.

Hopefully that’s all I need to say – just follow the “right side” rules of the road, and you’ll be in compliance with most Jordanian driving laws.

Tip #6: Speeds & Distances are Metric

While the side-of-road debate falls in favor of the American system, the Brits won the “speeds and distances” portion. In Jordan, speeds and distances are all in the metric system. This means you’ll need to acquaint yourself with speed in kilometers per hour (kph) and distances in kilometers too.

Here are a few helpful tips I’ve learned from driving in countries that use the metric system this way:

  • 1500m is about one mile (so if you see the distance to an exit is 1500m, it’s roughly one mile)
  • 100 kilometers per hour (kph) is roughly 60 miles per hour (mph)
  • 60kph is about 35mph, 80kph is about 50mph, and 120kph is about 75mph (more on these below)
  • If you’re traveling 100kph on the highway and the exit is 1500m ahead, you have about a minute to reach the exit
  • If you’re traveling 100kph and the speed bump warning sign says 100m, you have about 10 seconds to prepare for the speed bump (more on speed bumps below)

Tip #7: Observe the Speed Limits

There are some common speed limits in Jordan, and you should observe them whenever driving in Jordan:

  • In cities and urban areas, the speed limit is typically 50-60kph (30-35mph, so it should feel similar to city driving wherever you are from)
  • In rural, less developed areas, the speed limit is typically 80-90kph (50-55mph)
  • On highways, the speed limit varies from 100-120kph (65-75mph)

I like to put the speed in miles-per-hour as it helps me understand how fast it should “feel” when driving in these areas. All of this should feel very familiar if you have driven in other countries or your home country!

Tip #8: Be Prepared for Police Checkpoints

Police checkpoints are common in Jordan, especially once you get out of the cities onto highways between destinations. I remember being stopped on the way from Amman to Madaba, literally the first day we left the city.

Here are a couple of tips for police checkpoints:

  1. Slow down as you approach a police checkpoint, as they will wave you over and the wave can be easy to miss.
  2. If you do get waved over, the police may ask for your papers, or may just give you a cursory glance and wave you on.
  3. If the police ask for your papers, be prepared to show your passport and certificate of roadworthiness (a document provided when you rent the car). They may ask for other papers too, but typically this is sufficient.

Police checks are no big deal in Jordan; it’s an additional security measure to help control who’s moving around the country – which makes sense when you remember who Jordan’s neighbors are! (That would be Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.)

Tip #9: Lanes are Guidelines

Driving in Jordan - Camel in the back of a Pickup truck

I remember the first country where I experienced the “lanes are guidelines not rules” mentality – it was Chile. There, I quickly discovered that 1) there aren’t designated passing areas and thus 2) if I didn’t pass when I felt it was safe, I would be stuck behind the bus/truck/slow driver forever. I quickly learned to judge when the road would be safe to pass and make it happen.

The same rules apply when driving in Jordan: the lanes are there, typically two of them, you can use them however you see fit/feel safest, and other drivers will do the same. This may mean you need to yield if two approaching cars are taking up the whole road, or you need to use the shoulder a bit to pass a large truck driving down the center.

Tip #10: Watch for Speed Bumps

There are many unusual obstacles while driving in Jordan, but the biggest one is speed bumps. There are speed bumps everywhere! Sometimes they aren’t even well marked so you can slow down sufficiently for them!

Speed bumps obviously help slow cars down, but it typically means you need to slow down a lot beneath the speed limit to safely cross the bump. Failure to do so will be a teeth-rattling and potentially car-damaging experience. Better to stay alert and keep you and the car safe by always slowing down for the speed bumps.

Tip #11: Also Watch for Pedestrians

Driving in Jordan - Cars in Amman

In addition to speed bumps, you also need to keep a particular eye out for pedestrians. Pedestrians always have the right of way in Jordan, so don’t be surprised if someone steps out at any point and expects you to slow down dramatically to accommodate that.

This happens in the cities, the towns, anywhere. Just be an attentive driver and give pedestrians the right of way.

Pro-tip: The other major road hazard is camels. (I love it!) While there are no official rules on camel right-of-way, the animals are huge and hitting one can damage the car, the camel, and yoou.

Tip #12: Aim to Drive During the Day

While it is safe to drive at night, I recommend driving in Jordan during the day whenever you can. As I just mentioned, there are plenty of road obstacles in Jordan that are hard to spot and accommodate even when the sun is shining; imagine coming across a speed bump or camel in the road once the sun goes down!

Jordan’s highways are not extensively lit, either, so there’s very little light to help you see unless you’re near a more developed area.

In general, just plan ahead to try and do your driving during the day so you don’t have to worry about it.

Tip #13: GPS is Key…

Driving in Jordan - Winding Two Lane Highway through the mountains

Having GPS queued up to help you navigate is a good idea in Jordan. Cell service in Jordan is generally pretty good, but if you’re exploring far beyond the cities or while driving the highways, you may find you have no service.

For this reason I recommend having an international data plan (or picking up a local sim for the biggest carrier in Jordan, Orange), but also saving maps/routes to your phone in advance each night for the next day’s driving. You can easily do this in Google Maps.

Tip #14: …But Google Always Underestimates

Speaking of Google, it pretty much always underestimates the driving time between destinations in Jordan. This is due to some of the issues we’ve mentioned already: police checks, speed bumps, camel crossings, and slow-moving trucks you can’t get around. It’s also because Jordan is primarily a country of two-lane roads, and many of those are twisty-turny and require more care while driving. Oh, and because there are plenty of roadside tea shops worth stopping at.

Give yourself an extra 30-60 minutes depending on how long the drive is each day, and you’ll be on-schedule instead of always “late.” (Really though, you’re on vacation, how late can you be?!)

Tip #15: Don’t Drive in Amman

Driving in Jordan - Amman City View

For one final tip, I recommend not driving in Amman. First of all, city driving in Jordan (like everywhere) is totally different than driving the highways through rural areas. The rules of the road are different, there are way more cars, there’s a lot going on… It’s just a lot.

Instead, you can get around Amman easily by public transit or taxi. Let the locals do the driving while you enjoy the city.

Pro-tip: You also don’t need to drive in Wadi Rum. There are many tour operators there who are experts in desert driving, you don’t need to pay for the car upgrade and do it yourself.

Have any other questions about driving in Jordan? Let me know in the comments!

JT Headshot New

I fell in love with Jordan after my first visit in 2016; now I love returning to explore more – and writing guides to help you do the same.


  • Oliver

    Hi! I am Oliver. Thank you very much for the well detailed information that gave to us. I have a question about parking in Jordan. Is it easy to find one in places like Petra or dead sea or wadi rum. Thank you

    • JT Headshot New


      Great question. Near Petra there is lots of city parking, at Wadi Rum, you will have parking near whichever camp you are staying, and same at the Dead Sea – there will be parking at whatever hotel/resort you stay at. I hope that helps.

      • Javier G.

        Hi. Thanks for sharing with such amazing detail level. Is it possible to refuel with credit cards or do you recommend cash as first option?

        • JT Headshot New


          For fuel, absolutely cards are a good idea; I recommend having one dedicated one for your trip so you can be sure that you don’t have any issues with fraud.

  • Anthony

    Hi Valerie, thank you for the very imformative post. Do you have any further information regarding insurance while renting a car including price or packages for insurance for full cover? Thanks in advance!

    • JT Headshot New


      Thanks for reading, Anthony. This is usually an add-on cost, but you can typically add it during the reservation process to see the total cost before booking. I hope that helps!

  • Alessa

    Hi, Valerie! I’m Alessa and I have a question: Do I need a credit card to rent a car in Jordan? Or can I pay by cash without a credit card? Thank you!

  • Marlene

    Hi Valerie! I’m loving your tips, all so helpfull! I’m going to Jordan next month and I’m wondering about the International Driver’s License – the rental car company only asks for a “valid drivers licence”, does this mean that my Portuguese driver licence is suficient?
    Thank you and keep up the great work!

    • JT Headshot New


      Great question, Marlene. I think they accept most driver’s licenses, but I recommend checking with the rental company directly – if you’re going through an international company (which I recommend), you should be able to ask them directly.

  • Careena

    Hey. I just wanted some advice. You don’t recommend driving in Amman but if I rent a car at the airport and drive to my hotel in Amman and then park and drive out the next day, is that fairly safe being able to maneuver in and out ??

    Thanks for the article. It was thorough and helpful.

    • JT Headshot New


      If you’re visiting Amman first (or last) in your trip, I recommend waiting to get the car – take a transfer into Amman for the days you’ll be there, then back out to the airport to get your rental car. Amman traffic really is a doozy!

  • Hiren P

    Hi Valerie! Thanks so much for all the tips! We are planning our trip to Jordan and are curious after reading your very informative post, if we should even rent a car since we will be in Wadi Rum. Below is our current schedule. Any advice on whether we should rent or hire a private driver would be extremely helpful!

    Amman- Staying just the night as we fly in late at night and plan to leave the following day for Petra
    Petra- Explore and stay 1 night
    Wadi Rum- Explore for 1 day and stay the night at a hotel in Aquaba
    The Dead Sea- Explore and stay 1 night. Leave the next morning for our flight from Amman

    • JT Headshot New


      Hi, Hiren – I would stay a night in Wadi Rum instead of Aqaba if you can. One night in Aqaba isn’t really enough to see the city, and one day in Wadi Rum won’t let you experience the best parts (sunrise and sunset). I hope that helps!

  • Baqa

    Hi there! Thank you so much for your site and all the valuable information – you’re making planning out trip to Jordan much simpler. Just a little fun fact for you: road distances and speed limits in the UK are in miles and MPH, even though the rest of their system is mostly converted to metric. Thought you might like to know – for speeds and distances in Jordan, the Brits actually lost out again :-D.

  • jasmine

    Hi Val,

    great website and tips there. I’m planning to go Jerash & As Salt from Amman, if I didn’t rent a car, what would be the means of transport to get to Jerash and how convenient is that vs driving ourselves?

    our plan is to spend 1 day in Amman, day trip to Jerash/As Salt, then start our journey to Petra. So do you recommend that for the 2 days of Amman/Jerash/As Salt, we use public transport, but the moment we leave Amman, we can get a car rental to drive to Madaba, Wadi Musa, Wadi Rum and so on?

    How far is the airport to Amman city?

  • Gillian Wallace

    Hi Valerie,
    Your articles REALLY make me want to go to Jordan. Are all road signs also in English or do I need to learn some Arabic? (I mean, I already know the basics for politeness, but not how to read signs)

  • Ren

    Hello Valerie

    Thanks for the tips! I am planning on renting a car at the airport in Amman and drive out to Jerash and other sites. You mentioned to NOT drive in Amman. But, I’ll have to as I’ll be arriving there and wanting to explore the other sites by car. What are your thoughts?

    • JT Headshot New


      Well, I think you’ll be surprised by the amount of time you spend/waste in the car due to driving in Amman – plus you’re paying to bring a car in/out of the city and park it each night. I usually just arrange a driver for the day trips out of Amman so as to avoid all that!

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