I might be in a chilly Cheltenham today but this time last year I was in the much more exotic – and warm – location of Jordan. Visiting the ancient city of Petra is something that features on a lot of people’s bucket lists, and it’s easy to combine it with a trip to the Dead Sea and maybe the deserts of Wadi Rum or the beaches on the Red Sea coast within a week’s holiday. But how much does it cost to visit Jordan? It has a reputation as being one of the more expensive countries in the region, but we found it was still doable on a budget. Here’s how our spending broke down for a week’s trip to Jordan (prices as at November 2012).
My return flight from London to Amman cost £165 with easyJet, booked six weeks in advance. We also hired a small car for the week with Avis for £157 – petrol’s fairly cheap in Jordan and the car was very efficient so we only spent £30 on petrol, despite driving across the country. We also took taxis costing £13 on our day in Amman as the traffic was awful and we had no idea where we were going.
Total transport cost: £200 plus flights, so £265 per person in total – an average of £38 a day each.
There’s a huge range of accommodation options in Jordan, from simple locally run guesthouses up to five-star international chains. And we stayed in both, starting off with two nights in Amman in the Le Meridien. Rooms normally cost about £110 a night here but I cashed in some Starwood points I’d won in a competition and got two nights for just £28 (£7 per person per night). In Petra we stayed in the Rocky Mountain Hotel, a basic guesthouse on the hillside with million-dollar views. Our double room had a tiny en suite shower room and only cost £80 for three nights (£13 per person per night). If you want to stay on the Dead Sea there’s nothing but huge five-star hotels so we had to splash out for two nights at the Movenpick, which cost £180 after a bit of shopping around (£45 per person per night).
Total accommodation cost: £288 or £144 per person (plus an extra £100 each if I’d had to pay in full for the Amman hotel) – an average of £20 a day each (or £34 without the points).
The biggest activity costs are in Petra, where a two-day entry ticket to the ruins costs JD55/£48 per person. It’s worth staying for a few days though as there’s so much to see and the one-day ticket is only slightly less at £43. We also did the Petra by Night tour for JD12/£10. Away from Petra the only entry costs were at the Amman Citadel, which cost JD2/£1.75. At the Dead Sea we did think about using the hotel’s spa (JD60/£51), but as we only had a day there was enough to do with the beach and hotel pools.
Total activities cost: JD69/£60 per person – an average of £8.60 a day each.
Food and drink
Breakfast was included at the Rocky Mountain hotel and the rest of the time we bought our own food. Lunch was normally a snack while we were out and about, and we bought various bottles of water and cold drinks, coming in at a total of JD64, or JD32/£28 per person.
Dinner prices varied hugely. At the Dead Sea you’re limited to five-star resorts so we paid JD18/£16 for a main course and drink. Many big hotels do buffets, the Petra Movenpick’s version was good value (with an amazing dessert selection) at JD16/£14, but check prices as the Dead Sea Movenpick’s version cost JD26/£22. Away from the big hotels we paid JD8/£7 for a mezze meal in Petra and JD10/£9 for a three-course set meal at the Rocky Mountain Hotel. In total we ate out for six evening meals, one lunch and had a meal at the airport, coming in at a total of JD196, or JD98/£84 per person.
A beer after a hot day exploring will eat into your budget in Jordan – alcohol is only available in Western-owned hotels and is heavily taxed. At the Dead Sea Movenpick you’ll pay £10 for a litre of imported beer! We didn’t drink much and when we did we mainly stuck to local beers. We did go for a cocktail in Petra and a few drinks in the Cave Bar, and found the sunset happy hour at the Dead Sea with two-for-one on glasses of wine, coming in at a total of JD60, or JD30/£25 per person.
Total food and drink cost: JD320/£275 or JD160/£137 per person – just under £20 a day each.
The grand total
So the overall cost for our week in Jordan was £612 per person (or £712 without using my hotel points), including flights. This works out as just over £87 a night each. One thing we didn’t do was the overnight camping trip in Wadi Rum but you could add that in for around £50.
Lower budget? Save by visiting the Dead Sea on a day trip from Madaba or Amman rather than staying overnight as there isn’t much budget accommodation. You could also save by using the public buses and by steering clear of alcohol!
Higher budget? If you’re splashing out then you can stay right in one of the hotels right next to the entrance to Petra, like the Movenpick or Crowne Plaza. You can also hire a driver to get around or spend some time in the Dead Sea spas.