Trip budget: A week in Jordan

Amman Citadel at sunset, Jordan

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).

Transport

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.

Wadi Mujib, Jordan's version of the Grand Canyon

Views down into the Wadi Mujib gorge along the King’s Highway

Accommodation

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).

Sunset over Wadi Musa and Petra

Sunset over Wadi Musa from the Rocky Mountain Hotel

Activities

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.

The mountainous Monastery in Petra, Jordan

The Monastery at Petra

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.

Swimming pool at the five star Movenpick Hotel and Spa Dead Sea, Jordan

Swimming pool at the Dead Sea Movenpick

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.

The easiest ways to save if you are on a lower budget would be to do the Dead Sea on a day trip from Madaba or Amman, use the public buses to get around and steer clear of alcohol! Or if you’ve got more money to splash out you can stay at one of the luxury hotels right next to the entrance in Petra, hire a driver to get around or spend some time in the Dead Sea spas.

Comments

  1. says

    Great summary. Just one year ago, I was in Jordan, too. We combined a four-day trip to Jordan with a 9-trip to Israel. We were with a small group (Education Tours-only five of us went to Jordan), so we had personalized guide serve. I loved Jordan (though Amman’s traffic was truly horrendous), especially Petra and Jerash. This trip was one of the highlights of my life.

  2. says

    I was also in Jordan last summer for an Amman-based project. I also recall the horrible traffic. On a free weekend I booked a car and headed to Petra. One things that really stuck with me – my guide in Petra said to me that Americans get scared about coming to Jordan because of all the other crazy things happen in the world…and yet here lies such beauty that they are desperate to show off. Great post!

    • says

      I think a lot of people lump the whole of the Middle East in together as one place but the different countries vary so much. I found Jordan to be really safe and the people were so friendly and welcoming, I hope too many people don’t get discouraged from visiting.

  3. says

    Useful information. My friends were in Jordan and visited Petra. They just spent less than a day and then moved into Israel. I was told that you need to walk a lot and is not suitable for elderly travellers. Is that true?

  4. says

    I love your budgets, Lucy! You do such a good job of keeping a trip reasonable while not missing out on the important things. I have not been to Petra, but will refer back to this budget guide if the opportunity presents itself.

    • says

      Great – hope you have a fantastic time, loved Jordan! Driving wasn’t too bad – bit chaotic in the cities and would definitely say get a sat nav, especially if you plan to drive through Amman as it’s a bit of a nightmare. Outside the cities the roads were good, though lots of speed bumps all over the place. Recommend doing the King’s Highway down to Petra, it was a slower than the highway but the scenery was amazing and the roads empty half the time. Any more Jordan questions just give me a shout.

  5. ramesh says

    hi,

    hows the driving ? Is it crazy ? Also, when we buy tickets to Petra, is a tour guide included in the price?

    thanks!
    Ramesh.

    • says

      Hi Ramesh, the Petra ticket doesn’t include a guide, but you can arrange one at the Visitor’s Centre. The driving wasn’t too bad outside the cities, Amman itself is incredibly hectic and confusing so a GPS is a good idea, but in the smaller towns there was no problem.

  6. Desiree Mendes says

    Hi Can anyone let me know if there is any public transport from Queen Alia Airport to Petra.
    The hotel is charging us 75 JD which I think is too expensive Thanks

    • says

      Hi Desiree, it’s around a three hour drive from Amman to Petra and around 70 JD does seem to be the normal rate (for the taxi so less if there are more of you). The other option is the bus – the JETT buses (www.jett.com.jo) cost JD 19 return, plus you would need to get a taxi to their offices from the airport.

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