Most packing lists I have found are seasonal in nature, and so too can be what to wear in Jordan. What to wear in Jordan in October or November could be quite different than things to pack for Jordan in March or April. While the country is conservative in nature, the climate is vastly different by season.
By reading this guide you will have a good base for things to pack for Jordan and a lot of these items are ideal for traveling in the Middle East as well.
What to Wear In Jordan: How to Dress Modestly regardless of Season
- What to Wear In Jordan: How to Dress Modestly regardless of Season
- Is there a dress code for tourists?
- Shoes to Wear in Jordan
- What to Pack for Petra
- Useful Accessories in Jordan
- More about What to Pack for Jordan
- What to Leave at home
- What’s in my First Aid Kit
- What to Wear in Jordan for Women
- What to Wear in Jordan for Men
- What to Pack for Jordan with kids
- On Packing lightly
- Further Reading on Jordan
Are you wondering how I would suggest you visit Jordan? If time is a constraint, consider one of these tours to get the most of your time in the country.
Is there a dress code for tourists?
The most common question I get asked after “is Jordan safe?” is,
“Should you cover your hair with a scarf?
did you have to cover up?”
The answer is simple, No. Not completely.
You do NOT need to cover your hair, nor should you do it, unless you want to, or are Muslim.
Jordanians are very accepting of other religions and a little under 10% of the population is not Muslim at all, they are Christian and they do not cover their hair. The only place where you should cover your hair, arms and legs is when you are entering an Islamic religious site such as a mosque.
However, modest dress, or more modest compared to our western culture is expected. Bare shoulders should be avoided in most areas as should your chest. Low cut tank tops are great for base layers, but cover up your chest with a button up shirt or scarf.
That is not to say that tourists do not go walking Petra in tank-tops, because they do. Wearing typical western dress you will likely fit in with other tourists, but it does not mean that you are fitting in with the cultural practices of Jordanians.
If you are hiking and do not want to wear typical hiking pants, choose long tights or leggings for hiking. Don’t show up in the latest lululemon shorts (as much as you want to)
Leave your short shorts at home. I do not even bring knee length shorts. Also leave the adorable sundresses. Save those for the beaches in Europe. I wear mostly jeans, linen pants or maxi dresses. Despite the summer heat, you will see the locals in long pants and long sleeves all year round.
Here are my favorite boots for travel! They are super comfortable for all day walking. You can check them out here >>> OTBT Boots
Shoes to Wear in Jordan
If you want to know what to wear in Jordan when visiting, then comfortable shoes is a must, on your packing list. But if you are like me and prefer sandals, comfortable sandals are just fine unless you are doing a lot of hiking. I have walked Petra in sandals just fine, but prefer sturdy hiking boots for long trekking where ankle support and good grip is needed!
My suitcase contains flip flops for the pool or super casual moments, comfortable sandals that can go with jeans or dresses, booties for cooler months that go great with jeans and a decent pair of hiking boots.
Maybe I am not the usual visitor, who would say to make sure you pack a pair of running shoes, but it depends on your travel style.
If fashion is important, you know you will pick the shoes that complement your outfit. Just be warned that COMFORT is super important as you will spend a lot of time on your feet in Jordan.
If you are not planning on multi day trekking, you can leave out the hiking boots and just bring what you are comfortable in. If walking 5 or more kilometres in Petra is not going to work in sandals, then make sure you bring a pair of runners.
What to Pack for Petra
I included this topic specifically because of what I see on Instagram. Women in short dresses and big floppy sun hats. I get it, that might be your style, or even your Instagram brand, but you are in a Muslim country and should respect their style and their culture.
While walking Petra with my kids on our last visit a large tour group passed me including women in mini dresses and heels. YOU ARE IN PETRA, not a nightclub. Sorry for my bluntness, but I do not really care what you are comfortable wearing, you should take your comfort in mind, and also remember that you are visiting another country, and should respect this.
It also depends on the season of your visit. If you are visiting in the winter or early spring, it is quite cold in the shade, and there is even rain and flash floods in Petra every year! Make sure you bring along a jacket in the cooler months.
Now full disclosure, I was one of those teenagers that wore short shorts in places in the world where I probably should not have, but I am writing this to tell you, because now I know better!
Useful Accessories in Jordan
Jordanian hotels have an assortment of plugs and adapters. Some hotels even have international style plugs, but most have the 2 pin or the UK style 220V receptacles. If you have a universal converter you will be fine in any situation. Look for the convertors that also have a USB charging port to make it easier to plug in all of your electronics!
Whether a baseball cap or a wide brimmed sunhat, bring something to keep the sun off your head while in Jordan.
A staple wherever you go, pack your sunglasses
The air is dry in Jordan and I am constantly reaching for my chapstick. I am a fan of the white tube of Blistex, but whatever you love, bring it along with you.
I recommend the lotion style sunscreen sinner skin gets so dry in Jordan for most people, but any sunscreen will do!
Microfibre Travel Towel
If space is a premium in your suitcase of backpack, make sure you grab a microfibre towel. Not only do they dry really fast, they take up much less space in your suitcase. Some camps in Wadi Rum and Petra do not provide towels, so it is a good idea to have one. You will also want it for the Dead Sea and for Aqaba.
For mornings in Wadi Rum, I would much rather spray somedry shampoo into my hair that screw around with what might or might not be a hot shower!
Kleenex or Wipes
Toilet paper is often not provided in washrooms. I have found even hotel lobbys are often devoid of toilet paper. Bring your own small pack of kleenex or wipes for the road stops, places like Petra and Wadi Rum.
Most washrooms will have an attendant who will offer toilet paper to wipe and to dry your hands for a tip of about half a dinar or one dinar. They are responsible for keeping the washroom clean and providing the toilet paper etc. You can easily purchase these in stores in Jordan as well.
Asmall bottle should suffice. My kids each have one of these ones on their packs so they are always accessible, but they have been known to not close the lid properly which means you have an empty bottle at the end of the day. This can also be easily purchased in Jordan.
Bathing Suit for the Dead Sea
Visiting the Dead Sea is likely on your itinerary when you visit Jordan. Make sure you pack a bathing suit. A bikini is fine to wear but bring a bathing suit cover to walk to and from the water and avoid walking around the hotel in a bathing suit. You can read more about Dead Sea Do’s and Don’ts and tips on how to get to the Dead Sea from Amman.
Camera and Extra Battery
I do not go anywhere without my phone and my goPro.
The goPro is small and great for wide angle shots, videos and time lapse. The photo above my kids took with the goPro! I can set it up for sunsets (and still have my phone handy. I have this one). Make sure you bring an extra battery because I find they do not last long or hold a charge very well.
Wrap or Scarf
Ensure you bring a wrap or scarf to keep your shoulders covered or to cover your hair if entering a mosque. Men also like scarves to keep the sun off their neck, to keep warm, or to tie on their head to keep the sun off. You can get a traditional Jordanian style one when you arrive into Jordan and any souvenir shop!
I have two. One is a small one that is good for table tops. It is here.
The other one is for my Canon Camera and I use it for long exposure shots when you cannot have your camera hand held. It is the Manfrotto one.
Grayl Water Bottle
In an effort to cut down my personal use of plastic bottles I now carry a Grayl water bottle with me when I travel.
It means at airports, in hotel rooms and even from fresh water streams I know I am getting clean water for me and my kids and avoiding the dozens of single use plastic bottles I would have used on each trip.
When my family drinks around 5 litres a day, we are going through almost a case of the small water bottles every day. It amounts to hundreds in a trip and none of these are recycled. I have found dozens in streams, in the Dead Sea and on the tops of cliffs in Wadi Rum.
One choice on my part cuts down on those plastic bottles.
You can read more about how to use less plastic on vacation.
If you are creeped out by the prospect of clean blankets, bring yourself a sleep sheet if you are camping in Wadi Rum. I don’t ever pack one, but always wonder when the last time the blankets got washed!
More about What to Pack for Jordan
- Cash is king, bring cash or use the ATMs (readily available – even before customs). Hotels and high end shops have been the only place I have ever used a credit card. You do not have to bring Jordanian Dinars, you can bring USD, CAD, GBP, EUR and they can easily be converted at any of the currency convertors.
- A good camera and battery pack. I recently upgraded to the IphoneX and use it for my walk around camera most of the time. While I also have a Canon 7D and carry two lenses with me, they are getting less and less use with my iPhone always readily available. I also have a go pro for hiking and snorkelling. Don’t make the mistake I did and check your external battery in your suitcase or they will take it away.
- any medications, make sure they are in their original package.
What to Leave at home
- Your drone. While insanely popular, I have the DJI Spark, it is illegal to bring a drone into Jordan and your luggage is x-rayed at customs before you exit the airport
- short dresses and short shorts. As a muslim country, modest dress is encouraged. You will not see anyone except a few tourists who choose to ignore the local custom wearing short dresses and shorts and tank tops
- coffee and tea. Are you like me and travel with a few packs of instant coffee or tea bags, you can likely leave them at home. Instant coffee (mostly nescafe) is in most hotel rooms (and if not in your room, they will have it at breakfast) as well as tea options. If your hotel has a kettle, you will have coffee and tea. On the highway and during your day, there are places to get tea and coffee everywhere.
- cigarettes. If you are a smoker, cigarettes are likely cheaper in Jordan than what you are used to paying. They are about 2JD which is about USD 3 a pack. There are lots of brands available, but if you really want your own brand, consider bringing them.
- COMING FROM ISRAEL! YOU NEED TO READ THIS! I recently came across a situation where a tourist was coming into Jordan with a large Menorah that they had purchased as a souvenir from Israel. Although Jordan and Israel have signed a peace deal, there is still much unrest between most Middle Eastern nations and Israel, and Jewish religious symbols as well as the Star of David or Israeli Flags are not allowed to be imported into Jordan (even if you are a tourist leaving the country with them). In this tourist’s case, she had to go BACK to Israel to dispose of the menorah as the Jordanian Tourist Police would not even take it into their custody as destroying religious artifacts is forbidden. Although the tourist complied, it caused hours of delays as leaving Israel and crossing the border into Jordan can be a hassle (and a long distance covered by a bus).
What’s in my First Aid Kit
It does not matter where I am in the world, I always pack Imodium. You never know when you are going to need it and generally, getting to a store or chemist to find it, is not what I want to be doing!
Advil and Tylenol are always in my arsenal as well. Just a few if I need them. I always have a bottle of Children’s Tylenolas well for my kids.
What to Wear in Jordan for Women
When I am packing my suitcase for Jordan I always include:
- a maxi dress
- button up tunic
- loose fitting linen pants
- a light cardigan
- a couple of base layer tanks
- two button up shirts
- a couple t shirts
- 2 pairs of jeans
- packable down jacket for December to April
- Bathing suit for floating at the Dead Sea (and the hotel pools). Also bring a coverup as walking through a hotel in a bathing suit is taboo
- Ensure you bring a diva cup or tampons (they are often hard to find, even in Amman, unless you are in a large store, and even then, there is one option). Outside of Amman, you will be able to find pads at any pharmacy, but not likely tampons.
What to Wear in Jordan for Men
Most men in Jordan will rarely wear shorts unless they are vacationing at the beach. However, tourists can get away with wearing shorts in the hot months and while hiking. Longer shorts are more appropriate with t-shirts. Otherwise jeans are appropriate as well as other pants. Breathable base layers are great for hiking, and can be washed a dried in a hotel room by morning. SAXX are great for hiking, and once you have tried them, you might not want to even wear anything else again.
If I am visiting Jordan between November to April I also bring a packable down jacket (It gets really cold in the desert and also in Amman) and a warm scarf.
What to Pack for Jordan with kids
As simple as it sounds, a simple kitchen sink plug is one of my travel essentials for Jordan with children. The reason? Jordan’s water is a scarce resource. With that in mind, most hotels do not have a plug for the bathtub. Especially after visiting Petra, a nice hot bath would be nice, but it is super wasteful.
So why pack a plug?
Well, kids get dirty! My kids get dirty. They are pretty anti-shower most of the time, but I can throw them in the bath with a few inches of water and get them clean much quicker and without a fight!
Use a facecloth? Yes, I have tried stuffing a facecloth in the drain, but it is not nearly as effective. You will also find that most hotels do not have facecloths (do yourself a favour and pack a quick drying or thinner one in your toiletries) Without packing everything and the kitchen sink, a cheap plug is one will thank me for.
- packable down jacket (for visiting between November and April)
- Tylenol (because I do not want to be looking for a pharmacist if my kid has a fever in the middle of the night.
- binoculars(these are super fun and give them a toy as well as make looking at ancient history more fun!)
- hat and sunglasses
On Packing lightly
Many travel “experts” boast about being carry-on only, or traveling light.
I am not one of them.
I like options.
When I travel with my kids, my space in the suitcase gets cut down a little bit, but I do not hesitate to check another bag (the luxury of having kids I guess is more suitcases!) Packing light in convenient if you are carrying your luggage around all the time, but honestly, do not feel pressured to do it.
Every hotel has porters to carry your luggage if you need help and the airport has free luggage carts if you have more suitcases than hands! Most of your trips will be day trips and your luggage will be in your hotel room, or on a bus if you are on a tour!
If you have any questions about what to pack for Jordan or what to wear in Jordan depending on the season, let me know!
I’ve packed now half a dozen times and am getting pretty good at not forgetting anything!
Further Reading on Jordan
If you are planning a trip to Jordan, these articles on my website will help you out
The best itinerary for 5 Days in Jordan
How to find the best instagram spots in Jordan
Tips for Driving in Jordan
How to get from Amman to Petra by Bus
If you are curious about getting from A to B and want to see Petra without it feeling like a big group tour, check out these tours.
Lindsay is the founder and editor of Carpe Diem OUR Way. She is passionate about sharing her experiences of traveling with children on adventurous family holidays around the world! She resides in the suburbs of Vancouver when not jet setting abroad.