When traveling abroad, personal safety should always be a priority. This doesn’t mean you should become paranoid and forget to enjoy yourself. It just means you need to know about any potential risks beforehand so you can avoid them and get the most out of your trip. Here is what you need to know about staying safe when you travel to Jordan.
Should I Fear Petty Theft?
You shouldn’t fear petty theft and similar crimes any more or less than you do in most American cities. Petty theft is actually very uncommon in Jordan. If you’re an avid traveler, you should know not to leave your luggage or other belongings unattended. However, it’s fine to trust your things in the hands of hotel staff members and other people who are working in a professional capacity.
Stealing from tourists is not taken lightly in Jordan and is NOT a common occurrence. There are harsh punishments for such crimes, which deters most potential thieves. As a result, Jordan has low levels of crime, so tourists should generally feel at ease.
What Potential Scams Should I Know About?
Jordanians are well known for their honesty and integrity. However, no matter where you go, there are always a few bad apples. Without being too suspicious of the Jordanian people, be aware of these potential scams:
- Taxi’s usually all have meters and they charge in the local currency (Jordanian dinar), the country’s main currency. However, if you decide to take a Taxi after midnight, the cab driver has the right to ask you for a lump sum payment and it’s up to you whether to accept or not. This usually happens because there are less taxi’s at night.
- In the city of Petra, there are a few people who will try and sell you coins which they say belonged to the old tribes and ancient cultures who lived there. They will say that they took the coins from old graves and they are worth a lot more than they are selling them for. The coins are worthless and you should not buy them!
Is Terrorism an Issue?
Jordan is actually one of the safest countries in the region, even though it shares a border with Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Palestine. The country’s last major terrorist attack was in 2005. Since then, there have been a few isolated incidents and some foiled plots, but nothing that makes Jordan a likely target for a terrorist attack, so its nothing to worry about. Safety of tourists is also a priority for police enforcement.
It’s important to note that the Jordanian government strengthened its anti-terrorism laws in 2014 in response to the problems in neighboring Syria. The country also works closely with both U.S. and British security forces to help maintain peace and stability. Even further, Jordan declared itself to be free of landmines in 2012, becoming the first Arab country to do so.
In short, the Jordanian government takes security seriously, largely so that the country remains safe and attractive for tourists. They have checkpoints at borders, high levels of security at hotels that host large numbers of tourists, and a police presence at popular tourist sites. Tourist police will go out of their way to ensure that you receive the best possible experience in Jordan. Read this story about an Italian lady who lost her phone.
What Precautions Should I Take?
When visiting Jordan, there are just a few precautions to keep in mind to help ensure you have a safe and fun trip:
- Feel free to haggle when buying items at stores. There is always room for negotiation.
- Only carry as much cash as you’ll need, leaving the rest in your luggage and your passport behind and in a secure place.
- Before getting in a taxi, make sure the meter is on, otherwise you should agree on the fare with the driver.
- Stay away from any political demonstrations or other large public gatherings if you don’t want to be swept up in the commotion. Avoid engaging with any protesters or talking about politics with anyone you didn’t know before you arrived. Protests and demonstrations are most common in Jordan’s university cities and along the Palestinian border.
- Abide by any and all security checkpoints. The police, military, and other security services in Jordan are all trustworthy organizations that will treat tourists with respect.
- As soon as you arrive in Jordan, register with your home country’s embassy or consulate so you can be made aware of any pertinent news or concerns that could affect your visit. It’s always best to be as safe as possible.