Jordan is a country that is unfortunately a victim of its geography. The country is perfectly safe and it feels like the citizens understand that their tourism is impacted by the issues in the region. Because of this, I don’t think I’ve ever met a more hospitable country. People enjoy tourists, want to cater to tourists, and the government takes an interest in keeping tourists safe and engaged.
Getting here is simple enough and many will be flying into the capital Amman. If there is one MUST before you arrive, it’s getting the Jordan Pass. The cost of the pass is tied to the number of days you plan to visit Petra. My advice would be that if you think there might be a possibility of going on separate days, just pay for the Jordan Pass for the requisite number of days. The pass not only covers your visa into the country but also covers your entrance fee to Petra along with a multitude of other sites.
A quick example is entry to Petra for 1 days is 50 JD. The Jordan Pass for 1 day entry to Petra is 70 JD. And the Jordan Pass covers the 40 JD visa cost. Unless you plan to go to Jordan and not visit any of the sites, it doesn’t make any sense not to get a Jordan Pass.
Getting around can be done with a taxi but if you plan to visit many of the sites, you’ll either want to rent a car or join a tour group. Driving in the countryside of Jordan is simple enough but driving through the city can be an adventure. As long as you have Google maps and don’t mind being led down the odd street, you’ll be fine.
One thing to note is that the main highways splits Jordan in two paths. One goes along the Dead Sea and goes south towards Petra and Aqaba. The other goes down the center of the country and is a pretty straight forward highway.
Also, although the country isn’t very large, it takes a fair amount of time to get from one site to another. I realized I was doing a lot of backtracking on the roads to get back to the main highway but that was also the fastest route. In my experience, Google maps was pretty spot on when it came to the time estimate.
My advice would be to figure out what kind of trip you’d like to have. It boils down to either a relaxing trip along the Dead Sea or a more historical/biblical trip at different sites. For a road trip, you may want to create a home base in Amman for a few days to visit the sites in the north at first then work your way down toward Petra, Wadi Rum, and Aqaba. I was more inclined on doing a historical trip so I had to skip the Dead Sea altogether.
Speaking of costs, if you’re going to eat at mainly touristy spots, you’ll pay a premium for that luxury. However, if you’re willing to just go out and find smaller, locals owned eateries, I thought it was relatively priced. A meal with half a chicken, rice, bread, and sides was $3.5JD while a shawarma plate along with sides was $2.25JD.
Regardless of where your interests lie, you should really make a trip to Jordan. I’m not sure where if you’ll find a more welcoming country.