Petra, Jordan on a Budget: 5 Money-Saving Tips [2023 UPDATE]
It's no wonder the Kingdom of Jordan is becoming so popular among tourists nowadays: With the fabled lost city of Petra, Jeep safaris at the otherworldly scenery of Wadi Rum, and relaxing in the legendary Dead Sea, it seems Jordan has something for every taste.
However, Jordan is not the cheapest place to take a break. But don't worry: there are ways to make your buck go further in Jordan, taking advantage of a few of our tips right here.
The Petra Treasury - the gem of the lost city, all carved into the red cliff
1. Get the Jordan Pass
If you want to save time, hassle and money, you absolutely must buy the Jordan Pass. There are three categories (Wanderer, Explorer and Expert) which cost between 70-80 Jordanian dinars.
All of them give you free entry to over 40 different attractions (including Wadi Rum, Jerrash and various museums and archaeological sites), the ability to download digital guides and the cost of your entry ticket to Petra (for one, two or three days).
The Martian landscape of Wadi Rum
Even better, if you buy the pass before you arrive, and stay more than three nights in the country, the cost of your Jordanian visa will be waived.
You can buy the Jordan Pass online, and then just show it at any attraction, on your smartphone. It’s a no-brainer!
2. Buy Food at Street Markets to eat on the go
Jordan isn't an expensive destination, but eating at restaurants in Jordan can actually be quite costly; be smart and head towards local markets, where there are all kinds of street food to be purchased for a song.
Whether you’re in the mood for falafel, hummus, pita with meat or fresh vegetables, if you have a backpack (or cooler) you can treat your tastebuds without burning a hole in your pocket. And since alcohol is not always cheap in Jordan (and occasionally - for instance Ramadan - impossible to buy), swap beer for water or juices (you’ll cut down on calories too).
If you’re desperate, you’ll certainly be able to find imported snacks but they are costly - so why not just eat the way locals do? Fruit, for instance, makes for a great dessert and whatever you do, don’t forget to try some Medjool dates - they’re a local speciality and with their sweet and caramel-like taste, they’re not known as the ‘King of Fruits’ for nothing.
The food is just great and the portions are huge
3. Don't skip Public Transport
Too bad so many tourists prefer taxis or hire a private driver which can really be quite costly; public transportation in Jordan is pretty great.
It’s easy and economical to travel to Jordan from Israel (particularly via the southern border crossing on the Red Sea) and once you’ve arrived in Aqaba or Amman you’ll find it easy to take advantage of buses and sheruts (yellow vans, which accommodate 10 people and leave for the destination only once they are full). If you want to learn more about transportation, check out our full guide - how to get from Petra to Wadi Rum.
A shuttle in the Petra Archeological Park
4. Take a Day Trip to the Dead Sea rather than Staying Overnight
Hotels on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea are expensive - there is no getting around this difficult fact - so rather than break the bank, why not take a day trip to the Dead Sea from Amman, using public transport?
It’s less than 60km (40 miles) and recently a JETT bus service has started up, which leaves the capital at 08:30. The most inexpensive of the public beaches is ‘Amman’ and costs 12 dinars to enter, but once inside you’ll have not just the use of the beach but also a pool, changing rooms and showers.
The Dead Sea
5. Book a tour to Petra and Wadi Rum
Finally, Petra and Wadi Rum are arguably the country’s two most stunning attractions. If you’ve bought the Jordan pass before arriving, then your entry fee will be waived but you’ll still have to find accommodation and restaurants in Petra can be a bit pricey (after all, it’s in the desert, so you’re a captive audience).
To be honest, whilst it’s definitely possible to travel to Petra and Wadi Rum on a budget, it’s still going to be a bit of a splurge because they are both in-demand attractions. The alternative, which isn’t a bad idea, is to take a Petra Tour.
The Petra Treasury at night
By the time you’ve crunched numbers, you may well find that it won’t be that much more expensive than traveling independently. You will save time and hassle when crossing the border if you’re with a group, and tour companies always make good deals with local guides, hotels/glamping sites, and even restaurants.
You’ll also have the services of a guide at all times, and not only are they knowledgeable but they’re always informed about local events, not to mention being on hand if something goes wrong. This kind of help - from advising you on restaurants to helping you file a report if you’ve lost your passport - can be truly priceless. And this way you'll travel worry-free, knowing you won't miss one bit of this awesome destination.
Here you'll find affordable Petra and Wadi Rum Tours, proven to cover any taste and avoid every possible hassle.