Jordan is an amazing country to explore on a road trip and renting a car is one of the best ways to see as much as possible. From driving the ancient Kings Highway to floating in the Dead Sea, hiking through the ancient city of Petra and off-roading through the red desert of Wadi Rum, renting a car in Jordan allows you to explore all these wonderful sights.
For anyone planning a Jordan itinerary and planning to rent a car, we’ve put together this list of our best tips for renting a car in Jordan to help you make the most of your trip.
Tips for Renting a Car in Jordan
Jordan is one of the easiest and safest places that we’ve driven in. With a solid road system and many beautiful and unique sights to see, it is a perfect country for an epic road trip.
Renting a car in Jordan tip: driving is on the right hand side, similar to the US and most of Europe. Speed and distances are stated in kilometres.
Renting a Car in Jordan
We rented our car in Amman with Hertz through Rentalcars.com. We’ve driven through over 50 countries and find they have a great selection and competitive prices. Their site makes it easy to find and compare competitive rates among all the major car providers. – check prices now!
Why Rent a car in Jordan
We had an amazing trip in Jordan and it was really only possible due to having the flexibility and freedom of our own transport. Our rental car in Jordan allowed us to visit all the best things to do in Jordan: visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, spend time at the dead sea, explore the ancient city of Petra and go off-road in the sprawling desert landscape of Wadi Rum.
Jordan is a very safe country and driving in the country is both fun and easy. Renting a car is relatively inexpensive and gives you the flexibility to explore the city at your own pace.
1 | Booking your rental car
We’re huge fans of road trips and so we have a lot of experience renting cars across the world – we found the entire process of renting a car in Jordan (reservation, pick up and returning the rental car) extremely straightforward. Most visitors will arrive in Jordan through Amman airport so will pick up their car there. There is a good range of rental car providers and prices are very reasonable by international standards – check prices now!
Renting a car in Jordan tip: We arrived in Jordan via the overland crossing from Israel and picked up our rental car in Amman.
2 | Book your rental car early
Jordan can get busy during peak times so it’s worth booking your car well in advance of your trip to ensure availability.
To avoid any issues securing a rental car and to secure a competitive price we recommend booking your rental car well in advance – book your rental car now!
3 | Choosing your rental car
Any type of rental car will work on Jordan’s roads – as there were just two of us with a small amount of luggage we opted for a Ford Focus. A larger car can offer a little more comfort on long drives.
Renting a car in Jordan: You won’t need a 4×4 car in Joran as you aren’t likely to be driving off road. If you plan to visit Wadi Rum you will be driven into the desert on one of the tour trucks.
Regardless of which car you choose, make sure that it has air conditioning. Temperatures in Jordan during the summer months are in the low 30s (90°F) and daily highs can hit 40°C (100°F) so having good working AC will make your time spent in the car a lot more comfortable.
Renting a car in Jordan tip: Our rental car also had cooled seats which made the hot temperatures a lot easier on the road!
4 | Check your fuel level on pick up
It’s always worth checking if your tank is full when you’re picking up your rental. Sometimes, especially if you opt for a hotel rental desk, the tank might not be filled between rentals and you end up with a partially full on pickup. You only need to return your car with the same level as pickup the level of fuel should be marked on your rental car agreement.
5 | Watch out for speed bumps
Jordan has a unique method of speed management in the form of surprise speed bumps! While speedbumps exist in every country, roads in Jordan have random speedbumps along stretches of highway/roads where you really don’t expect them. The bumps are marked, but not very far in advance, which can make spotting these bumps really hard. There is nothing fun about coming upon a speed bump sign on a 60km/h road only to hit the bump immediately after the sign!
Renting a Car in Jordan tip: Spotting speedbumps after dark is really difficult so make sure you drive extremely carefully – hitting the bumps at speed can be very dangerous.
It gets easier to identify the bumps after a while but for the first day or so they can really surprise you!
6 | Rental Car Eligibility and IDPs
To rent a car in Jordan, drivers must have held their licence for at least a year. Some rental companies apply a surcharge for drivers aged under 25. Drivers from outside the country should have an International Drivers Permit (IDP) which they must present alongside their international driving licence in order to be allowed a rental car.
International Drivers Permit (IDP)
An International Drivers Permit (IDP) is a document separate from your driving licence that is simply a translation of your driving licence to a number of different languages. It is stated that it is a legal requirement to have an IDP in order to rent a car in Jordan but it is not always enforced. However, your rental car company may not give you a rental car in Jordan without an IDP so you should ensure that you have one prior to leaving your home country.
Your IDP will also make driving around Jordan easier and quicker as it speeds up the time at checkpoints significantly. At most checkpoints police only checked our IDP and passport and quickly waved us on.
IDP’s are not expensive and we highly recommend having one when renting a car, even if it’s not a legal requirement to have it in a country. You must purchase your IDP in your original driving licence country before you travel as you cannot obtain one after you’ve left on your trip.
Renting a car in Jordan tip: an IDP is not your driving licence, it’s only a translation of your licence into multiple languages. You will also have to have your actual driving licence with you when driving
7 | Driving in Amman
Amman is the city where most visitors will have their first experience of driving in Jordan. Before you visit, it’s worth noting that traffic in Amman can get hectic so getting around the city by car during peak times can take a long time.
We used Amman as a base to explore the north of Jordan and usually left the city early in the morning on day trips when the traffic was light. We did however try to drive around the city to visit the Citadel and encountered some of the worst traffic of our lives!
If you plan to explore the city of Amman we highly recommend leaving your car at the hotel! However, once you plan your drives out of the city you should avoid the worst of the traffic in the city.
Renting a car in Jordan tip: While driving in Amman can be hectic and stressful, the rest of Jordan is a pleasure to drive in and we really enjoyed it.
8 | Speed limits
Speed limits were generally well signposted throughout the country. Speed is typically restricted to 50km/h in towns and cities and most regional roads are 70km/h but you will need to check the speed limits at the time of your visit. We did come across a number of speed checkpoints during our time in Jordan, especially on the regional roads so pay attention to the speed limits – there are on the spot fines for things like speeding and failing to wear a seedbelt.
9 | Police Checkpoints
Driving in Jordan is very safe and you will likely encounter a number of security checkpoints dotted through the country. The checkpoints are very straightforward with the majority being temporary fixtures consisting of a number of police jeeps and some stop signs and maybe a small hut.
We encountered many checkpoints during our road trip through Jordan, especially north of Amman en route to the Syrian border to the site of Umm Qais. We were stopped at multiple checkpoints, where the police were very friendly and simply checked the car, our documents and my driving licence.
The best tip for the checkpoints is to have all your documents to hand in advance. This would include your driving licence, IDP and your passports.
10 | Road Quality in Jordan
We found the roads to be very good quality all over Jordan. Most visitors to Jordan will drive some or all sections of the Desert Highway (Highway 35) that runs from Syria in the north to the Gulf of Aqaba in the south. This is a well-maintained motorway and is the easiest route from Amman to Petra.
The other popular route is the King’s Highway, an ancient trading route that links Amman with Petra. The Kings Highway is a really enjoyable drive and although the route is winding, the road is good quality and we had no issues.
11 | Fuel
Fuel is relatively cheap in Jordan at around 1.10 JOD (approx $1.60) per litre for petrol (gas) and 0.6 JOD (approx. $0.85) for diesel. Fuel prices are fixed so the price should be the same at all fuel stations. The vast majority of cars in Jordan are petrol (gas) so your rental car will take gas. Fuel stations are located frequently throughout the country and staff will fill your tank at the stations.
12 | Navigation
We recommend having some form of GPS navigation for your rental car in Jordan. We used Google maps for most of our navigation and made sure to have an offline GPS app in case our phones didn’t have coverage. We found the GPS invaluable for navigating Amman and it was really useful to keep an eye on drive times to the various sights around the country.
Renting a car in Jordan tip: Cell phone coverage in Jordan can be patchy in places, especially along the Kings Highway, so it’s worth having offline maps. You can download map sections on Google maps in advance or use a free offline map app like OSMAnd (Android / iOS) just in case you lose coverage.
13 | Driving in Wadi Rum
Most visitors to Wadi Rum join a 4×4 tour with a driver rather than take their rental into Wadi Rum.
If you do hire a 4×4 off-road vehicle with the intention of driving in Wadi Rum you will need a lot of experience with off-road driving on the sand to avoid getting stuck. There is also no cellphone signal in Wadi Rum so if you get stuck you’re going to be on your own – you’ll also end up with a recovery and damage bill so caution is needed!
We booked a tour into Wadi Rum and drove to the visitors centre where we parked our rental car for the day.
14 | Driving at night
While it is possible to drive in Jordan at night, we’d advise against it unless neccessary, especially outside of towns and cities. The roads are not well lit and it can be difficult to spot pedestrians, animals and speed bumps. Added to this, some drivers do not use headlights so you need to be extremely cautious.
It’s also very easy to miss your turns on the rural roads after dark as not all signs are easy to spot after dark.
15 | Taking your car into other countries
It is not permitted to take rental cars out of Jordan across borders into other countries and the rental car insurance will be invalid. It’s unlikely you’d get close to any of the borders in a rental due to police checkpoints and border patrol.