We took our children, aged 4, 6, 8 and 10 years, to Jordan for a week, with Families Worldwide. We also took a Granny ( see photos below).
We accept this is not a traditional holiday destination when you have kids, but we all had a fantastic time and would highly recommend it if you would like to do something a bit adventurous and interesting with your family.
I’ve blogged about our holiday in detail here ( Click ‘next’ to read about the next days adventure) so thought I’d just go over a few general points about travelling through Jordan in this post.
1/ If you travel with a tour company, such as FW, you will be accompanied by a member of the Tourist Police. We were told this is a long-term arrangement and has nothing to do with the trouble in Syria at the moment. The Tourist Police are supposed to make sure your travels in Jordan are trouble free; ours didn’t seem to do much. But he was perfectly pleasant and tagged along with our tour, disappearing and appearing periodically on the periphery of the group. You can say no, you don’t want them to accompany you, but it’s considered best to just go with the flow.
2/ Jordan is a country of contrasts and there is always something to look at out of the window. Their approach to driving is fast and furious, and they seemed hoot their horns to say ‘hello, I’m here’ as well as ‘get out of my way’. Crossing roads can be tricky; if a car stops for you, then make sure someone else isn’t going to overtake it at full speed and plough straight into your group. Don’t assume you are safe on a pedestrian crossing either; keep your wits about you and remember they (usually) drive on the right hand side of the road in Jordan.
Jordanians also like to pack as many people as possible into a vehicle. Car seats are unheard of and seat belts are often disregarded. If you hire a taxi or car, you may be expected to squeeze more people into it than you feel comfortable with, so be prepared to have to insist on a bigger vehicle if necessary.
3/ There is a lot of litter in Jordan. Make sure your children know not to pick up anything they see lying on the ground.
4/ Things aren’t cheap in Jordan. Breakfast was provided with our tour, but we had to pay for lunch and dinner, as well as snacks and drinks. Tipping is expected, and although we were told that we should just give whatever we felt like, I had two occasions where I was told I hadn’t tipped enough. DH never had a problem with this, so I wonder if this was a different attitude to women? A 10% tip is a good rule of thumb. We spent around 20-30 GBP per person, per day on average.
5/ Petra is amazing but there is a lot of walking. If you have children, and want to explore a lot of the site, be prepared to hire a donkey or mule for your children to ride.
After the end of a long day’s walking, you can hire a carriage in to take you back from the Treasury to the site entrance. You can squeeze 1 adult and a couple of kids into this, along with the driver, but it’s very bumpy along the Siq and the drivers whip the horses quite badly. Be prepared for any older horse-loving children to be upset.
6/ Food consists of alot of flat bread, chicken, rice and vegetables. The starters are often dips made of yoghurt, hummus and aubergine. None of ours starved but our youngest lived on bread and cheese for about a week. Take some boxes of cereal bars along with you if you have slightly fussy eaters.
Only drink bottled water, and wash all fruits and vegetables before eating. The water is safe to brush you teeth with though.
7/ If you are going to stay in the desert, make sure you have some warm clothes with you. It gets very cold at night. We slept in our normal clothes with a fleece over the top, and socks in our feet.
8/ Finally a word about the loos. All the toilets we used had seats but most of them had signs saying not to throw toilet paper into them. Used paper goes into bins to the side of the loos. Taking your own paper into any toilet is a good idea, but if there is someone handing out paper, you will be expected to leave a small tip. I got caught without money at one point and the attendant wasn’t happy.
So, if you haven’t seen Jordan before children, but wish you had, then don’t let your offspring prevent you from travelling to this country. Jordanians love children and our younger two were very popular with the local school children. The travelling isn’t arduous and it’s not a dangerous or unpleasant country to visit. What are you waiting for?
If you’ve blogged about a holiday you’ve taken during the Easter period, within the UK or abroad, then please link it up here. It doesn’t even have to be this year’s holiday, post a link to last year’s destination as well if you want.
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