Pre-paid SIM cards for travelers are very easy to obtain in Jordan. Unlike traditional contracts, most phone users in Jordan all use monthly plans and are topping up as needed rather than the traditional cell phone contracts.
If you are arriving in Jordan by air, you are probably arriving at Queen Alia International Airport and you can get a SIM card before you even leave the airport and travel to Amman or wherever your first destination is in Jordan. If you have a newer phone you now have an even easier option! You can get a Jordan e-sim before you even get to Jordan (or even while you are still at the airport!)
How to get an E-Sim for Jordan
E-sim cards have exploded in popularity. They are affordable, short term, and can be set up in just 5 minutes! They do not require going to a phone store and spending time getting a sim card registered. You can buy them online in just a few clicks, before you even get to your destination!
If you have an e-sim-compatible phone, consider this one. It is less than $10 to get a data package for your time in Jordan! It can be topped up in seconds from your phone and is easy to understand! I grab this so I know I have data in my rental car whenever I need it!
Where to Buy A Local Sim Card in Jordan
Which Prepaid Sim card to Buy in Jordan
There are three main carriers: Zain, Orange and Umniah. Zain is the most popular and the easiest to top up. I have bought Zain each time I have landed in Jordan and they have been great. They have plans that cater to visitors and last up to a month.
Where to Buy a Sim Card at Queen Alia International Airport?
It is very easy to obtain a sim card when you arrive at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman. On the arrivals level, before you go outside there are three phone shops and you can purchase either Zain, Orange or Umniah. Check it out in the photo below.
This is a great place to get a sim card as the agent speak English and are used to dealing with Tourists. If your flight arrives late at night (as many international flights do), do not worry, these shops are open 24/7 according to the Amman Airport website.
If you walk into a cell phone shop in one of the local neighborhoods in Amman, you might have staff that are not used to dealing with tourists!
Where to Buy a Sim Card in Amman?
There are phone shops ALL over Amman, as the city’s 4 million residents rely on them for their monthly top-ups. Since Amman is largely a cash-based city, most cell phone users are still physically going into their local shop with cash to buy their monthly minutes and data.
The 7th Circle is a popular place and there are dozens of shops, maybe even 100! But ask in your hotel and there will probably be one close by!
What do you Need to Buy a Local Sim Card in Jordan?
Buying a prepaid sim card is easy. All you need is an unlocked phone and your passport.
How Much do Pre Paid SIM Cards cost in Jordan?
It is very inexpensive to use a cell phone in Jordan compared to many western countries. The biggest expense (and the drawback of being a visitor, is buying the SIM itself). It was JD10 (about USD 14) for the SIM card and a plan with lots of talk, text and data ranges from JD5 to JD8 (USD 8-11).
With Zain, you can add 10 GB for JD1 to a lot of plans (they send you an offer after you activate, so you do not need to worry about going over, but you need someone who can read Arabic to help you read the message – any hotel front desk will help you!).
Comparing your Home Plan to A Pre Paid Sim in Jordan.
If you budget USD20 for your sim card in Jordan, you can easily compare what it will cost to roam with your local carrier. Some American carriers have Zero roaming fees so if you have one of those you are in luck. Some carriers charge upwards of $12 a day depending on where you live to roam on international networks.
More Jordan Travel Resources
In order to help make your visit to Jordan as memorable as possible, I have created a number of resources from planning guides to local eats.
If you have just begun the planning, check out 101 Things to do in Jordan to give you some inspiration on the places you want to make sure you have time to see.
Rental Cars are very popular in Jordan, get a quote on renting a car before you arrive. If you are working on a self-drive itinerary or plan to see the country independently, there is a guide on getting around in Jordan. If you get your SIM card at the airport, you will have google maps which are quite good, and should not have problems getting around! You should also review this post about tips for renting a car in Jordan.
If you are thinking of booking a tour, or wondering how much hassle a self drive itinerary can be, check out this post I have on the best Jordan tours to book.
For your time in Amman, check out top things to do in Amman and where to eat.
For your time in Petra, check out our guide to Petra and what to eat in Wadi Musa
5 Things to Bring with You to Jordan
I have always been a guide book person and physically having that book in your hand as you plan your day, in addition to blogs like this one, can help immensely. Pick up a Lonely Planet Guide to Jordan (or the kindle version) before your trip to Jordan.
Whether you want to keep the sun off your head or want to show a little modesty, a scarf goes a long way in Jordan any time of the year. You can bring one with you or pick up one when you arrive, but don’t leave your hotel in the morning without it! It can serve as a hat to keep the sun off your head and neck in the summer and can add some warmth in winder and can offer modesty to cover shoulders for women.
A Grayl Water Bottle is something I recommend for every traveller, not just those going to the Middle East. Some people say the water is safe to drink from the tap, others say it is not; it is not something I am going to chance. And Jordan has a HUGE garbage problem. The streets, the forests and even the desert are littered with plastic bottles.
If you consider drinking at least 1-2 big water bottles a day while you are there, think of how much plastic that creates when every visitor and the population’s 9 million people do the same. With a Grayl, you can filter any tap water (or actually any water source) and have clean drinking water in seconds. Since most people travel with water bottles already, consider one like this with a filter so that you are not just pouring from big water bottles to small. It might sound expensive, but when you compare it to spending a few dollars per day on water while you travel (and do not forget how expensive the water is inside airports), you will pay for this very quickly.
Kleenex or Wipes are another thing to put on your list. Jordan’s public washrooms (and even restraint or hotel lobby washrooms can often be unstocked. Unless you are good with a bidet sprayer, bring yourself some kleenex or wipes just in case! You will find that most washrooms in tourist sites and rest stops have an attendant that will give you toilet paper and paper towel for a small tip. Usually half a dinar is fine.
In Jordan, the plumbing is not set up to handle toilet paper. Every bathroom (even hotels) you should use the garbage can beside the toilet for your toilet paper and any sanitary products.
Motion Sickness Pills might be needed if you are prone to motion sickness and plan on traveling by bus or in the back of the car. There are many windy, hilly and bumpy roads in Jordan. Sea Bands might work for you if you are prone to motion sickness.
Travel Insurance for Jordan
There are a few other things to think about when it comes to travel. The first thing is travel insurance. Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident things do go wrong when people travel everyday.
I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am ever in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.