Renting a car in Jordan is probably the most popular way to visit the country. It offers flexibility, freedom and is one of the most efficient ways to see Jordan independently. Whether it is the King’s Highway, Petra, Jordan’s red sand desert Wadi Rum or the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea having a car makes exploring all of these places easy! There are several options when it comes to car rental in Jordan. Often, it makes the most sense to pick it up at the airport on arrival.
For anyone planning a Jordan itinerary and planning to rent a car, I have put together this guide with my best tips for renting a car in Jordan to ensure you are able to make the most of your trip.
Renting a Car in Jordan
How to choose the car rental company
There are several car rental compies that serve Amman, Amman Airport, Aqaba as well as the border crossings. I always suggest starting with an aggregator like this one where you can see multiple brands as well as local rental companies. Typically prices are quite stable for car rentals, you will not find huge differences between rental companies, prices will rise during local holidays, and they will fall in the low season (typically winter).
Tips for Driving your rental car in Jordan
Jordan felt very safe and easy to drive in, but common rules of the road are often ignored in Jordan. While so ridiculous it is often comical, to avoid frustration, always drive defensively and expect the unexpected.
Jordan has a developed highway system (most of it going North to South) and you will find huge stretches of empty roads. There are paved roads to all of the top things to do in Jordan, making seeing it by car very straightforward. There is parking everywhere, except in Amman it can be very crowded, with cars parked bumper to bumper on the sides of the roads. There are some private parking lots downtown (if you need one, type Bekdash – its a popular Syrian ice cream shop – into your Google Maps or GPS and there is a private paid lot right next to it!
Looking for a Cheap Car Rental in Jordan
I know, spending money on a rental car is a pain, and everyone wants to spend as little as possible. When it comes to renting a cheap car in Jordan they are all just about the same, you may save $5 per day max, there is not really much difference from company to company. Cheap car rentals in Amman are often from smaller dealers but at the same time, the larger companies often offer the same prices.
Book well in Advance
There are a lot of public holidays in Jordan and car rental prices skyrocket as inventory plummets. To make your trip as stress-free as possible, book your car rental as soon as you set your dates in Jordan! The pickup process is as straightforward as renting a car anywhere in the world.
Choosing your Rental Car
Cars in Jordan are average sized. They are not tiny European style. A small car is fine, mid-size will give passengers in the back a little more room. You do not need to rent a 4×4. If you plan on going to Jordan in the winter and are worried about road conditions, pretty much everything shuts down with snow, so having a larger vehicle or 4×4 is not really much help, as they will not have snow tires anyways.
Renting a Van in Jordan
Are you more than 4 people? While 5 can fit in most cars, anything large than that will need a van, and this is when the price really increases. Check out which companies have vans (note that inventory can be very limited) and book them well in advance of your visit.
Check the Fuel Level
It is always a good idea to take photos of the outside of the car (a video is often great as well). Rental cars can have marks from rocks, luggage marks near the trunk and dings in the door etc. Also take a photo of the fuel gauge so you remember how much you need to have in the car when you return it.
Fuel stations are Full Service
Fuel stations in Jordan all have attendants. Typically it is best to ask for a set amount, say “twenty-dinars” rather than “full.” Always make sure they set the pump to 0.00 and check that you received the full amount before you pull away.
They will also likley ask you which octane level you want (most cars are gasoline) and will typically say it in arabic. I am sure they are used to the confused faces of tourists, but they typically give you the lowest octane unless you ask otherwise.
Watch for Speed Bumps and Check Stops
Speed bumps come up before you enter a town. Most have signs but a few do not. Watch for them when you come close to a town, especially at night.
The other thing to watch for is check stops. Typically tourist vehicles breeze through (they can tell a rental car based on the license plate color) and I have never been given a second look. They are the most prolific when entering the Dead Sea area but are also set up on other highways in Jordan. If you do get stopped, have your passport ready and you will likely be sent through with a wave!
Traffic in Amman can be frustrating
Driving in Amman is very busy. It can take 30 minutes to go a few kilometers in rush hour. Avoid rush hour times if you can. Once outside of Amman, driving in Jordan is quite nice.
Things to pack for your car rental in Jordan
- Car charger for your phone
- Car mount for your phone
- Download music onto your phone and pack an auxiliary cable
- Download google maps onto your phone or other map software
- Get a sim card or e-sim to make navigation and communication easier
Rent a Car in Jordan FAQ
Renting a car and traveling independently is one of the most popular ways to explore Jordan on your own. Driving in Amman is very hectic and busy, but from a safety standpoint, it is safe to rent a car. It is also safe to drive in Jordan. Some things to watch out for are speed bumps on the highway when you approach towns, potholes, construction, and trucks driving in the passing lanes. Always drive defensively as Jordanians are known to change multiple lanes very quickly to get where they are going.
In Jordan, cars drive on the right.
It depends on the car rental company. Check their terms online carefully.
Well technically, YES, but I highly suggest you park at the visitors center and take a tour in the back of a 4×4. There are a lot of campsites that you can drive into and you will even see tour busses pulling into them, but when you get closer, you can see that there has been concrete poured on a makeshift road so that the heavy busses will not sink in the sand. If you want to take a car into the desert (beyond driving to a camp), there is a per-day fee (per vehicle).
Lindsay fell in love with Jordan when she first visited in 2016. She now goes back every year to explore more of this special place. Lindsay is also the owner of Amman Food Tours, a social enterprise that is women-owned and hires local female guides. This project provides meaningful employment for women in Amman.