As a full time RV’ing family, embracing North America has been a life-changing experience. We’ve traveled to the farthest regions of the east coast into Nova Scotia, Canada, and in a few weeks we will extend our west coast trip up to Edmond, B.C. But as we head into our fifth year of travel, we are looking for something new. Faith travel has always been of great interest to both my husband. And what better place to begin than Jordan, home of the Jordan River, where Jesus was baptised?
In traveling for the past five years, I’ve witnessed an exponential broadening of our children’s education. I find myself yearning for the same in their faith. Jordan has come up on our radar time and time again. We are in the early stages of making this trip happen. It will be our first overseas trip as a family, ever.
The logistics of getting 14 people to another country might seem an impossible feat for most, but I’m here as living proof that if we can plan this trip, anyone can plan this trip!
The fact is that the planning is the easy part, with the internet and the Visit Jordan site making it fun and exciting for all of us.
Regarding travel to Jordan, I can tell you my husband, Dan, was very concerned about the aspect of safety. I mean, the Middle East isn’t exactly a haven for peace, you know? And the U.S. government doesn’t gloss over this fact either. For all information regarding travel abroad, every traveler should frequent the US State Department website.
According to the site: “The State Department’s Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS) administers the Consular Information Program, which informs the public of conditions abroad that may affect their safety and security. Country Specific Information, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings are vital parts of this program.”
From here you are able to enter your country of choice and hit enter. You are then presented with quick facts about vaccinations, visas, passports and more. Scroll down the page and you can read more in-depth information about the country from “Safety Alerts and Warnings” to “Travel and Transportation.”
A tourist visa is required. Jordan issues single-entry visas to U.S. citizens upon arrival at Queen Alia International Airport and most international land border crossings. The 6-month passport validity rule applies here. Certain nationalities require an entry visa to be obtained prior to travel. For more information regarding nationalities outside of the US, check out the Visit Jordan site.
Best Months To Travel
Absolutely one of the most important aspects of travel is going at the right time. For instance, the desert in the middle of summer is extreme. The temperatures throughout Jordan are oppressive. And while prices are their best, many places close due to the heat and lack of tourism.
The shoulder season in Jordan is between September and February. In fact, I read that this is the best season to visit the Dead Sea; however, be aware that extremely cold nights in the desert with rain and/or snow make many activities such as camping undesirable.
Now, according to my research (done entirely online), the best time to visit Jordan is during peak season, obviously. The weather throughout all of Jordan is described as “perfect,” with warm days and cool night. Reservations are recommended and higher prices should be expected.
What to Pack & Wear
As a woman traveling to a Muslim country, I was concerned about balancing being respectful of the culture with being comfortable (read: not too hot). I’ve read quite a bit about the big no-no’s, such as public displays of affection, immodest dress and complete lack of social respect. To my surprise I also learned that a dress code applies to men as well as women.
From what I could ascertain from my extensive research on this subject, and I mean extensive because I didn’t want to be a fool, here are the details …
Long pants. To Jordanians, wearing shorts is equivalent to running around in your underwear. T-shirts are acceptable, but not as acceptable as a button down shirts tucked into your pants. And shirt that doesn’t cover your shoulders is, you guessed it, akin to wearing underwear. And never ever, under any circumstances, walk around topless. Not ever.
Very similar to men. Pants or skirts over leggings. Long loose clothing is best. Cover your shoulders and arms and your legs. Nothing revealing. Never ever show cleavage. Instead, wear high collared shirts because the nape of the neck is considered erotic and ought not be shown. And, ladies, no yoga pants. I also read in several locations that long hair should not hang below the shoulders.
Etiquette and Culture
Suffice it to say, things are very very different in Jordan. It is prudent for visitors to be respectful of the culture and understand Jordanian etiquette. Many blogs are written by travelers who have spent time in Jordan, discussing the cultural norms and offering advice about how your should behave and react in certain situations. I won’t delve into that info here, but it is a necessary – in my opinion, part of travel – to understand and adhere to the norms of that particular country.
What To Do With Kids
We are a traveling family, which means we travel with our kids … everywhere. Wherever we go, they go, and traveling to Jordan is as much for them as it is for us. Hence, I scoured the Visit Jordan website for kid-friendly faith filled adventures. What I found is astounding.
First, kids are beloved in Jordan. Many couples have 4 or 5 and even double digits aren’t unheard of!! And this knowledge made the planning all the more exciting and fun, because, we have 12 and in Jordan, that won’t cause a huge stir. I can’t imagine Jordanians counting the number of kids, or asking us if they are all ours or my favorite, “You know what causes that, right?”
All these highlights below can be researched in depth on the the Visit Jordan website..
- Bethany Beyond the Jordan – Where Jesus was baptized.
- Mount Nebo – Moses is buried here somewhere.
- Tall Mar Elias – Home of the Prophet Elijah
- Amman – David sent Uriah to battle here.
- Umm Qays – Overlooks the Sea of Galilee
- Anjara – Jesus, his disciples and the Virgin Mary stopped here on a pilgrimmage.
- Mukawir – the palace of Herod was located here
- Madaba – Earliest Map of the Holy Land is in the Orthodox Church of St George
- The Dead Sea – Many biblical references, but a must see regardless!
I think I could write a novel on the places we hope to visit, and the things we want to do. In fact, Jordan is quickly becoming an adventure travel destination as well! And the adventure and faith travel actually combine to make what would appear to be an amazing and unforgettable vacation!!
I mean, imagine riding 4-Wheelers and retracing the journey of the Emperor Hadrian from the north to the south of Jordan, taking in biblical cities and legionary fortresses. Or a caravan on camels and retracing the journeys of Lawrence of Arabia in the central highlands and eastern deserts of Jordan, spending a week en route and camping in a different place every night.
I mean, come on! When I read that, it solidified our decision to plan and make this trip come to fruition! So stay tuned as we figure out the financial aspects of this trip of a lifetime!