Travelling with children
Children are universally loved in Jordan, and travelling with your family is likely to provoke spontaneous acts of kindness and hospitality from the locals.
Children are central to Jordanian society – many couples have four or five, and double figures isn’t uncommon. Middle-class extended families tend to take pleasure in spoiling kids rotten, allowing them to stay up late and play endlessly, but as a counterpoint, kids from low-income families can be seen out on the streets at all hours selling cigarettes. The streets are quite safe and even very young children walk to school unaccompanied.
Only the cheapest hotels will bar children; most will positively welcome them (with deals on extra beds or adjoining rooms), as will all restaurants, although discounts may have to be negotiated. There are a few precautions to bear in mind. Foremost is the heat: kids’ sensitive skin should be protected from the sun as much as possible, both in terms of clothing (brimmed hats and long sleeves are essential) and gallons of sunblock. Heatstroke and dehydration can work much faster on children than on adults. Sunglasses with full UV protection are vital to protect sensitive eyes. Kids are also more vulnerable than adults to stomach upsets: you should definitely carry rehydration salts in case of diarrhoea. Other things to watch out for include the crazy traffic (especially for British kids, who’ll be used to cars driving on the other side of the road), stray animals that may be disease carriers, and jellyfish and poisonous corals off Aqaba’s beaches.
Children will love riding camels in Wadi Rum, and even Petra’s threadbare donkeys may hold an appeal. Most of the archeological sites will probably be too rarefied to be of more than passing interest (aside, possibly, from exploring towers and underground passages at Karak, Shobak or Ajloun castles); spotting vultures, ibex and blue lizards at Dana or Mujib may be a better bet, and the glass-bottomed boats at Aqaba are perennial favourites. Children born and brought up in urban environments will probably never have experienced anything like the vastness and silence of the open desert, and you may find they’re transfixed by the emptiness of Wadi Rum or the eastern Badia.
Everything you need to know before you set off.
Travel offers; book through Rough Guides
Planning your trip to Jordan
Everything you need to plan where to go and what to do.
The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.
12 of the most beautiful places in the Middle East
The Middle East is a paradox. Located at the cultural crossroads between east and west, the region nowadays tends to make headlines for all the wrong reasons, b…16 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
Middle Eastern majesty: 17 beautiful pictures of Jordan
We chose Jordan as one of the top destinations to visit in 2016, and after looking at these stunning photographs from Picfair's best photographers, you'll und…31 Oct 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Twenty places to make you feel insignificant
French novelist Gustave Flaubert once said: “Travelling makes one modest – you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world”. With this in mind, here a…27 Aug 2014 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article