What to wear in Jordan

The main factors in deciding what to wear is the daytime heat, UV exposure contrasted and cold desert nights in winter. The sandy deserts of Jordan offer additional considerations of Arabic culture, sand and wind. Pack light coloured, light weight fabrics and sun protecting clothing along with a warm change for cold nights. Ideally dress modestly to adhere to the local culture %link% and to shelter yourself from the desert winds.

Protect yourself from the summer sun

The desert climate in Wadi Rum, with over 3400 sun light hours annually, means that protection from the sun is crucial. Travellers to Jordan should pack a sunhat and sunscreen (which is limited and expensive, so bring it from home). Lightweight fabric and breathable clothes are of paramount importance, particularly over the summer months. Light coloured cotton, long sleeve shirts are advisable as are lightweight breathable long pants. Ankle length dresses of lightweight fabrics is another option. Sunglasses are important to block out the glare caused by the midday sun on light coloured landscapes. Sun smart clothing options in combination with a sunhat, sunscreen and shades will greatly improve your experience in Jordan.

Both robust, enclosed shoes and flip flops, slides or sandals are important. Enclosed shoes will protect your feet from the sun as well as the dry climate during your visit to Jordan. They are also beneficial for the long walks required in Petra, Jerash and other locations. Open shoes that are quick to remove will have added importance on you trip to Jordan. As it is customary to remove your shoes inside, it makes life more convenient to quickly slide your foot in or out.

Prepare for cold winter nights

Wadi Rum has sunshine year round and daytime temperatures are comfortable, even in the colder winter months. However, the nights get cold throughout winter, as is common for desert climates. Therefore, it is advisable to bring a warm sweater or jacket. All the traditional tents have warm blankets to ensure guests keep warm at night, and the luxury tents are heavily insulated.

bedouin pours tea by campfire in bedouin camp in wadi rum

Adapt to the local customs

Often the most confronting aspect of planning your travels to the Middle East is deciding what clothing is appropriate. The heat and cultural differences needs to be considered. It is always beneficial to consider local culture during your travels and try to conform to local custom where possible. If you contrast local custom you will not be challenged, but you may draw unwanted attention.

Jordan is a predominantly Islamic nation and Quranic beliefs form a major part of local customs. Likewise, Jordan is a very tolerant nation and is accepting of those of different views. Visitors to Jordan are appreciated and it is understood that they will mostly follow their own customary practices while in Jordan. You will notice that Amman is a particularly liberal Arab city with many women exposing their hair.

Wadi Rum is one of the most conservative part of Jordan and Islam is at the foundation of Bedouin culture. However, so is hospitability, and tourists from all over the world have been coming to Wadi Rum since the 1980s. As you will see when you come to Wadi Rum, there are many tourists from other cultures and the rules for how to dress are relaxed. If you are interested in adhering to our culture, we advise that both men and women cover themselves modestly. There is no need for women to cover their hair. Everyone is welcome to Wadi Rum and we respect our visitors and the way they choose to dress.  

Desert winds and sand

Desert winds and ensuing sandstorms pose problems for those unfamiliar. You may notice that both Bedouin men and women wear traditional clothing that covers their body as well as their hair. It is much easier to dust off a headdress than get all the sand out of your hair. A scarf makes a great souvenir during your trip to Jordan and are very affordable. Be conscious of where you purchase to ensure quality and that colours do not run. Red and white is the traditional colouring in the region but a wide variety of colours are available.

bedouin explains arabic to tourist in Wadi Rum Bedouin camp

What else to pack? – things to consider

Many visitors arriving in winter will have low baggage allowances or only carry-on luggage. Given the need for warm clothing for the nights this is limiting. Dependent on the level of accommodation you plan to reserve, be aware that most Jordanian accommodation options do not provide towels.

If you are travelling in the summer or visiting the Dead Sea, you should pack a swimming costume. Bikinis are acceptable both in Aqaba South Beach and Dead Sea resorts.

The quality of electronic equipment available is poor so ensure you have charging cables for all your devices.