Home to Bedouin nomads, the ancient city of Petra, countless camels and a delightful capital city (Amman), Jordan has grown in popularity as a tourist destination, despite regional strife. While there have been travel warnings issued to many countries in the Middle East, Jordan has remained a safe place to travel. But what about travel health?
Recommended and required vaccinations
Jordan does not have any required vaccinations for entry, unless you are traveling from a country where Yellow Fever is endemic, in which case you will have to present a vaccination certificate showing that you have been vaccinated against the disease.
While there are no required vaccinations, we highly recommend that you have the following:
- All routine vaccinations – Don’t know what those are? Read our article on immunizations here.
- Typhoid – We recommend typhoid, because it can be contracted from contaminated food or drink.
- Rabies – If you are planning on being in close proximity with animals during your trip.
For the record, we include both Hepatitis A and B vaccinations in our suite of routine vaccinations.
Cases of malaria are reported infrequently in Jordan, and when they are, they tend to be found in the Jordan Valley. It is highly unlikely that you will need to take malaria prophylactics or be concerned about the disease when traveling to Jordan. That said, you should always have a travel health consultation and talk it through with a doctor.
Jordan has reported confirmed cases of MERS within the country. The number of cases is small when compared to some other countries in the region and there is no indication that travelers should be overly concerned. Right now, the CDC and WHO do not advise travelers to change their plans because of this disease. You are very unlikely to contract this disease in Jordan, but you can read more on MERS in our article here and get the latest info from the CDC here.
Eating and drinking
Jordan is one of the poorest countries in the world when it comes to drinking water resources. The country has experienced water shortages on several occasions. However, the tap water is generally safe to drink, especially in large urban areas. If you are taking just a short trip, your safest bet would be to rely on bottled water. If you are traveling in remote rural areas, you may need to travel with purifying equipment (see our recommendations here).
Jordan is home to a rich culinary scene and no trip would be complete without sampling local delicacies. You shouldn’t shy away from street food, either. But be sure to aim for popular vendors who prepare their food and their workspace in a hygienic manner. Follow the locals, look for long lines and ask for recommendations. Food should be served well cooked with a hot temperature.
Traveling in the desert
Desert air is dry and any moisture evaporates quickly. It’s important to stay hydrated and to avoid the sun as much as possible (see our article on avoiding sunburn here) during the middle hours of the day. You should also plan to layer your clothes – it can get quite cold in the evenings!
There is some flora and fauna in Jordan that can send you to the hospital. Always travel with an experienced local guide, and when it comes to scorpions, spiders and snakes, assume they are poisonous if you are unsure. Also, Jordan has some notorious “cow-kiler” wasps that can produce an allergic reaction in people who are typically not allergic to bees. Which is to say that if you are allergic to bees, your reaction to one of these wasps could be very ugly if you are not traveling with an EpiPen. This is why it’s important to be aware of any known allergies you may have before traveling. Finally, you should be aware of where local medical centers are situated, and if you are traveling in remote areas, make sure that you or your guide is equipped with basic medical supplies.
There have been several reports of travelers having run-ins with bed bugs in Jordan. We have written about how to detect bed bugs in hotel rooms, and if you follow these techniques, you should be able to avoid them (click here to read the article).
While traveling in Jordan is perfectly safe, it’s always a good idea to take out travel insurance. We recommend World Nomads. If you want to know why, please read this article where you can also get a free quote.
If you’ve traveled to Jordan before, please share your experience in the comments below.