Jordanian dinar (JD)
Budget: Less than JD40
- Shared room in budget guesthouse: JD10–40
- Street fare and local markets: under JD5
- Public transport: JD5
- Double room in midrange hotel: JD40–90
- Eating in local restaurants: JD5–10
- Car hire: JD50
- Entry costs/unguided activities: JD10
Top end: More than JD120
- Double room in five-star hotel: from JD90
- Buffet lunch/dinner: from JD15
- 4WD car hire: JD120
- Guided activities: JD50
Bargaining is expected in Jordan but the margin of movement in terms of the starting and final price is not that great. In fact, haggling over small change is more about social exchange than getting a discount. There are helpful guidelines to get a good deal, but in summary, fix on a maximum price the object is worth to you and if the seller matches it, that's a good price.
ATMs are available throughout the country and credit cards are widely used.
It is possible to travel in Jordan almost entirely on plastic. ATMs giving cash advances abound in all but the smaller towns. There are no local charges on credit card cash advances, but check the maximum daily withdrawal amount with your card provider. All banks have large signs (in English) indicating which credit cards they accept.
Visa is the most widely accepted card at ATMs, followed by MasterCard. Other cards, such as Cirrus and Plus, are also accepted by many ATMs.
It’s easy to change money in Jordan. Most major currencies are accepted in cash. US dollars, UK pounds and euros are easier to change than Australian or New Zealand dollars.
There are no restrictions on bringing dinars into Jordan. It’s possible to change dinars back into some foreign currencies in Jordan.
Lebanese, Egyptian and Israeli currency can all be changed in Amman. Egyptian and Israeli currency are also easily changed in Aqaba. Banks and moneychangers charge about the same for exchanging cash, but large hotels charge more. There are small branches of major banks at the borders and airports.
Most major credit cards are accepted at top-end hotels and restaurants, travel agencies, larger souvenir shops and bookshops. Commissions of up to 5% may be added to the bill, so it may be better to get a cash advance and pay with the paper stuff. Make a note of the emergency numbers on the back of your credit cards in case you lose them.
Known as the ‘jay-dee’ among hip young locals, the currency in Jordan is the dinar (JD) and it is made up of 1000 fils. You'll often hear the terms piastre or qirsh: this refers to 10 fils (so 1 dinar equals 100 piastres). Often when a price is quoted the unit will be omitted, so if you’re told that something is 25, it’s a matter of working out whether it’s 25 fils, 25 piastres or 25 dinars! Although it sounds confusing, it's usually obvious given the context, and most Jordanians wouldn’t dream of ripping off a foreigner, with the possible exception of the occasional taxi driver.
Coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 piastres (with the latter two marked as being quarter- and half-dinar respectively). Notes come in denominations of JD1, 5, 10, 20 and 50. Try to change larger notes as often as possible – when paying for petrol, for example, or for your hotel bill – as it can be hard to pay with large notes in small establishments.
There are duty-free shops at Queen Alia International Airport and next to the Century Park Hotel in Amman, plus small outlets at the border crossings with Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Most upmarket shops offer tax rebates.
|Israel & Palestinian Territories||1NIS||JD0.20|
For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.
Inflation & Travel Costs
If there is one bone of contention between our readers and those involved with tourism in Jordan, it is the issue of prices. Many travellers expect to find prices unchanged and become suspicious of hotel owners and taxi drivers who charge more than expected. By the same token, many service providers in Jordan feel frustrated when travellers insist on prices that may be unrealistic or were quoted in a guidebook several years earlier.
In most instances, prices for accommodation, food and transport in Jordan have remained stable for the past three years, but that is largely the result of a deliberate policy to save the effects of inflation impinging on an already weakened tourism trade. This is unlikely to remain the case for the foreseeable future. Instability among neighbouring countries and continued immigration have all contributed to high inflation. For some, a slump in tourism because of regional tension means there is no option but to put prices up. For others, it means being forced to offer unrealistic discounts.
While every effort is made to ensure that our published prices for entrance fees, tours, accommodation, restaurants, food items and private transport is accurate at the time of writing, treat them only as a guide to pricing, not a definitive statement of costs.
There is one piece of good news for those trying to estimate the cost of their trip to Jordan. Public bus prices, which are heavily subsidised by the government, have only minimally increased over the past few years, and there is no suggestion of an imminent price hike in this sector.
If you are a collector of notes and coins, you may be interested in old Iraqi money, bearing the portrait of Saddam Hussein, for sale on street corners in downtown Amman. Even if they’re fake, they’re good as a conversational gambit with the Iraqi refugees who are selling them.
Tipping is not routine in Jordan. To avoid counter-productive inflation, following local custom is recommended.
- Top-end restaurants Around 10% is expected (often included in the bill).
- Cafes and coffee shops Round up the bill to the nearest 500 fils.
- Taxis In Amman, 10% is the norm. Elsewhere, return the loose change.
- Petrol attendants Return loose change.
- Hotels Around JD1 per bag. No obligation for cleaning staff.
- Guides Around 10% per person.