Traveling

Travel within Jordan

jordan-bus-nappersAny of the following guide books may be helpful to you:

  • The Rough Guide to Jordan
  • Lonely Planet Jordan
  • Insight Guide Jordan

Many students travel within Jordan on the weekends.  There are a number of cultural sites to visit as well as great outdoor opportunities.  Jordan is relatively small, so traveling within the country is generally easy to do by way of a good in-country bus system.

Transportation in Amman

When out and about in Amman, we recommend students travel in pairs or small groups for safety, as they would at home (particularly at night). Women should be aware that sexual harassment can be an issue on all forms of transportation; more information about dealing with harassment will be discussed in orientation.

Buses: The cheapest way to travel in Amman is via public bus. There are numerous buses and mini-buses (“coaster”) that run along Shari’ Aljaami’a (University Street) and connect the area around the university with other parts of Amman. At first, buses can be a bit confusing as they don’t follow a fixed timetable or have designated stops. The more you use them, the easier it will be to recognize where to get on and off the bus.

Taxis: The most convenient way to travel through Amman is via taxi. The main type of taxi is a yellow taxi which has the word Taxi on the top of its roof. Prices for rides to the university range between 1 and 3 JD, depending on where you live. Most drivers of private taxis use the meter automatically, but gently remind them when they don’t. Men riding alone will typically ride next to the driver, while women riding alone should sit in the back seat. Rates are higher late at night than during the day.  Recently, taxi companies such as Careem and Uber were officially permitted. There are a number of smartphone apps available so you don’t need to wait for a taxi to pass by (in peak hours it can take a long time before you find one). Taxis called by an app are a bit more expensive than the ones you hail on the street.

Service (سِرفيس ): The white taxis in Amman that have a panel that lights up in Arabic writing on their roof, are called  ‘service taxis.’ These are shared taxis that carry up to four passengers at a time. Service taxis have fixed routes and stop at established points, and are typically quite a bit cheaper than yellow taxis. These are more common in less affluent parts of the city.

Travel outside the Host Country

If you plan to travel to other countries, be advised that regulations vary and may change at very short notice.  In some cases a visa and inoculations may be required.  Refer to the U.S. State Department consular information website for specific travel regulations to other countries or consult a travel agent for current procedures. Travel to countries covered by current US travel advisories must be discussed with the Director well in advance.

A note for year-long students: If you travel before you have received your official residency permit, you will have to pay to purchase a new visa when you re-enter the country, and will have to register with the police within a month of re-entry.

When traveling over land to Israel/Palestine, check out the waiting hours on the border in order to be back for your classes on time. Travel is never an excuse for missing classes or other required activities.  Be aware that travel to Israel/Palestine requires different visa extension measures upon return to Jordan, a full explanation of which can be found in the Student Guide you will receive during Orientation.

Hitchhiking as a mode of transportation anywhere in the Middle East is strongly discouraged as a matter of College policy. The practice is regarded by security officials to be extremely unsafe and is often illegal.  Buses provide a low-cost, safe alternative.

Lonely Planet Middle East provides an excellent and comprehensive guide to traveling in the region.

For your safety, you must inform both your host family and the program whenever you spend the night outside of Amman (in or out of Jordan). An online form will be available for you to report your travel plans.