Jordan was the first country I visited in the Middle East. Although there’s a ton of stuff to see there, my main goal was to see Petra which had been on my bucket list for years. I was so excited to finally get to see this stunning UNESCO site. I was also planning on spending some time camping in the Wadi Rum desert.
Although I was super excited about going, I was a little apprehensive about what to wear in Jordan. This was my first predominantly Muslim country and I know the liberties of how we dress in Europe, particularly as a female, isn’t the same here. I knew a sure-fire way to attract unwanted attention was to stick to my usual travel attire, which is my shredded denim shorts and a singlet vest style top.
This packing list for Jordan is based on my own research and experience visiting the country. It contains all the essentials on how to dress in Jordan, plus some other essentials to add to your Jordan packing list. I’ve also included things to avoid wearing in Jordan as well as other packing tips, all in a handy downloadable checklist.
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What to wear in Jordan – How To Use This Guide
This what to pack for Jordan article is divided into sections. The first section gives essential information on how to dress in Jordan and also lists what not to wear in Jordan. The second section goes into more detail about what clothes to pack for Petra, Wadi Rum and other places in Jordan.
In the final section, you’ll find FAQs that answer loads of questions about what to wear in Jordan when visiting as a female traveller.
What should female tourists wear in Jordan?
There were a few things that made me change the way I typically pack for travel. The first, and the main one that I mentioned further is that Jordan is considerably more conservative compared to pretty much everywhere else I’ve travelled particularly for Jordanian women, especially when you compared it to what men wear, which was pretty much regular western-style clothing.
I was also aware that the weather in Jordan (especially in the springtime when I visited) can be changeable, plus I was visiting a whole array of different terrains – on my trip I was going to be in the city of Amman, around ruins of Jerash and Petra, then into the Wadi Rum Desert plus the coastal regions of Aqaba and the Dead Sea. So with all that in mind, let’s delve into the question of; what do people wear in Jordan?
What to wear in Jordan as a woman
So, of course, you’re going to need regular stuff that you (should) pack as standard, like underwear and your toothbrush. I’m not going to waste time going into that in this article – although rest assured, I have included EVERYTHING in the downloadable Jordan travel checklist for you. This section is all the extra stuff that you need to pack for Jordan.
- Harem Pants or Midi Skirt
…or something equivalent that covers your knees. I wear a comfy pair of gym pants with elasticated ankles. These were my saviours, loose-fitting and lightweight, yet not figure-hugging, these were an absolute blessing here so I pretty much ended up living in them.
The great thing about gym pants with elasticated ankles is that in the morning, when it was cool, I could wear them at full length, and then during the afternoon heat I could roll them up to my knees.
- Oversize T-Shirts & Shirts
Another one of my go-to items is cropped t-shirts that show your midriff. They are one of my travelling staples. However, it’s a bit of a no goer in the Middle East so I opted for a selection of oversized shirts and t-shirts.
Think ‘boyfriend style’. Get them with baggy sleeves so you can roll them up in the heat. Often I go for an actual man’s t-shirt because I prefer the print design. The great thing about oversized t-shirts was that they always covered my mid-drift even when they were tied up – these still looked cute and feminine.
…which leads me onto sports bras. Back in the UK, it’s just the norm, and no one really cares when there’s an odd lacy bra strap on show. It’s just a strap, right?
In Jordan, just having this wayward piece of strap seems to be just a bit too much for some Jordanian men (like guys, are you serious?!?!)
So, the most un-sexy bra; is the sports bra! A total cover-all-squash-em–down-garment. The great thing with sports bras is that they are also a handy place to stash away a small amount of money in case of emergency. Sports bras are also useful for those bumpy 4×4 desert rides.
I have an obsession with scarves, mostly because I get cold easily. Scarfs are an old-favourite of travellers, they are so versatile – need a handy curtain on a dorm room, use a scarf. The aircon is too chilly on the plane, use a scarf.
In Jordan, my scarf proved an invaluable commodity. You’ll find a lot of the local women will have some form of head covering, and as the age-old saying goes, ‘when in Rome..’. If you don’t want to attract unwanted attention, particularly if you’re travelling solo as a female, then do what the locals do. They are also useful if you’re visiting Wadi Rum, to wrap around your head to keep the sun off.
On occasions, even with my sports bra and baggy t-shirts, I did feel conscious at times, especially while I was wandering around on my own outside of the tourist areas. Having my scarf with me, gave me a quick extra cover-up.
Related Article: The Perfect 10 Days in Jordan Itinerary
A Poncho or Shawl
If you’re after a bit of an upgrade from the scarf I just mentioned, then go for a poncho or shawl. As I mentioned before, they are great for use as an additional cover-up, but they also act as a blanket for the chilly mornings.
I have a woollen poncho that I used in the mornings when I was up and about before the sun and the air was still cold, this was the case for Petra, when I was walking around at 5 am to get to the gate for opening time.
Yes, the obvious reason for keeping the sun out of your eyes, but also for a sneaky reason. Generally, the key tip I was given by the receptionist at my hostel was to ignore any form of unwanted male attention.
As a solo female traveller with blonde hair, I was told I would be an easy target – basically, because I look typically, tourist. This tip I was given by the receptionist, is to wear a pair of sunglasses, even on slightly cloudy days because it meant you can do a quick sideward glance without unwanted guys noticing, giving you a better chance to ignore their advances. Also, you’ll be thankful for your sunnies when you visit Petra and Wadi Rum, the sun reflects off every surface and even in the winter months, it’s bright there.
An absolute must, especially if any part of your Jordan tour involves visiting the ruin sites or the desert, which most likely you will be doing. You don’t necessarily need a waterproof pair of hiking boots, in fact, the trainer style ones are more than adequate. Importantly, make sure they are breathable. The weather in Jordan can be insanely hot during the summer months.
Related Article: Discover The Ruins of Jerash, Jordan – The Pompeii of the East
Secure Bag Day Bag
Although in Jordan, what to wear is important, another essential you will most definitely need is a secure day bag. It goes without saying there are pick-pockets all over the world. It’s no different in Jordan.
To help combat this and for peace of mind make sure you’ve got a secure day bag to keep your valuables in if you plan to take them out with you.
What NOT to wear in Jordan
This section goes into clothing in Jordan not to wear. Of course, in your accommodation, resort or private space, you can wear what you like, but anywhere in public, there are some items of clothing to avoid like the plague.
As a generalisation, the south of Jordan and around Aqaba is very touristy, as is Petra, the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum so you can get away with more relaxed clothing than in other parts of the country.
Six travel tips on things to avoid wearing in Jordan:
- Booty shorts, hot pants and short skirts….generally wearing shorts or anything above your knee.
- Anything made in sheer fabric (basically if you can see your underwear through it, it’s going to be a no go).
- Mid-drift tops or backless tops.
- Figure-hugging tops and low cut tops which expose your cleavage.
- Anything that shows off your figure – so leave that 80s Lycra catsuit at home.
- Clothes that expose a lot of skin.
I’m wholeheartedly for the argument that women should jolly well be able to wear what they want when they want. And that wearing certain clothing doesn’t mean you’re ‘looking for it‘. In a hot country, I just want to dress for the weather and try and get a bit of a tan on my pasty white British skin.
Equally, I wasn’t interested in attracting unwanted attraction. I also had no intention of being THAT disrespectful tourist.
So what should I wear in Jordan, you might be asking? To sum it up, avoid showing off too much skin, and the silhouette shape of your body and you’ll be fine.
What to wear to Jordan – Season by season
Jordan has seasons, similar to Europe; Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. I visited in the Spring, so warm days and cool evenings, this is also similar weather in Autumn. There are different climates depending on where you are, for example, the south near Aquba, has a much more temperate climate than the north near Amman.
What clothes to wear in Jordan in Winter
The weather can be very cold and at times, wet, especially in the north part of the country. So take plenty of warm clothes that can be layered. Also, take a waterproof jacket and waterproof shoes.
It’s also worth taking a hat and gloves, especially if you’re headed towards the desert when temperatures can be as low as freezing.
Visiting Jordan as a woman in Summer
The temptation to wear as little as possible in the height of summer is tough. At the peak of summer, opt for breathable, light coloured fabrics – linen is good, just be careful that it’s not see-through.
Another essential for summer in Jordan is a wide-brimmed hat, especially if you’re visiting the ruins of Jerash, Petra and Wadi Rum.
What clothes to wear in Jordan during Spring & Autumn
You’ll need clothing for warm weather as the daytimes can still be pleasantly warm. However, you’ll need a thick jumper, as well as clothing that can be layered as the evenings can get really chilly. It’s worth taking a wind and rain proof jacket as well as an umbrella becasue it can also rain. Take shoes that are waterproof and have a decent grip, walking around the steep streets of Amman in the rain can be really slippery.
Related Article: Experience Bedouin Hospitality In The Wadi Rum Desert
Packing for Jordan - By Destination
What to wear in Amman, Jordan
If you’re not sure what to wear in Amman, remember that you’re in a city, so you might want slightly smarter clothes compared to what you would wear in the desert. One thing you’ll probbaly notice when you visit Amman is that it’s a VERY hilly city. So a decent pair of walking shoes is a must.
The air in Amman can get cold, even in the evenings of spring and autumn, so take a warm jacket. There’s also the chance of rain throughout the Autumn, Winter and Spring so take an umbrella and waterproofs.
Related Article: The Ultimate Guide To Amman
What to wear in Petra, Jordan
The site of Petra is huge, so be prepared to do a lot of walking. It’s also worth taking a pair of walking poles if you have knee problems; there is quite a bit of stair climbing. Petra is very expansive, and with very little shade, so a decent pair of sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat or cap is a must.
If you arrive before sunrise, at all times of the year, it will be cold. So take clothing that can be layered up. During the daytime, it can be at the other extreme, and be very hot, so take breathable clothing and try to keep your skin covered from the harsh sun. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
What shoes to wear in Petra, Jordan
You will be doing A LOT of walking – so wear something comfortable. You might end up walking for as much as 12 hours (if you go to the site at 6 am, and leave when it closes). Choose shoes with a decent grip on the bottom, some of the trails are quite worn and the rock can be smooth.
Related Article: Visit Petra – 26 Outstanding Things To See At Petra
What to wear in Wadi Rum
Similarly, to Petra, it can get cold at night and sweltering during the day. Take layers of clothing. It’s also worthwhile taking a windbreaker top or jacket, especially for the evenings. The sun is bright in the desert, so sunglasses and a peaked hat are a must. Also, A pair of flip-flops are essential for walking around the Bedouin camps if you are intending on staying there.
Wadi Rum is also home to loads of outdoor sports such as climbing and sandboarding. If you’re intending on doing these, pack suitable sportswear.
What to wear in Jordan Packing List - Download and Print
So, what should women wear in Jordan? In summary, think loose-fitting, breathable layers. You can download the full female packing list for Jordan straight to your inbox for offline viewing.
FAQs - what to wear in Jordan, female packing guide
Do you have to wear a hijab in Jordan?
No, you do not need to wear a hijab in Jordan. Although the Jordanian dress code is much more conservative than what we’re used to in the west, Jordan is fairly liberal when compared to other destinations in the middle east. Therefore, female tourists are not required to wear a hijab, or any form of head covering. However, it’s a good idea to dress modestly.
What do women wear in Jordan?
Traditional Jordanian clothes for women are much more conservative than what we are used to in the west. Typically, they will wear a hijab and modest clothing. The hijab isn’t necessary for female tourists. As a tourist, you will still be able to wear colourful and pattered clothing, just be mindful that the clothes you choose to wear shouldn’t be revealing, sheer fabric or skin tight.
Where can I find a packing list for women for Jordan?
You can download a complete packing list for Jordan here, plus notes on other useful things to pack as well as not what to wear in Jordan. Click here to download it for offline viewing.
Final notes on the Jordan dress code for women tourists
Hopefully, this article has given you some insight and tips on what to pack for your Jordan trip. Jordan is a phenomenal country, I found the people overall to be extremely warm and welcoming and there are so many outstanding places to see.
If you’re headed to Jordan, then check out these other useful articles:
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