Petra & Wadi Rum travel advice

Two Jordan experts - Thidara Udomritkul and Andrew Appleyard from our specialist supplier, Exodus, share their Petra and Wadi Rum travel advice:

Tips on where to go

Thidara Udomritkul:
“Petra is an excellent place for aimless roaming. Rather than tick boxing the famous sites, I found no greater joy than simply wandering around and in so doing I met the last remaining resident in Petra – Bdoul Mofleh! My favourite place in Wadi Rum has to be Burdah Bridge, a striking rock formation that arches from one rock to another and features a trekking route with short sections of scrambling and amazing panoramic views.”

Tips for bookworms

Thidara Udomritkul:
“If you want some vacation reading material I’d recommend Married to a Bedouin by Marguerite van Geldermalsen which is about a New Zealand-born nurse who falls in love with a Bedouin souvenir-seller from Petra.”
Andrew Appleyard, qualified archaeologist as well as international sales manager at Exodus:
“If you're looking to find out more about Petra from an archaeologists' perspective read Footsteps by Bruce Norman which features a section on Jean Louis Burckhardt, the Swiss traveler who rediscovered Petra in 1812.”

Food & drink

Thidara Udomritkul:
“If you do find yourself in Wadi Rum, try a dinner cooked in a Zarb! It is a traditional Bedouin cooking practice using an underground oven with layer upon layer of baked potatoes, seasoned vegetables and slow cooked meats. The food is buried and placed upon a bed of hot coals, with the sand sealing in the heat.”

Andrew Appleyard:
“Take a picnic lunch to accompany an affordable glass of lemonade purchased at the cave café next to the Monastery as there's plenty of shade to help you cool down after the climb.”

Health & safety in Petra & Wadi Rum


Visit your GP or travel clinic 6-8 weeks before departure to check you are up to date with any necessary vaccinations. Emergency numbers to be aware of when traveling in Jordan include: 199 for paramedics or fire brigade, and 191 for police. Although tap water won’t pose too much of a health risk it’s probably safer to use securely bottled or boiled water for drinking and brushing teeth. Either way, bring a refillable bottle with you to cut down on plastic waste. Street food is usually very well cooked and just as safe as any restaurant but using discretion in regards to health and hygiene is always best advice. Covering up delicate skin is essential even during the autumn and spring as the sun’s glare can be really dangerous especially without any shade in Petra or Wadi Rum. High temperatures can cause dehydration and heat stroke so avoid midday heat and staying out too long without a hat, water or sun block. Smoking is pretty much commonplace amongst locals so try to avoid kids getting too close if this is something they might be overly sensitive to. April and May can experience some strong sand storms, particularly in Wadi Rum, so use wraparound shades and appropriate head gear to avoid irritating eye problems. It’s certainly worthwhile avoiding any buffets, seafood and meat dishes that look like they’ve been left out a while. The same can be said for ice cream that’s thawed and then refrigerated as well as salads that have been washed in tap water – it’s your call. If someone in your party gets sunstroke or heat exhaustion the best treatment is to cool them down and replace lost fluids with fruit juice, bottled water and salty soups. Getting them out of the heat and under a fan before spraying with water is also advisable, especially if they’re excessively hot, sick, dizzy or disorientated. Although there’s no malaria in Petra and Wadi Rum there are mosquitoes so spray and cover up accordingly, especially after dark, to avoid becoming a midnight snack.


In general, Petra and Wadi Rum are perfectly safe destinations. Just stick to designated paths and locations, dress appropriately and keep hold of the kids in crowded areas, just to be on the safe side. Sensible footwear is a must for all visitors to Petra. Flip-flops and lightweight sandals are more likely to give you sprained foot muscles just as brand new trainers will give you blisters – you have been warned! There is a lot of walking involved at Petra, including the 800 steps to the Monastery and the 1.2kms through Al-Siq. Parents should be aware that buggies/strollers are allowed but be prepared to carry if you want to head up a level and visit places like Urn Tomb, the High Place and Wadi Farasa. Arriving early in the morning is a great idea to avoid the crowds as well as the dust thrown up by horses and donkeys. Camping overnight in Wadi Rum is always going to be met with enthusiasm but for parents, instilling the dangers of open fires, straying too far from camp and using hand gels before and after eating food is advisable to keep things safe in the desert. Keep up-to-date with Jordan health and safety issues by visiting the UK government’s foreign travel advice website

Our top Petra and Wadi Rum Vacation

Jordan vacation, a week in Jordan

Jordan vacation, a week in Jordan

A week to explore the spectacular sites and scenery of Jordan

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Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Petra and Wadi Rum or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Petra Travel Advice

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Petra and Wadi Rum travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
Keep an open mind and do try the tea. It's easy to get used to.
– Neil Williamson
“Take mosquito repellent. No-one warns you about the mosquitoes!” – Nicole Stallard

“Do a bit of background reading regarding the historical sites you will be visiting and the customs and culture of the country; this will allow you to get more out of your vacation experience.” – Jeremy Coates

“For women, I recommend that you wear scarves / shawl around your hair in remote places & try to learn a few simple phrases in Arabic as it goes along way with the locals.” – Siobhan Waldron

“Take plenty of cash as ATMs seem to operate rather erratically. A sleeping bag liner is a must too as there are always plenty of blankets but it is often too hot to sleep under them.” – Sally Hughes

“Take ear plugs as morning call to prayer is very loud at 4am! A torch is essential for the desert (and wet wipes!). If you are going to walk to the Monastery take at least 2 bottles of water up with you and cover for your head! Small backpack for the day is also a very good idea, water gets heavy and it’s good to have both hands free.” – Danielle Dunbar

“Feel free to try and explore independently and take advantage of the additional excursions on offer. These were some of the best parts of the trip for me.” – Laura Meldrum-Carter
Try not to go in August if you can as it was very hot but did not spoil the vacation although we felt as though we were melting at times.
– Lesley Chaffey
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Kyle Taylor] [Tips on where to go: Step] [Food & drink: DerPetzi] [Health & Safety: Zaid Abu Taha] [Neil Williamson quote: Sylvain L.] [Lesley Chaffey quote: Guillaume Baviere]