Jordan & Jerusalem: Planning a family trip to the Middle East

It’s holiday planning time again! My second favourite time of the year (after actually being on holiday, of course). So after the Great Wall of China, Chichen Itza, the Collosseum and the Taj Mahal, we decided to tackle another of the New 7 Wonders of the World – the ancient city of Petra in Jordan.

I started reading about visiting Jordan with kids and thanks to some glowing reviews by fellow bloggers, it didn’t take long to get me hooked. I cannot wait to experience Amman, camp under the stars in the desert, drive the King’s Highway and catch a glimpse over the ‘Promised Land’ from Mt Nebo.

Itinerary planning

So, here we go, let’s make it happen. Following weeks of research, comparing and considering we landed on a rough itinerary outline for our two-and-a-bit weeks in the Middle East:

  • Jordan Roadtrip 8 days
  • Amman 2 days
  • Jerusalem 2 days
  • Turkey 4 days

There’s still lots to do to finalise the itinerary and I will share the final result here soon.

Things to remember when planning a trip to Jordan and Jerusalem

A rough itinerary is the first milestone towards booking flights, yay! Here’s what I’ve learnt so far about planning a family trip to the Middle East:

Flying to Jordan is not as easy as I thought. With easyJet having scrapped their holiday route to Aqaba, all that remains are premium flights, shoddy flight times and long detours. We opted for what seemed the most bearable of the low budget options with Norwegian, with a ‘stop for lunch’ in Copenhagen. Slightly surreal on the way to the Middle East, but it will all be part of the adventure!

Flying with a toddler? Don’t forget to read my tips for a toddler’s hand luggage)

Self-driving in Jordan is recommended and with the North-South route covering around 300km it seems perfect road trip territory. The King’s Highway looks spectacular and I can’t wait!

Read here about my tips on car hire

Cross-over from Jordan into Israel and back is easier than starting in Israel and crossing into Jordan. Due to the limited flight options into Amman we briefly considered flying into Tel Aviv as a starting point. Obtaining a Jordan visa at the Israeli border looks quite complicated and time consuming, so we decided against this idea. Israel is still part of our planned itinerary, but we will enter from Jordan and leave via Tel Aviv.

As always we are planning a packed and hectic itinerary which we want to finish with a few relaxing days on the beach to recover. Most itineraries I’ve seen finish in Aqaba, with a few days on the Red Sea. For some reason, Aqaba didn’t massively appeal to us, perhaps due to the fact that it’s primarily a diver’s paradise (which we are not) and the choice of family hotels seemed somewhat limited. So we decided to break up the return journey with a stop in Turkey instead.

There are lot of intricacies to consider when visiting the Middle East. While Jordan itself is considered relatively safe, the region remains a political tinderbox and an inconsiderate tweet by a schmug in the White House can change the situation in an instant, so it’s worth having cancellation protection in case plans need to change at short notice.

Protests are a regular occurance in Jordan, particularly around religious holidays, so it’s important to check the calendar before choosing a time of travel. Tourists are advised to avoid cities on Thursday nights and Fridays – another important consideration for itinerary planning.

One thing is clear already, our trip to the Middle East is going to be a journey like no other we’ve done before. Lots and lots to plan and organise over the next few months. I’ll keep you posted!


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