A trip to Petra, Jordan is the experience of a lifetime. You’ll be blown away by the architecture, the scenery, and the majesty of it all. Here are 7 tips to help make your family’s trip unforgettable:
1. Be prepared to walk A LOT.
Unlike a lot of other historic sites, Petra is completely inaccessible to cars. You hike into it, and once your there, you hike all around it. It’s quite spread out, and the coolest sites that you absolutely should not miss, The Treasury and The Monestary are about 7 km apart so come in shape and be prepared for some hiking. If you’re bringing especially young kids, bring along a baby carrier (we like this one that works for kids up to about 50 lbs). Focus on the exploration side of things to distract your kids from all the walking and you’ll be amazed how far they can walk (ours went 37 km in 2 days this way). If you’re worried, check out our hiking with kids: 20 tips to combat whining article.
2. Visit when it’s cooler.
Although it’s super tempting to take your big family vacation in the summer when the kids already have time off of school, your trip will be much better if you resist the urge. In the summer months, you’ll be battling temperatures of around 110 degrees F during the day, which will quickly turn your family trip from uncomfortable to a pure nightmare. In the winter months, it can actually get quite cold there, with occasional rain and even snow storms. The best months to visit are March, April, October, and November. When we visited in early October, it was about 85 degrees which was warm but manageable.
3. Get off the beaten path.
As soon as you enter Petra, about 1/3 mile past The Treasury, head up towards the High Place of Sacrifice. Not only will you get an awesome birds-eye-view of everything from up there, but you’ll encounter significantly fewer people than down at the Street of Facades. Head down the back way from there for more solidarity and awesome trails. Always be on the lookout for all the little paths where you can have more exploration and less people, and you’ll end out the day much more relaxed.
4. Hike out through the Small Siq.
If you have energy left at the end of your sightseeing day, walk out through the slot canyon in the small siq (Wadi Muthlim) which is absolutely beautiful. It’s a longer walk than the regular siq, but you will not likely see anyone and it will leave you in awe of the deserts beauty. For a little money, you can hire a local to take you through, or you can look up the coordinates on a map before you leave and DIY. It’s made up of a series of narrow passageways and full of boulder choked sections, so though it can be tricky, its definitely worth it. Just make sure to not go if there is any rain in the forecast or the entire area as slot canyons are deadly in storms (think instant flash floods with no escape route).
5. Pack in your own food.
Although there are places to buy food in Petra, it’s pretty expensive and your options and the locations are limited. If you’re planning to be off the beaten path at all, bring in your own food and LOTS and LOTS of water!
6. Decide before you go if you’ll be riding any animals.
The first thing you will notice when you start hiking towards Petra’s Siq is that you are constantly bombarded by “Bedouins
” wanting you to ride their donkey/camel/horse through the monument. In every area that’s highly populated, you’re going to encounter this (bummer, I know). Make it easier on everyone by deciding as a family when or even if you’ll be riding any animals and share the plan with your kids. That way you’re not being bugged about riding them from both the locals AND your kids! Note: although a carriage ride into and out of the siq is technically free with your ticket, be prepared to be gouged with a very high tip “request”.
7. Be prepared to say NO!
No to the animal rides. No to the vendors constantly trying to sell you things. No to the people who constantly want to touch your kids. Practice a firm but polite NO before you go, but you’ll have a much more relaxing day if you don’t get sucked into a conversation with every single person who wants you to buy something from them.
Have you visited Petra with your kids? Any other suggestions that you’d like to offer?