Local Customs

Visiting Jordan? Here are a few pro-tips to help you navigate the local culture.

Pro-Tip Do’s:

- Do shake hands when meeting people; conservative veiled women may not reach out.

- Do stand up when greeting others.

- Do shake your cup from side to side in order to decline a refill of your coffee.

- Do hold your cup out to signal you would like more.

- Do accept when Arabic coffee is offered to you by your host, as it is a sign of hospitality.

- Do carry plenty of loose change with you, as many Jordanians usually do not carry adequate change.

- Do tip waiters approximately 10% gratuity in addition to the bill (unless a service charge is included in the total bill).

- Do round your taxi fare up to the nearest tenth when paying your driver.

- Do haggle with merchants when shopping.

- Do be aware that Arabs tend to stand a fraction of the distance closer when conversing than people do in the West.

Pro-Tip Don’ts:

- Don't interrupt, or pass in front of, a Muslim who may be praying in a public place.

- Don't openly consume food, beverages, or cigarettes in public places during the holy month of Ramadan.

- Don't panic if an acquaintance "pecks" you on the cheeks when greeting you, as Arabs have traditionally kissed each other on both cheeks as a warm gesture of welcome and affection.

- Don't feel uncomfortable if your host insists on "over feeding" you during a meal, as Arabs traditionally view food as an important symbol of hospitality, generosity, and goodwill – the more the better!

- Don't feel that you are required to tip your taxi driver, as tipping in such a scenario is not necessary, but is certainly appreciated.

- Don’t slam a taxi drivers door shut.