Jordan is the jewel of the Middle East. The food is cheap, classic Levantine – the kind Americans think of when they want “Middle Eastern”. The country is a pleasant, safe place to do your travel to Jerusalem, Syria and Egypt.
It’s not a great budget destination yet because they are still building the tourist infrastructure. You are likely to stay in big western hotels, and hire drivers. But it’s not outrageously priced by any means. Most importantly, it offers a really wide variety of cultural and adventure activities, with some pretty fancy spots to relax too. With destinations like these, it would be easy to build a two-week itinerary that would keep a family enthralled.
If you need a base for family travel in the Middle East, Jordan is your spot. On our visit we spent a few days at the Jordan Valley/Dead Sea Marriott to relax, and a full day in Petra. I really wish we had allocated more time to Jordan.
Here’s a short video of our experience in Petra, which remains one of the most memorable experiences for our kids. The dramatic landscape, ancient city and the climb through the ruins left the kids exhausted.