Visiting Jordan? Here are a few pro-tips to help you navigate the local culture.
- 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 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 dress conservatively when exploring public areas of Jordan.
- Do be aware that Arabs tend to stand a fraction of the distance closer when conversing than people do in the West.
- Men: Do sit in the front seat of the taxi as it is seen as respectful.
- Women: Do sit in the back seat of a taxi as it is seen as disrespectful.
- Do make space for the elderly and women on public transportation.
- 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 dress provocatively when walking outdoors.
- 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.