- Travel Tips
- Yahya Mubaideen
All travelers know the importance of being loaded with stories & evidence of their time away when returning home; the mark of a good trip is going back with a smile on your face and something new in your hands. An awareness of culture, food, values, language… All of these manifest in different ways: both tangible proof and a shift in mindset or way of living.
Here is a mix of the best values, foodstuffs, and general memorabilia with which you can return from your travels, genuinely feeling like you’re keeping a piece of Jordanian culture with you. And all of these work as precious memories for you or as a gift for your loved ones.
The spices of the Middle East are reputable, and although they can be found at specialty stores in other countries, they are far easier to come by, not to mention authentic, when purchased here. Due to their extensive use and availability, you will pay much less for these spices than in your home country too. Za’atar and Sumac are the most traditional, used in main dishes of Jordan; simply put some over your favorite foods as seasoning, much like salt; There is no need to cook. Equipped with this power pair, you’re one step closer to recreating the phenomenal flavors you will have experienced here.
Traditional Arabic coffee, strong and cardamom-infused, is a great choice when thinking about what to take home. You can wow your friends and family with the intensity of caffeine, Levantine style!
The roasters of Jordan are here, there, and everywhere, and boy do they produce some delicious tastes. Nuts travel well, are easy to share (and even easier to munch through alone 😁), so these make a great choice of food to bring home.
The dates of the Middle East are far more extensive and sweeter than those imported into the West. Due to it being a local food, the price and quality are so much better in this region of the world than anywhere else. Satisfy your sweet tooth with the genuine article by taking some dates home, moreover, dates are as healthy as other dried fruits!
Delicately thin -cookie like- crispy confection, originated from Syria, always made in small circular shape with lots of sesame seed covering the upper side and pistachio slices visible when flipped. Another healthy choice to pamper yourself with.
1) A Shemagh:
The traditional headscarf. Still worn here – though mainly by Bedouins in the desert or farmers in villages, it offers excellent sun, wind and sand protection. The red interwoven white is known as the Jordanian scarf.
2) Dead Sea products:
Of course, this makes the list. All over the world, Dead Sea minerals are used in cosmetics and the like; save the hassle of buying an import that may or may not contain genuine products from the Dead Sea, buy an original soap or face mask while here instead.
Hand-painted ceramic pottery makes for a beautiful souvenir or gift; you can get a whole range of products in different sizes, from plates to tiny pots, so packing this away (safely cushioned by clothing, of course) is no issue. Jordanian royalty supposedly uses blue and white pottery, although a whole range of biblical and historically themed products are also available if you desire.
4) Fridge magnet:
A traveler’s classic; Small, portable stamp of where you have been. Whack it on the fridge for all your guests to see: ‘Hey look, I’ve been to the fantastic Jordan!’
If you want to have a long lasting piece of art, a mosaic is a decoration of a surface with designs made up of closely set, usually variously colored, small pieces of a hard substance such as stone, glass, shell… firmly placed by adhesive behind each piece, it could be a table top, or a floor tile, or a wall mounted frame, all handicrafts made by locals and mostly those with special needs or elderly women, supported by Jordan River Foundation which helps in free shipping worldwide, there are multiple shops especially in Madaba city, take a look at Jordan Jewel Art & Mosaic or Arts River for Mosaic & Handicrafts to see examples.
Jordanians sure know how to welcome guests. Traditionally, no matter who you are -even if there’s some hostility due to past events- you are an honored guest of a Jordanian for at least the first three nights of your visit, and they will treat you as such. Jordanians open their homes to others, freely sharing food, drink, space, love, and laughter. On your return to your home country, try and take something from their example, perhaps you could host an open house for those you haven’t met in a while, at which you could prepare a Jordanian meal using your new spices?!
The value of family. It doesn’t matter if you are single or have little in the way of blood relatives. Make a family out of the community you share with friends, neighbors, and strangers alike. Jordanians welcome one another with open arms and are not afraid to display their family-style affection for one another. Cultivate this attitude of welcoming and loving people on your return; it makes the world a happier place.
The list above is not exhaustive by any means, but we hope it provides you with few ideas that you can take from, and make use of.
One last thing to consider, spending money on souvenirs creates jobs, supports local businesses, helps community led cooperatives and social enterprises that sell goods or services then use profits to reinvest in the local community by addressing social issues, improving locals’ quality of life. This economic boost contributes to infrastructure development, public services, and overall economic growth. So when your shopping the perfect memento of Jordan, you’re also planting a seed for future tourists to enjoy.