If you’re looking for an adventure that’s a little different from the typical tourist trail that takes thousands of backpackers through hostels, dorm rooms, and bus stations every year, Wadi Rum in Jordan could spark excitement that you’ve been missing.
If you’re asking yourself… wait… Jordan? Is it safe? Rest assured, it is. As fellow travel blogger Nomadic Matt said in a recent post, “Jordan is an exceptionally safe country to visit.” However, Wadi Rum is so unique, you can’t just dive on in and book the first flight over. Instead, you need to make sure you’re prepared for the experience. To help you out, here’s everything you need to know to make your desert trip a success.
Sunnies and Shades
It should be no surprise that the desert will demand sunglasses and shades to protect you from the baking and blistering heat. Wide-brimmed hats are a must, as are long sleeve shirts that will keep your limbs safe from sunburn when there is nowhere for you to hide from the bright light above.
It’s not enough to buy any old sunglasses, though. Too many models deliver little-to-zero UV protection, and this can damage your eyes. Furthermore, quality sunglasses will also be more durable, and a quality lens will help you see easier and protect your eyes when the desert winds whip sand up all around your face.
Sunscreen is also a must-have, and plenty of it, too. As temperatures reach as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, sunscreen won’t just protect, but also soothe.
Fluids, and Lots of Them
Likewise, lots of fluids can prevent dehydration, overheating, and guarantee consistent comfort throughout your trip. Water should be high on your list of priorities, especially considering you’ll be unlikely to come across a fresh and, more importantly, cold water source and any you do could merely be a mirage.
It might sound daunting to carry so much water in your backpack, but if you take a 4×4, you can pack enough away in the trunk or on the roof, which can make it a little less terrifying. It might also be worth bringing electrolyte-heavy fluids, such as sports drinks, or even sodium replacement powder to replenish electrolytes and prevent further problems.
One word of warning: while it might be tempting to drink the cacti dry, the fluid inside them is likely to make you sick, so avoid at all costs.
Even the most cursory research into camping in the desert reminds you to bring extra layers, and this is because while it may be hot during the day, to call it cold at night is an understatement.
The very reason that the desert gets so hot during the day is the same that it gets so cold at night. You’re both close to the sun and then as far away as possible once dusk comes around. With this in mind, you’ll need layers like extra socks, a wool hat, gloves, and even a jacket to keep you from freezing overnight.
Some parts of the desert can get as low as below zero overnight, and considering you’ve likely packed for sunshine and hot weather, your sleeping bag may not be up to scratch. Do yourself a favor and pack extra layers just in case.
Why would you need a mirror while traveling through Wadi Rum? Besides an exercise in vanity (because you’ve got to look good for all the grains of sand and towering mountains around you), a mirror can offer plenty of uses.
Should you get lost, then a mirror can reflect the sun to help search parties find you. While this might not seem like a problem for most people as they’ll likely take guided tours through travel agencies, there’s always someone who wants a more authentic DIY experience.
Something to Lead the Way
Similarly, something to lead the way will be crucial for helping you get from the edge of the desert to a campsite for you to spend the night. A map, (solar-powered) GPS, and compass will all come in useful for helping you navigate an environment that is unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
Before heading on your Wadi Rum adventure, it’s worth getting to grips with how everything works; otherwise, you’re just adding extra weight to your pack. As technology failures will happen at the worst time, it’s always best to be prepared.
Whether it’s a multitool or tent repair kit, you’ll need to bring along something to fix and overcome any problems you encounter. Considering you will be deep in the desert, getting help quickly is slim, so being able to fix things yourself is crucial.
While it’s unlikely if you’re going on a tour, you might need to help repair the vehicle if it breaks down. If you’re traveling independently, you will need to repair the car if you encounter any issues. You don’t want to guess what to do, so download repairs videos before leaving so you can access them quickly and without a data connection.
A Backup Plan
All travelers know that not everything goes to plan 100% of the time, and therefore a backup plan is essential if you are taking a trip into a desert such as Wadi Rum.
If you’re traveling with an agency, they will have backup plans ready should a disaster strike. However, if you’re going it alone, then make sure you tell someone where you are going, how long you are going for, and when you expect to be back. There’s no such thing as being too cautious when traveling, and this will save you and your friends and family plenty of headaches.
Into The Desert
Anyone with an interest in traveling is always looking for a brand new experience and chance to do something that most others will never get the opportunity to do. You might have seen all the white sands, turquoise waters, green peaks, and temples you can handle for a lifetime, so why not test yourself by taking a trip somewhere that is as vast as it is fascinating.