Would appreciate advice on a possible visit to Amman and other popular sites in Jordan, but understand the that US Government has warned of possible terrorist activity due to Jordan's relationship with the US. Risk is a concern at this time.
I didn't spend much time in Amman - just a day. Headed to Madaba - then did a half day tour of Mt. Nebo, and the Dead Sea - do some research - you can go swimming where the locals do and no need to pay for a hotel, etc.
Take the King's highway and see Kerak on the way to Petra - spend 2 nights so that you can get in early before the tourist masses. Do your research as there is lots to see and explore if you are up for it. Take a hat and water - it can get quite hot.
Head to Wadi Rum and camp out in the desert with the Bedouins if you are upto it.
The one place I didn't get to was Jerash so can't comment on that.
Only you can make the determination on safety and whether you are up for a trip there.
I just took a trip to Egypt and loved it. Lots of people voiced concern about our decision to go but we did our own research and made a decision we were comfortable with. We really had a great time. We used Egypt and Beyond Travel to book our trip and they do Jordan as well. They were a top notch company and I would definitely travel with them again.
Friends of mine just came back from 2 nights in Jordan (Petra and Wadi Rum) and loved it. The Dead Sea is great, so is the Gulf of Aqaba (though we call it the Gulf of Eilat :-). Haven't been to Jerash or Amman yet.
Come and visit us too while you're "in the neighborhood."
I took an add-on trip to Jordan through Overseas Adventure Travel in April. Loved it. Don't miss Petra! A true wonder of the world. Found the people most hospitable and so happy to have tourists - they are having a miserable time of it thanks to Syria war. Food was very good too - as it was in Israel. Hi Chani
It was several years ago, but we spent 11 days in Jordan and found plenty to do. We spent most of our time staying at Mosaic City Hotel in Madaba and they were able to arrange multiple day trips with a private driver, as well as time in Petra and Wadi Rum.
Are you planning to stay only in Amman, or tour around the country? If you visit Petra, don't rush it. Some people do it as a day trip from Eilat (southern Israel) or from Amman, but you'll pretty much just be herded through the siq to the treasury and back. Not worth it. Jerash and Madaba are nice day trips. You can easily combine Jerash with Ajloun castle. If you focus on the southern half of the country, then I recommend Petra and Wadi Rum. My trips within Jordan were all DIY but a friend of mine used "Jordan Select" tours (www.select.jo) when his family visited as it was easier for managing their whole group.
I spent a week in Jordan with my wife almost two years ago. The security situation is about the same in terms of risk in my opinion. There were many security checkpoints as we drove (well, we hired a driver, smthg reasonably affordable in this country given the not-so-reliable public transportation between cities and major sights) and we never felt that we were in any particular danger. The current State Dept Travel Warning seems to be largely in response to what happened in Karak last December. They'd be irresponsible not to issue a warning after something like that, though tourism doesn't seem to be the target despite where the perpetrators holed up. While that event is beyond unfortunate, your own risk of tragedy is still likely higher driving your car around the US. It's all about perspective. That being said, with apologies to the site of Jerash, my personal comfort level tells me not to go further north (aka closer to the Syrian border) than Amman. Maybe someone else can speak to that better than me.
Doing Petra right:
Doing "Petra by Night" will not be just the highlight of your trip, it may be the highlight of all your travels. After walking through the luminary-lit siq to then sit and have tea served to us on a blanket in front of the luminary-lit Treasury, my wife leaned over to me and whispered, "This is the best place you've ever taken me." For reference, we've been to some pretty terrific places together (France, Spain, Italy, Sicily, Mexico, Vietnam, Cambodia).
We did this evening visit to Petra first before seeing the rest of the site during the day the next day. You need to buy your tickets before the ticket office closes during the day, and you can't buy tickets before you arrive, so be sure to get there early enough in the day. Also, Petra by Night is only offered three days a week, so plan accordingly. More info is here: http://visitpetra.jo/DetailsPage/VisitPetra/EntertainmentsDetailsEn.aspx?PID=4
When we did Petra the next day, we did make it all the way to the Monastery, the furthest of the major sights within Petra. Be warned, my wife nearly did not make it (for reference, we're in our early 30s), so you need to be in good shape to make that hike. The heat didn't help. Bring in a lot of water with you. Seeing the Monastery is totally worth it though. Get an early start in the day if you want to beat the heat.
One more note, because of the war in Syria, many aren't traveling to Jordan. As such, we nearly had Petra to ourselves after the morning "crowd" left as the heat set in. It was something else to have one of the world's best sights nearly all to ourselves.
We spent the next few days in Aqaba doing some diving in the Red Sea (awesome). We also spent some time around Wadi Rum (worth it, wish we spent a night out there) before heading back up north to Amman to catch a late flight out. We did stay a night at the Dead Sea in the beginning of the trip to check that out, play in the mud, and float in the sea. A fun extra thing to do while you're there.