Practical tips for visiting Petra

Simply put, Petra was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of cool things.

I don’t have the words to describe just how magnificent it is, so I’ll give you the next best thing- a few tips for your visit so that you can just go see it yourself.

Wear comfy shoes 

Petra is an entire ancient city, and you  can rack up a few miles walking through it. In fact, from the parking lot to the Treasury alone it’s about a 20 minute walk and a few of the cool view points involve light climbing, so I suggest leaving your cute wedges at home for this one. 

Dedicate the Entire Day

Or two. Or three. Petra is one of the seven wonders of the world for a reason and deserves at least a day of attention! There are so many incredible nooks to explore and details to admire. Also, the light changes throughout the day and some parts of the city photograph better at certain hours. For example, if you go before noon and try to take a photo from the vantage point across from the Treasury, it’s likely that your photo will be against the light. No bueno my friends. Unless you’re super artsy and wanted a silhouette shot- you do you. 

Explore the entirety 

Petra is a whole lot more than just the Treasury, which is the stone facade that you see on every Instagram post (mine included) and the rest of Petra is truly spectacular as well. Take the time to appreciate the other tombs, canyons and temples!

Get THE shot 

There is a neat vantage point across from the Treasury, the most intricate and best preserved stone facade in Petra, where you can get a crowd-less view and photo. If you’re facing the Treasury you’ll see a trail to your right that curves and takes you right to the cliff that overlooks the facade. Climb up halfway for a full body shot, and higher to a carpeted area where you can sit and take your epic Petra shot. 

Haggle

All the prices are pretty much made up- so why not make up your own? The first price a seller gives you will be the highest, and you can definitely get the price down from there. Haggling is an art form I believe everyone should master- otherwise it’s easy for locals to take advantage of you as a tourist. Most of the items I saw for sale at Petra I saw in a dozen other markets, so be skeptical when sometime tells you something is original or handmade. Also if a shopkeeper at a souvenir shop tells you something is camel hair…hate to break it to you but it’s probably not and please don’t pay $200 for it. 

Side note, you can pay in Jordanian Dinar or dollars so don’t worry if you didn’t have time to hit up a currency exchange. 

Nothing is free

Bedouins will stand at every turn and offer you a horse or donkey ride down the trail, and will even tell you that it’s included in your ticket cost. It is not. 

Free is used loosely and if you accept an offer, you’ll be asked to tip heavily at the end. The donkeys and horses are, sadly, incredibly overworked- please walk anyway if you are physically capable. 

Bring snacks! 

The food inside the Lost City is questionable at best, and kind of expensive. A small juice will set you back more than Whole Foods, and not everything looked particularly fresh. Since, you’re likely going to be there for hours, I recommend bringing your own snacks and a bottle of water.

Be skeptical of overly friendly locals

The local bedouins run a well known scam where they befriend and woo tourists, particularly young women traveling alone, and offer to take them to the best view points or places that only locals know. From there, one things leads to another, which often leads to an unfortunate situation- just look up Petra Romance Scams and you’ll get the gist. I’m alway for meeting local people, but perhaps let the extrovert inside you sit this one out and stay safe. 

Take it all in 

Lastly, a bit of personal advice…put down your phone for a few moments, stop taking photos and just take it all in when you’re there. The world really is a spectacular place, isn’t it?

Cool, huh?
View from the vantage point across the Treasury! Climb up there.
The Kulkas and the Last Crusade
I took photos here for so long that this cat came up and fell asleep in my lap.
The coolest canyons!
We named the dog Indiana.
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Did you visit Petra and find these tips helpful? Cool. Drop me a line! 

How I pack a carry-on for long haul flights

One of my not so secret talents is packing. I can pack ten days of fabulous outfits in a carry-on (my current situation in India); I’ve previously lived out of a backpack for 5 weeks (once in Southeast Asia and once in Spain), and I can throw together a suitcase half an hour before leaving for the airport on a work trip.

I just got off my longest ever direct long-haul flight (ORD>DEL) and while I don’t usually write “how-to”s- I figured if I can make someone’s flight at least a smidge easier, that’s a win for me.

(I won’t bullsh*t you, I flew business class to India and slept comfortably during my entire flight. No physical item stuffed into a backpack will necessarily equate [Ambien?] BUT I can help!)

I travel with a hard case carry-on suitcase (it’s from AWAY and I love it) that contains my clothing, shoes, accessories, cosmetics, etc. and a tote or backpack with staple items I keep nearby, usually stowed under my seat. The smaller bag is what I’ll cover today…

Here’s a list of things I always have on hand on a long haul flight:

Noise Cancelling Headphones: They’re bulky and annoying to pack, but every time I’m without them on a flight I regret it. They are incredible for instantly shutting out crying babies and airplane snorers. I have these from Bose, and I love them!

Slip silk mask: Okay, so maybe you don’t need a SILK sleep mask (any kind will do), but this one is just so soft. Essentially for knocking out on the plane even when the lights are still on.

Chargers: I always have my “bag o’ chargers” with me since most long haul flights have in seat outlets. I carry both an iPhone and a Google Pixel, so I always have a few chargers and convertors on hand.

Compression socks: My legs swell up on long haul flights, and it’s just not healthy to be sitting for that long. Compression socks help make sure everyone is circulating nicely. I ordered these from Amazon because they’re inexpensive.

AllBirds: I was a non believer at first, but these wool runners really are the comfiest shoes in the world. They’re like clouds, but for your feet. They’re comfortable enough to wear through the flight, stylish, and…you don’t have to take them off at security!

Pen: I feel like I always randomly need a pen. Just pack one so that you don’t have to ask a stranger. Unless said stranger is cute. In which case, loose the pens.

Melatonin: I almost never get too jet lagged. I use my travel day to adjust to whatever time zone I’m heading to and sleep or stay awake on my flight based on what time it is in my destination. So if it’s only 6pm but it’s midnight at my destination, you bet I’m taking melatonin, putting my headphones on, and slipping on my eye mask.

Book: Or kindle, whatever floats your boat. I always pack one because I’ve learned that you CANNOT count on all long haul flights to have a TV.

Cozy Hoodie or Cashmere Sweater: Airplanes are cold. There’s a correlation between passengers fainting up in the air and the temperature of the cabin, which is why planes are intentionally frosty. Don’t be a hero- pack something warm.

Refresher Kit: I pack wet wipes, mints, hand sanitizer, tissues, lip balm, and hand cream. I refresh during the flight and 30 minutes before landing and Voilà- new human! 

RX Bars: Always bring snacks in case you sleep through meal service or don’t like the food. Any snack bar will do, but RX Bars are my favorite for long trips because they can get absolutely smashed in your bag and still be fine.

Water bottle: There is very little moisture on airplanes and it’s easy to get dehydrated! I always bring an extra bottle of water or two, and I make a few trips to the back of the planes to get a cup of water from the flight attendants (keeps you moving!)

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