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Although few banks in the West keep Jordanian dinars on hand, you should be able to order them with a few days' notice, and it's a good idea to bring a small supply with you, to cover visa and transportation costs on arrival and a night or two in a hotel- there are no restrictions on bringing in and taking out as much foreign or Jordanian currency as you like Unlike other Middle Eastern countries, merchants prefer to use the local money, and in most situations it's impossible to pay for goods or services in dollars.

All major Western currencies are freely convertible in Jordan, as are Israeli shekels. However, New Zealand dollars and Irish punts aren't, and you may also encounter problems with Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes. For changing cash, every town has a welter of banks, with no difference in exchange rates between them; all generally offer fast service If you want to change money outside the rather limited bank opening hours, though, you may have to sacrifice a few fils and hunt down an exchange bureau. Amman's Downtown is crammed with these, all of which are authorized and have comparable rates, a fraction lower than the banks' - but to get the best out of them you'll have to shop around and bargain hard. Other large towns generally have a few bureaux. High-denomination bills are always preferable a single $100 bill will get you a better bureau exchange rate than a hundred $1 bills. Also make sure that the notes you're carrying are as crispy and new as possible, since some bureaux automatically reject older bills as possible forgeries. There's no black market in money exchange.

As far as security goes, wads of cash are entirely safe in your pocket Whether on a crowded rush-hour bus or at 2am in a dark alley, you're in very little danger of being mugged, conned or pick pocketed. It's still prudent to split your resources between the convenience of cash and the security of either travelers' cheques or plastic.

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