Introduction and Background
We wanted to kick off our Trip Report on our recent visit to Cyprus & Jordan by publishing our itinerary for the trip. I love the travel planning process, and I always think it’s helpful to have some guidance on what makes sense in terms of sequencing the activities for a trip.
A little background about our trip planning is in order, as it’ll help readers understand why we made some of our travel choices:
For the past 3 years, we’ve traveled to Europe around the Thanksgiving holiday, plus or minus a week or two. We went to Geneva in 2016; Paris in 2017; and London in 2018. We’ve found this to be a great time to travel to Europe, in the sense that crowds are light and rates are lower. The downside to traveling at this time of year in Europe, though, is that it’s generally pretty chilly.
So, in thinking about a trip for 2019, we wondered whether we could get the benefits of the light crowds and low rates but go someplace warmer. This focus led us to Cyprus, an island nation in the far eastern Mediterranean Sea. Cyprus would be temperate for a November trip. And, we’d learned a little bit about Cyprus a couple of years earlier when Middle Age Miles son Andrew considered doing a study abroad program there, which had piqued our interest in going someday.
Once we were focused on Cyprus as a destination, we began exploring other options in the region, as we felt like a full week-plus on Cyprus might be too long. At one point we considered Dubai and a stay at the Al Maha Resort, when it was still available for 60,000 Marriott points per night, and a return flight from Dubai to Houston in Emirates First Class using Alaska miles. Availability issues made Dubai too complicated, though, so it wasn’t a good fit for our preferred travel dates. We also realized, though, that one of our bucket-list travel destinations, Petra, would be within relatively easy reach once we were already in Cyprus, so we focused on Petra and the country of Jordan for the second part of our trip.
We knew that we would have 8 full days for our trip. Ideally, we would have split the days evenly, 4 in Cyprus and 4 in Jordan. But there’s only 1 airline that flies direct between Cyprus (Larnaca/LCA) and Jordan (Amman/AMM), Royal Jordanian – and it didn’t operate a direct LCA-AMM flight on the “middle” date of our trip. This meant that we needed to choose which country would get 3 days and which would get 5. We eventually decided on 5 in Jordan, as we knew that we’d have a fair bit of extra travel time there to get ourselves back and forth between Amman, where our flights would be, and Petra, which is a few hours to the south.
Within Jordan, we also made an important choice – immediately upon arrival into AMM, we would transit directly to Petra and spend the night there before our visit to the Petra site the next day. This seemed to be a bit non-standard, as most of the packages we saw online were oriented toward what would be a *very long* day trip from Amman to visit Petra. If we transited to Petra right away, we could get to the site early and hopefully beat the crowds. This turned out to be an excellent decision.
This itinerary is in line with one of our main travel-planning tenets, which is to generally try to plan for one major activity per day. This helps keep us from getting overwhelmed and stressed. Plus, it usually gives us some flexibility. If there’s additional time aside from our major activity, we can fill in the extra time with things we see along the way that look interesting.
We’ll have more details on our bookings and how we got great value on this trip in our next Trip Report article. That article will also include how we deviated from one of our usual travel philosophies – we usually travel independently, renting a car or catching a train when we want to take day trips outside our main destination; however, for the Jordan piece of this trip, we used a local travel agency, Petra Nights Tours, to provide drivers and guides within Jordan. That turned out to be a very good decision for us.
Itinerary for 10-Day Cyprus & Jordan Trip
Here’s our itinerary for our 10-day Cyprus & Jordan trip:
Day 1 – Thursday 11/14/19
- Flight from DFW to London LHR, on our way to Cyprus (Larnaca/LCA)
- AA 50 – depart DFW 6:05 pm – arrive LHR 9:20 am (Fri 11/15)
Day 2 – Friday 11/15/19
- Transit LHR
- Breakfast at Galleries First Lounge – LHR Terminal 5
- We would have access to the Galleries First Lounge by virtue of holding AA Executive Platinum/OneWorld Emerald status
- Flight from LHR to LCA
- AA 6394/BA 662 – depart LHR 11:45 am – arrive LCA 6:25 pm
- Pick up rental car from Hertz & drive to hotel (about 40 minutes)
- Hotel: Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Limassol, Cyprus (3 nights)
Day 3 – Saturday 11/16/19
- Breakfast at Parklane hotel
- Visit the ancient Roman ruins at Paphos Archeological Park (about 1 hour away from the Parklane)
- Afternoon – Enjoy the Spa and Parklane Resort
- Dinner at Daphne restaurant at the Parklane
Day 4 – Sunday 11/17/19
- Fitness center at the Parklane
- Late breakfast/brunch at the Parklane
- Drive into the Troodos Mountains (about 45-60 minutes each way)
- Dinner & evening at Parklane
Note: Our drive into the Troodos Mountains and hike there were suggested by the staff at the Parklane. We had originally planned to drive into the capital city, Nicosia, and explore there (about an hour each way from the Parklane), including crossing over into Northern Cyprus at Ledra Street Crossing. We were told, though, that Nicosia was a mess because of lots of construction, and that driving and parking in the city might be difficult there because of the construction. We’re still not sure if we made the right choice. We had a pleasant day in the mountains, but we would have liked to make the crossing into Northern Cyprus for that unique experience.
Day 5 – Monday 11/18/19
- Fitness center & breakfast at Parklane
- 9:30 am – Depart Parklane for LCA airport
- Return rental car to Hertz
- Flight from LCA to Amman/AMM
- Royal Jordanian (RJ) 134 – depart LCA 12:30 pm – arrive AMM 1:35 pm
- Meet person retained by Petra Nights Tours to assist us with arrival visa for Jordan and hand us off to our driver
- Transit from AMM to Petra
- Google Maps says this is about 3 hours, but it was more like 4½ to 5 hours for us
- Hotel: Petra Marriott (1 night)
- Dinner at Petra Marriott
Day 6 – Tuesday 11/19/19
- Visit Petra site
- Guided tour booked through Petra Nights Tours
- We were picked up from the Petra Marriott at 7:00 am and arrived at the Petra Visitors Center by 7:20 am
- We finished at Petra around 2:00 pm
- Transit from Petra to Marriott Dead Sea Resort & Spa (about 3 hours)
- Hotel: Marriott Dead Sea Resort & Spa, Sweimeh, Jordan (4 nights)
Day 7 – Wednesday 11/20/19
- A day to relax and recover at the Marriott Dead Sea Resort & Spa
- Explore the resort
- Swim and float in the Dead Sea
- Visit the Spa
Day 8 – Thursday 11/21/19
- Day tour – Ajloun Castle & extensive Roman ruins at Jerash
- The day tour was arranged through Petra Nights Tours, with a driver
- Pick-up was at 8:00 am, and we arrived back at the Marriott Dead Sea at 4:45 pm – lots of driving, and it was a long day
- Our driver also took us on a brief driving tour of parts of Amman on our return, including seeing the outskirts of the Jordanian Royal Residence, Al-Maquar
Day 9 – Friday 11/22/19
- Day tour of religious sites:
- Baptism Site – where Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan
- Mt. Nebo – where Moses viewed the Promised Land
- Madaba – St. George’s Church & Madaba Archeological Park
- Shopping at Madaba-area markets
- As before, the day tour was arranged through Petra Nights Tours, with a driver
- Pick-up was at 8:00 am, and we arrived back at the Marriott Dead Sea around 2:30 pm
- Relax for the rest of the day & evening at the Marriott Dead Sea Resort
Day 10 – Saturday 11/23/19
- 6:30 am – Pick-up at Marriott Dead Sea & transit to AMM airport
- Flights from AMM to DFW, with a layover at Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
- RJ 263 – depart AMM 9:40 am – arrive ORD 2:45 pm
- Admirals Club during layover at ORD
- AA 581 – depart ORD 5:21 pm – arrive DFW 7:51 pm
Everyone’s trip and everyone’s tastes are different. For that reason, we don’t necessarily recommend that people travel in our exact footsteps or believe that our method of travel planning is “better” than anyone else’s. That said, we put a fair bit of effort into our travel planning, and we hope that our thought processes and resulting itineraries are helpful to readers planning their own dream trips. We certainly hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our planning process and itinerary for our Cyprus & Jordan trip!
What do you think about the itinerary for this trip and our planning style? What other tips do you have for travel planning for Cyprus and/or Jordan? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!
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