I’ve always been attracted to Arabic countries and honestly told I am not sure why exactly. It might be for the smells, it might be for the colors or just for the shinning women’s eyes, which don’t reveal much, unless they want to. But it might also be for the costs – I’ve always managed to travel super low budget there.
Traveling around the Middle East and Northern African countries taught me how to bargain long, good and intense. Actually, because of my bargaining skills, I have managed to travel around these countries super cheap. It does help to know few basic Arab words, not being arrogant and have lots of time. It also helps if you are a women. Knowing when to use “inshallah” will get you far as well!
If you did travel around the Middle East and Northern Africa, you have surely noticed that majority of the buildings have flat roofs, which look like being unfinished. Believe it or not, but this “unfinished” look has its own meaning – avoiding taxes on finished houses, simple build-up in case of more family members and additional earnings from low budget travelers.
Lots of locals re-do their rooftops as some kind of accommodations for low budget travelers. These kinds of accommodations are always the cheapest to stay in. Few mattresses, blankets and everything is ready to use. Don’t look strange if you will be sleeping in the middle of a satellite dish, water tanks and lots of other useless stuff.
But of course some rooftops are better looking than the others. Some even have a roof above the mattresses and some have better locations than others. Everything influence on the price as well. You can get a simple rooftop accommodation for just 1, 2, maybe 3 Euros or you can also pay 8 or 9€ per night.
All rooftop accommodations have shared bathrooms and toilets. As a bonus you will be awaken by the first morning muezzin call, which attracts worshipers to the first daily prayers. The rooftop is also often used as a hanging place for other guests, staying in private rooms, so you might have some problems if you are going to bed early. But hey, you know why you are doing this – after all, saving few bucks means a lot when traveling low budget.
Some tips for rooftop accommodations
- It’s best to have your own sleeping bag as mattresses and blankets are often dirty
- The rooftop does get a breeze of fresh air during the night, what is nice in the beginning, but after few hours this can ruin your sleep. Have something with you to cover your head – I always have a scarf to cover myself anyway.
- If you are a woman make sure to change your clothes in the hall or in the bathroom, as otherwise you will be starred at from curious men, looking down on you from taller, surrounding buildings.
- Bargain well for the price – especially if you will stay more than one night.
- Watch out for your valuables, money and documents. I have never had any bad experience, but better being safe than sorry.
- Enjoy the freedom, the views, the stars, the smells and all the sounds from the street. Very authentic!
Sleeping on rooftops is an extreme low budget accommodation, but it is one of the best and priceless travel experiences of mine. Now I am not into such low budget traveling anymore, but I often think about these old times. It sure was fun and unforgettable!