A very special time of the year for travelers is right around the corner. And no, we’re not talking about Thanksgiving or Christmas. We’re talking about Barter Week, of course.
For those who aren’t familiar, Barter Week only happens once a year. During this seven-day stretch, from Nov. 18 to Nov. 24, you can stay in a handful of accommodations (largely inns and small bed and breakfasts) around the world in exchange for some requested services. Think: writing skills, English lessons, photography, even tango lessons — any skills you have that you can offer up in place of cash.
As the official Barter Week website says, “The more you have or you know, the more you can offer.”
Barter Week debuted in 2018 with approximately 600 participating from 60 countries, according to a statement. It was inspired by the Italian Barter Week, which has been returning once a year for more than a decade.
According to Lifehacker, the first thing you’ll want to do is browse the Barter Week website, check out some of the reviews and find a property that piques your interest. You can then review the host’s “barter wishes” which is essentially a list of goods and services they will accept in exchange for hospitality.
No matter what you want to barter, you’ll have to make your offer through the online form.
We saw this charming European-style hotel in New Orleans, only a few blocks from the French Quarter, where you can make your own offer. In North Wildwood, New Jersey, Wanda O’Brien is hoping a traveler will paint the exterior of her three-story Victorian bed and breakfast. Or head north to Montreal, Canada, where the owner of a bed and breakfast (Le Terra Nostra) is willing to exchange a free stay for a lesson in the arts.
After you make an offer, the host will either accept or reject your offer outright, or attempt to negotiate. Be prepared to haggle and, above all else, get ready to go! Just don’t forget to pack anything you might need with you to honor your agreement.
The only catch, of course, is that this special week only runs for one week, right before Thanksgiving. So, if you’ve been thinking of a last-minute getaway, now’s definitely the time. That said, however, many of the properties listed do accept bartering from guests year-round — you’ll just have to do a little research on the Barter Week site. (Il Borghetto, in Florence, Italy, is one such example.)
Because Barter Week’s origins can be traced to Italy, you’ll find the most options there; a whopping 407, to be exact. There are also 28 in the U.K., a dozen in Switzerland, 11 in the U.S., eight in South Africa and another eight in India. You can also search by city if your heart is set on a certain destination.
Would you trade your talents for a free stay? With so many options to choose from, you’re bound to find something that works for you.