Swap stops: Barter Week offers ‘free’ stays in exchange for skills

With properties in more than 60 countries, the world’s first Barter Week will allow the budget-conscious to swap goods or expertise for accommodation

Budget-conscious travellers who embrace the sharing economy as a source of affordable trips will appreciate an new initiative launching in November offering “free” accommodation around the world. For Barter Week (19-25 November) more than 450 properties in 60 countries have signed up to offer hospitality in return for goods or services instead of cash – whether that’s painting a wall, teaching a language or even providing homemade chutneys.

Hosts list rooms online alongside requests, or “wishes”, and potential guests can search for properties by country and barter directly, at no cost. If a property listing doesn’t include a wish list, travellers can suggest a barter of their own, from tango lessons to collectible items such as comics or antiques. The host then accepts, rejects or negotiates until a fair exchange is agreed, including how long guests would be expected to work, and the length of the stay.

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