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Thursday, October 18, 2012

No cash? Barter for your vacation

All these talk of “staycation” and bunking with in-laws as ways to go on vacation on a budget is getting out of hand.  What’s next?  Hitchhiking to your destination? If you are short on cash, don’t compromise on what you want to do for you vacation – just get it by bartering.

Bartering has been going on long before money was commonplace. Back then, a bag of wool might have been exchanged for an ax. Today, bartering has taken on a new twist – allowing cash-strapped vacationers to go on the trip of their dream.

Here are some ways you can barter:
  • Exchange lodging for lodging – when you go on vacation, your home is most likely vacant.  Why not exchange that vacancy for someone else’s empty house. Serviceslike http://www.homeexchange.com/ can help you find a match easier.  You may have to be flexible on where you stay, but the chance of finding someone in the outskirt of New York City looking to stay in the outskirt of Los Angeles and vice versa shouldn’t be all that hard.
  • Exchange services for lodging – this method works best on small business owners and for destinations that are close to where you live.  For example, approach a bed and breakfast owner and ask to exchange your interior design skill for a free weekend.  Or entrance to a private golf club and free rentals for some I.T. services.
  • Exchange with family and friends – have a relative that works for a large airline?  Ask them if you can get steep discounts on tickets through them as the employee and in return you can do their taxes for them for free.  Know a friend that works for a resort in the woods or on the lake near you?  Ask them to book your rooms at cost and in return you will give them some comp meals at the restaurant you work for.
  • Use a barter exchange service – when all else fails, you can use a barter exchange service such as http://www.itex.com/, where you can earn “barter credits” for offering your services.  You can then redeem them for other services within the network.
Of course there are limitations to bartering for your vacation.  If you work in a waste management facility, there will be fewer opportunities for you to barter.  However, with some determination and savvy selling skills, you can be well on your way to cash-free vacation!

About the author: Noc writes for Travel Advantage Network, which offers a whole vacation programs to families and individuals, which help creates lifelong vacation memories.