If You Have Skills, You Can Stay at These Italian B&B’s for Free

Apparently, bartering is making a big comeback in the Italian bed & breakfast world – last year they held the 8th annual barter week (it’s in November). Prospective guests go on the La Settimana del Baratto (Italian for Barter Week) website and list what skills and/or goods they can offer in exchange for a room, and if a B&B likes the offer, they’ll reach out to you with a room. Potential patrons can also browse a wishlist of goods/services put up by participating B&B’s and send offers directly to management.

The establishments currently have a big range of requests, ranging from local produce from your home region, to live musical performances, or even help with business challenges like translating a website, conducting a photo shoot, or painting the shutters.

The idea of Barter Week came from an Italian B&B booking site in 2009 when they discovered a B&B was regularly accepting barter payments instead of money. Amazingly, in the first year, 1000 B&B’s signed up to try bartering for a week during slow season. In 2016, that number doubled.

Image Credit: Italy Travel and Life

Photo Credit: Italy Travel and Life

In 2015, the website logged over 10,000 requests and proposals, the number one request from B&B owners being an offer to exchange homes. The second most common request from the B&Bs was help with home improvement, followed closely by communication and marketing.

As far as those looking to travel, last year’s most common offer was help with those pesky communication projects – mostly photo and video, translations, or social media assistance. People were also very willing to assist with housework and repairs, and to give lessons in special skills ranging from knitting to belly dancing.

Perhaps the most fun to read are the unusual barters that some of the B&B’s are willing to accept. For example, Rome’s A Casa di Lia bartered two nights for a mosaic representing the helmet of Achilles. They also asked for a trained hawk on their wishlist – and were contacted by a falconer! I don’t know who’s running that place, but I totally want in.

We’ve missed Barter Week by now, but don’t worry – some B&B’s barter all year long. You can find a list on the barattobb.it site, which gives you options of about 1000 places to stay. And there’s always next year!

h/t: The Guardian