Here’s How You Can Travel for Free in Exchange for Simple Household Chores

barter week

From November 18 to 24, you can enjoy free accommodation in hotels and guesthouses all across the globe as part of Barter Week

Barter Week is described as an ‘event without borders’. The initiative, in its second year, asks travellers who take part to offer up their skills and expertise in exchange for a free stay.  

All guests have to do to lock down a free holiday is “offer manual, learning or creative activities, or bring the B&B something from home”. This could entail anything from DIY handiwork and creative expertise to educational workshops or a coveted vintage comic book. 

Some examples of the goods, services and swappable skills include bricklaying, bartending, cooking, interior design, dance lessons, gardening, translating, handiwork, tattooing, content production, and consulting.

In some cases, you may also be able to offer a swap of items in exchange for a stay; things like books, furniture, bikes, food and drinks, appliances, and instruments.

Right now, a charming 19th-century guest house in a snowy village of East Switzerland is offering up free hospitality in exchange for a variation of DIY handiwork. 

“We are happy to exchange bed and breakfast for all sorts of jobs for a handyman,” the owners write. “We are renovating our house and have all kinds of work to do. Curious to see what skills you have on offer. We can arrange the length of the stay according to the size of the job.”

barter week
Enjoy a Swiss escape in exchange for light handiwork. Picture: Barter Week

A villa complete with a pool in the Italian province of Perugia is also available for a free stay in exchange for landscaping duties that include the pruning of fruit plants, hedges, wood harvesting and forest clearing. 

italy barter week
All this for some simple hedge trimming. Picture: Barter Week

And over in Brittany, France, the owners of a rural farmhouse are seeking a confident cook to teach them how to use their newly purchased pizza oven. 

barter week france
The owners of a French farmhouse will happily host guests who can teach them to make pizza. Picture: Barter Week

In some occasions, you can even offer up a full house swap, like the one from the movie The Holiday, which sees Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Jack Black all find their own version of a dysfunctional happily ever after. 

The owners of a modern penthouse apartment with a rooftop terrace in the heart of Vienna are seeking accommodations in San Francisco over Christmas in exchange for free hospitality in their gorgeous home, but they’d also consider a professional photoshoot session with makeup included as a worthy exchange. 

vienna penthouse
Rooftop parties at this Vienna pad would be epic. Picture: Barter Week

Though International Barter Week runs for just a short period in November, many of the B&Bs on the site will accept a helping hand for free holidays throughout all months of the year. 

All participating guest homes have their places listed on the official Barter Week site with the services they’ll consider. If you’re interested to take part, it’s simply a matter of seeking out a stay and negotiating services. 

You can also sort out potential stays by searching for a particular service, like house painting or pizza-making. 

You’re welcome!