Barter: The new way to travel

If you live with an itching desire to travel the world, but your bank account is a constant black hole, then we suggest you travel smart and get your holiday sponsored!

How many times have you compromised on your dream of travelling places because you can’t afford it? And with the crashing economic scenario travelling, even within the country, can be a luxury for a lot of us. Don’t be heartbroken with this sudden slap from reality as we tell you a smart way to travel without having to spend too much money and yet getting to explore the destination as a traveller.  

Trade your skill: If you have a skill that you can teach trade it to travel. So if you are a photographer, for instance, who wants to travel to Ooty, find someone there who might be interested in learning photography from you! In return this student of yours will bear the travelling expenses, stay and food. If finding someone in Ooty sounds far-fetched to you then find someone in your own city who would be interested in coming with you on this holiday and during the course of your trip you teach that person photography. Similarly for writers, get your trips sponsored by travel agencies/ websites or magazines. So whatever skill you have, be it cooking, singing, dancing, any sports, sailing or even accounting for that matter, teach your trick to someone who would help you travel.

Watch out: When trading your skills, demarcate the limits. So if you are a writer define the word count or page count before you go for that trip. Keep the communication over the e-mail so that you don’t get into any kind of trouble. Prefer travelling with someone who you know through a reference. 

Organise a group tour: There are two ways to go about with this: get in touch with a travel company or do it all by yourself. Decide on a destination that you would want to visit or even re-visit. Do a detailed research on that place and know it like a local would. Post this you can propose any travel company the idea of your tour where you become the guide for the people travelling. The other way to go about with it is organise a group of people who would be interested in your idea. You be their guide while they pay for your travel. 

What out: If you plan on selling your idea to a travel agent don’t disclose the location or itinerary in your first meeting. Make sure they are interested in your idea and only then get into details. While independently taking a group to a new place, be prepared for a lot of running around. Don’t be just a guide but also make travel bookings and everything else that an actually tour co-ordinator would do.

Find a Host: We doubt your passion for travelling if you do not know about couch surfing. It is website (more like a community) where you can meet people who are as interested in knowing other cultures as you. When you travel overseas and stay at a hotel you are a complete stranger to that country. With couch surfing you stay with a local and know their culture with a whole new perspective. The host will never charge you to stay or eat at their place. Get them to show you around and do the same when they visit you! There are Indians staying all over the world. Get in touch the community centres there to find a house you can stay at.  

Watch out: Couch surfing is completely safe and people listed on it are verified users. Speak to the person you are planning to stay with beforehand. See if you would be able to adjust with them or not. Be kind and help the host with domestic work and carry a gift as a token of appreciation.


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