For one week in November, travelers will be able to stay in bed and breakfasts across Italy for free.
As part of Settimana del Baratto, or “Barter Week,” bed and breakfasts across Italy are participating in an exchange with their guests.
B&B owners post their wish list to the Barter Week website, and travelers can browse through properties either by location or service requested.
Owners’ wishes are varied: Some are looking for fresh produce or meals from another country, others are hoping for live musical performances or translation services. It’s also possible to contact owners separately and negotiate a stay in exchange for services other than what they’ve asked.
Barter Week started in 2009, when the bookings site bed-and-breakfast.it found that one of the owners listed on their site accepted unusual barters as form of payment. The first year there were about 1,000 listings, and that number has since doubled. Properties span Italy’s 20 regions, including Sicily, Tuscany, and Sardinia.
Last year, travelers and hosts sent in more than 10,000 requests and proposals for Barter Week, according to The Guardian. About 25 percent of B&B owners requested travel as form of payment, offering a night at their property in exchange for a night somewhere else. But the most commonly proposed barter from travelers (37 percent) was help in marketing and communications, either taking pictures, translating, or helping with social media.
For those unable to make it to Italy next month, the B&B listing site BarattoBB posts exchanges available year-round.
Italy seems to be in the business of making dreams come true as of late. Those who really want to get the whole magical experience should try to get a free night at a B&B near the newly-installed wine fountain in Abruzzo.