Lonely Planet Writer

New online sharing site offers language lessons for a bed in 114 countries

A ground-breaking barter system for exchanging language lessons in return for free accommodation has already spread to 114 different countries.

GoCambio website
GoCambio website

GoCambio, the brainchild of an Irish brother and sister, is looking to expand its services even further later this year to move beyond just language exchange.

With 6500 members already signed up to the service, the website is now set to move into Phase Two in November offering swaps based on other useful skills like cooking, surfing, and even salsa dancing.

GoCambio told Lonely Planet: ‘[We asked ourselves] why people pay so much for travel and why people pay so much for language lessons and was there a way to connect these two people.

‘With [Phase 2] it is not only your native language that you can trade for accommodation but any skill … after all, everyone has something worth sharing.’

Bariloche, Argentina.
Swap language lessons for accommodation with new sharing site. Image by Danielle Pereira / CC BY 2.0

GoCambio is an entirely free service and for the moment, you can sign up as either a host looking for somebody to teach you another language, or as a guest willing to sacrifice two hours a day of your holiday to help somebody learn.

The system has the added bonus of letting guests get immersed in a different culture and on some exchanges, they will even get home-cooked meals.

The website also offers a short training course with hints and tips for guests on how best to help somebody learn a language.

In advance of any exchange, GoCambio recommends a conversation by Skype and checking out social media for both the guest and the host to help make sure they are compatible.

As well as that, people who have already travelled or hosted and made a good impression can build up positive reviews over time.

Although the service was only launched in March, GoCambio’s founders Ian O’Sullivan and Deirdre Bounds have ambitions for a million users by the end of 2016.

‘We want to revolutionise the way people travel and the way people learn and make cambioing a globally recognised verb,’ they said.

The company has also vowed that the GoCambio service will remain free to use and stay part of the online sharing community.