Lonely Planet Writer

Have a special skill? Trade work for a free stay at an Italian B&B this November

If you’re short on cash but willing to work, you could take a free holiday in Italy.

Sunrise in Tuscany.
Sunrise in Tuscany. Image by gehringj/Getty Images

From 14 to 20 November, Italy is celebrating La Settimana del Baratto – or Barter Week. For the duration of the week, participating B&Bs around the country will give travellers a free stay in exchange for a variety of goods and services.

B&B Notti Magiche.
B&B Notti Magiche. Image by http://www.settimanadelbaratto.it/

Prospective guests can go online, find a place they’d like to stay, and offer what they can in the hopes it would be of value to the owner. For those who are up for a trip anywhere around Italy, they can offer up anything – current pitches include artworks, a belly dance performance, and an iPod – by adding their proposal into the website.

Al Podere le Cave.
Al Podere le Cave. Image by http://www.settimanadelbaratto.it/

They will then be contacted if someone is interested in what they can provide. If you’re hoping to better your chances, the site notes that what many B&Bs need is quality photo or video shoots, or small-scale maintenance work on their property.

Frantoio di Cannoreto.
Frantoio di Cannoreto. Image by http://www.settimanadelbaratto.it/

If you’re hoping to secure a match, many establishments add what they would like from a guest to a wishlist, and prospective guests can see if they’ve got it. Many of the owners are looking for things like photographers to take pictures 0f their property, and bikes – and many hosts are actually looking for a holiday themselves, with requests posted for a home exchange in destinations like Norway or Glasgow.

Il Giglio B&B Wellness.
Il Giglio B&B Wellness, Italian B&B. Image by http://www.settimanadelbaratto.it/

The initiative is led by the Italian site www.bed-and-breakfast.it, and there is also a Facebook page for La Settimana del Baratto where people can post their offers.

Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Cuneo district, Grinzane Cavour, Vineyards and castle.
Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Cuneo district, Grinzane Cavour, Vineyards and castle. Image by Peter Adams/Getty Images

But since the week might also mean some stiff competition from other eager travellers, it’s worth noting that many B&Bs actually take part in a barter system year-round, and participating spots can be found here.