My daughter, who had moved across the country to Victoria, B.C., was performing last year at the prestigious Salsa Congress, in New York City. The event was being held in a high end hotel in the heart of the Broadway Theater District, where accommodations were not only expensive , but hard to even come by. It had been over a year since I had seen my daughter and I was determined to go to New York and see her perform.
What’s a BarterMom to do?”
My daughter, Michaela, second from left, with her dance team
First, I started sourcing out barter accommodations near where the event was being held. I found one small condo located not too far away, but when I didn’t make a firm commitment it was scooped. Then I found a motel in New Jersey. That was going to be a good hour or more through New York traffic to get to the event. I had to nix that.
Finally I happened upon a luxury 3 bedroom condo on barter overlooking the harbour and within an easy commute to the venue. Through a reciprocal exchange I was able to get restaurant certificates within walking distance of the dance event, and even tickets to a Broadway show. The price for everything, even in barter dollars, was quite high. However, it was doable. Now, how to find the money to get to New York and cover my expenses while I was there? That is the challenge every barter member faces. Of course we could crack open our wallet, but once you become a barter member you quickly acquire a lifelong aversion to using cash for any purchases, but especially for travel.
Vacation at exotic locations? Stay in luxury resorts usually financially out of reach to the average traveler? Barter members love to use their barter dollars to travel. However, a common complaint is that such things as airfare and sometimes meals are not available for barter when they travel outside of their local exchange. To some this dampens their enthusiasm. To the seasoned barter member this is just another challenge, and a chance to prove their resourcefulness.
Every year I process hundreds of travel requests for members . Sometimes it is for a business trip to a nearby city. Sometimes it is further afield to visit friends and family. It is also not uncommon to book business owners into hotels near a convention they are attending. And then there are the members traveling for pleasure. I put them into fishing and hunting resorts, quaint Bed and Breakfasts,RV rentals, camp grounds, luxury Caribbean resorts and even Disney World.
Often members ask for meals and airfare which are difficult to include in their barter vacation package.But this does not stop the savvy barter member from getting airfare and meals covered, nevertheless.
HOW DO THEY DO THIS? HERE’S HOW:
1. When making a travel decision always include in your plans non-barter members who can make a contribution towards the final tally.
2. Find a travel property on barter which is beyond what your fellow travelers could normally afford; for example a luxury timeshare in an exclusive resort. Your barter broker can assist you in your search.
3. Book a condo with additional sleeping quarters for your guests.
4. Determine what the actual out of pocket cash cost will be to you for airfare, or gas if you are driving, and such things as booking fees and even meals.
5. Offer your guests the opportunity to enjoy this luxurious travel experience for a fraction of what they would normally pay–you will pay for the resort ( with your barter dollars) and they will give back to you an agreed upon cash amount which will cover all or part of your out of pocket cash costs.
tip--Buy a timeshare condo with your barter dollars, making sure there is room for guests. You can then enjoy all the added benefits timeshare ownership brings. Your barter broker can source a wide variety of properties for you to chose from. Even purchasing with barter dollars there are some amazing bargains out there these days.
tip–When you are traveling on barter you will have the most success when you choose a destination from among the already listed properties and packages . While I wanted to be right at my daughter’s venue, by being flexible I landed a stunning condo only a twenty minute drive away.The more flexibility, the more chances of success. When my children were young I always looked for an already listed hotel with a pool or beach, within driving distance, so we could all pile in the car and have a carefree trip. With such options as swimming, jumping on the beds and saving all the soap samples, I knew my kids would have a fun time where ever we ended up staying .
Isobel and I set off for New York! (Johanne was camera shy!)
Drawing upon my many years of experience traveling on barter I was able to keep my wallet in my pocket for my entire trip to New York. Two close friends accompanied me and their contribution covered the cash booking fee for the luxury condo, the tickets to the event, the gas for the trip , and even the tips for the meals….And with the cash surplus I picked up a beautiful pair of dance shoes! BONUS!
The view alone was worth the trip !
This year, well before the New York Salsa Congress, my buddies were ready with their wallets open, to ante up for another fun filled weekend of dance. Their wallets will have to open wider, though—my daughter is performing in Australia now!
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