Barter for a Bed at Italian B&B

If you’re short on cash but with some kind of marketable skill — photography, a foreign language, accounting — a Milan bed and breakfast just may be the ticket.

At Bed & Breakfast Porta Garibaldi in central Milan you can trade your talents for a place to sleep year round. The idea is the brainchild of owner Alessandra Maggioli, who also lets the studio apartment which can sleep a couple or two singles for 90 to 130 euros a night pictured above. So far Maggioli has accepted a case of good wine for a weekend, a painting by a young artist and another guest is helping her design a web site.

If you don’t need a place to crash in Milan but would like to barter plan ahead: there’s a whole circuit of Bel Paese B&Bs that for one week a year accept trades instead of cash. This year it falls from November 15-21, you can check out offers on the website.

Smart swappers may want to stay where it’s warmer or where there’s something nearby to do — nothing worse than a seaside town shut down for fall — but the idea is a good one.

An easy swap that comes to mind would be a quick, accurate translation of individual B&B websites in English or other languages.