Many travel writers opt to backpack all over the world, as it’s a great way to travel inexpensively and immerse yourself into a new culture.
If you’re a backpacking travel writer, the day will come when you’ll need a new backpack, however, a good, well-constucted backpack can be expensive.
You can overcome this expense by bartering your travel writing in exchange for a backpack and maybe some supplies. In today’s competitive market, many companies are looking to cut costs, and are much more open to bartering than they were in years past.
A creative Marketing or PR Manager may be willing to providing you with what you need in exchange for a review of their products and maybe a travel article or two for their website. A review from a hard-core backpacking travel writer – especially one who has had travel articles published – lends a greater credibility to your review that they will appreciate, and can create a sort of “spokesperson” cachet that you can capitalize on.
What is bartering?
Bartering has been around since the dawn of mankind, but has skyrocketed since the economy has taken a hit in recent years. In the simplest terms, bartering is the exchange of goods and services for other goods and services, instead of for cash. You can do this on your own or sign up with any number of bartering services which can be found throughout the U.S.
You can barter anything these days, and bartering your travel writing is a smart move for several reasons. First, you could receive a backpack in exchange for your writing. Second, your writing will gain exposure. Finally, you can hone your negotiation skills.
How to Barter
- Perform a Google search for outdoor gear, equipment and clothing companies or Google the word “backpacks.” Once you identify the companies that have the backpack you’d like, check to see if they are listed in any bartering directories;
- If you don’t find suppliers listed in bartering directories who are looking to trade goods in exchange for travel articles, contact the companies on your own. Start with their marketing department head and really pitch the idea that your travel writing can help them promote their products. Make sure you know how to sell yourself — this is key;
- Join a local bartering service. Do a Google search for “bartering services and bartering companies” or look in your local Yellow Pages (if you still use them). You can find these companies throughout the U.S and the world. Visit Barter News  to learn more;
- If you have a favorite LOCAL outdoor and equipment company, stop in and ask to speak to the store manager. Ask if they’d be interested in a travel article or review in exchange for a backpack. Make sure to mention that you’ve been a loyal customer for a number of years;
- Set-up the terms of the barter. Both parties must understand the deal. For example, you might write two articles of no less than 1,000 words, or perhaps you write 2 or 3 blog posts in exchange for the backpack. What is the time frame for the articles/blogs to be written? Be sure to put everything in writing.
- Don’t forget about taxes! Yep, you must report bartering on your taxes. The form you’ll need is a 1099-B. Check with your local CPA or visit IRS  for more information.
If you have a particular product supplier in mind, contact them and ask if they have a travel blog. Propose that you’ll write a couple of guest articles for their travel blog and/or a backpack review in exchange for a backpack. If you have your own travel blog, make sure you send them the link so they can read your travel writing.
Bartering your travel writing in exchange for a backpack can also produce other benefits of bartering such as networking. You could find paying jobs as a freelance travel writer for a couple of outdoor companies. In addition to travel writing, you could review the different styles of backpacks and earn extra cash at the same time. It’s another win-win situation!
Barter today and tomorrow you can be off on another travel adventure!
Have you bartered in exchange for travel writing? Share your experience!