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Can't afford a hotel? This startup lets you trade your language skills for a comfy bed

Trade two hours of language-training for one night’s bed-and-board… Not a bad idea, right?

Image: Shutterstock/soft_light

AS THE NEVER-ENDING story that is the Greek debt crisis rumbles on – it makes sense that some people are resorting to slightly more basic economic models.

Barter, for instance.

Good old-fashioned barter.

A new company, based in Youghal in Co Cork, is bringing together travellers and would-be hosts.

The basic idea: you trade two hours of language-training for one night’s bed-and-board.

Go Cambio’s website launched back in March, and already over 4,000 people have registered their interest in some 95 countries around the world.

It’s the brainchild of UK entrepreneur Deirdre Bounds, who sold her gap-year travel company i-to-i for £20 million back in 2007.

“The idea for GoCambio came to us while out for a Sunday walk along a cliff in County Waterford,” she explains on the startup’s website.

“We asked ourselves why people paid so much money for language lessons abroad and talked about how difficult it was to even find a conversational language tutor.

We knew that hundreds of thousands of people around the world wanted to improve their ability in speaking a foreign language. And we also knew that there are hundreds of thousands of people who travel independently each year.

“So we thought if we could connect a few of those people, we could make a real difference.”

Sounds like an alright plan, right?

Their user-friendly website can be navigated here – and the company’s already employing six people in the Cork town.

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But how do they make money?

“That’s the first thing people always ask us,” a spokesperson says, over the phone.

“We are looking at a few different options that we may implement in the future, but GoCambio will always be free for our community to use.”

It’s planned people will be able to offer other skills in return for accommodation, in the next version of the website (due in September). Anything from “surfing to salsa dancing” apparently.

Read: Inside the dilapidated Haughey estate that is due to be turned into a resort

Read: These hotels look nothing like the photos they post on their websites 

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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