When it comes to travel, it can be time-consuming and expensive. But with the right guidance, help – and a bit of thinking outside the box – there are ways to make it a far more accessible pastime.

One way, for business owners, is through Bartercard, which has world-wide members all willing to swap their skills and services with other businesses.

This is particularly so for restaurants and hotels wanting to fill up any gaps they have in trading. Instead of charging other Bartercard members cash for their bookings, they will take ‘trade pounds’ – or dollars, euros, etc. – which they, in turn, can spend on resources they might need.

Bartercard started in Australia, which is now one of the most active trading countries in the world. A recent visitor to Sydney and Melbourne, Hannah Jones, remarked on how easy – and cost-effective – it was to travel around the cities knowing that she could pay for hotel rooms and meals out using her barter money.

Before she set off, she consulted with a Bartercard Travel specialist who helped link her up with relevant traders who could supply accommodation, food and transport.

‘This saved my cash and also allowed me to treat my family and hosts at Bartercard restaurants. The cost to me was significantly lower than paying the full cash price.’

Hannah had accumulated trade money through her media business and as such the actual value of the dollars was a fraction of the cash value.

‘It costs me about 20p to generate a trade pound, so when I spent AUS $100 on a meal the cost to me was less than £15. It allowed me to see far more of Australia than I otherwise could afford.’

She also enlisted the help of a Sydney Chauffeur, Abraham of AMG Limos, and paid for a number of journeys through the Bartercard system.

‘Not only was this invaluable in terms of his knowledge, but the cost would have been in excess of $800 dollars for the various journeys – including collection to and from the airport. He showed us the best places to go and gave us so much information, all because we were connected by the Bartercard business. It is like a worldwide club.’

Hannah bought wine as a gift for her hosts on her account via the Sydney Franchisee and also visited Melbourne, again saving cash when she paid for meals at restaurants with her card and trade account.

While in Melbourne she stayed at the Captain’s Retreat in Williamstown – an award-winning B and B run by Melissa who offered her a warm welcome, again thanks to the shared interest in trade.

‘By referring to Bartercard, we gained access to information that is otherwise unavailable to average tourists. This was by far the greatest asset of being a member, although the cost savings are also considerable.’

Many other countries are part of the system; plus there are properties throughout the world available for rent, on trade, through the membership – including hotels and villas in Thailand, Spain, Greece, France, across the UK and more.

‘The experience of visiting Australia was made unique because of my membership of Bartercard,’ said Hannah.