How To Barter For Transportation

By James Harvey Stout (deceased). This material is now in the public domain. The complete collection of Mr. Stout's writing is now at >


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  1. We can barter for ownership or leasing of a car or truck.
  2. We can barter for repairs and maintenance.
  3. We can barter for fuel.
  4. We can barter for air transportation.
  5. We can "car-pool." 
  6. Boats, too, can be acquired by bartering.
  7. We can find other ways to travel for free.  
  8. We can barter for other types of transportation.     

We can barter for ownership or leasing of a car or truck.

  1. We barter for a vehicle whenever we "trade in" our own old vehicle (plus cash) for another vehicle.
  2. We might receive a vehicle as a "job benefit" (i.e., a barter deal in which we are exchanging a portion of our work for this vehicle instead of the equivalent amount of money). This type of benefit is common for executives (in government or business), and for people who are employed by car dealerships.
  3. We can barter directly for the vehicle -- paying with barter-club units, or with our goods or services. For example, a car dealer (or a private owner) might be willing to accept payment in the form of a boat, machinery, advertising (e.g., radio ads for the dealership), landscaping, business supplies, or anything else which would be useful. (If we are paying with units, we might be able to get a loan from the barter club.)
  4. If we are already making payments on a vehicle, we can trade that vehicle (with its remaining debt) for a less-expensive vehicle which is paid off. Or we can sell our current vehicle for cash, and buy another one with units; we will still have a debt, but it will be in the form of units, not cash.

We can barter for repairs and maintenance. This can be done through a one-to-one trade, or through a barter club. In one club's directory, there are 95 listings of companies which provide and maintain vehicles. The listings were in these categories: auto body repair, brakes and alignment, customizing, detailing, mufflers, painting, parts and accessories, radiators, radio and stereo repairs, rentals/leasing, repairs and service, sales (new and used), towing, transmissions, upholstery, washing and polishing, and wheel alignments.

We can barter for fuel.

  1. We can make a deal with a gas-station owner. For example, one dentist provided services to a gas-station owner in exchange for a few hundred gallons of gas.
  2. To get more mileage from our fuel, we can barter for a tune-up, a new carburetor, or other gas-saving improvements in our vehicle.
  3. We barter whenever we use a self -service gas pumps. Our labor (i.e., pumping our own gas) is a form of bartering -- for an extra bit of gas per dollar.

We can barter for air transportation.

  1. Plane tickets are available through some barter clubs. For example, Republic Airlines has been a member of a barter club in Spokane, Washington; at one time, it was conducting $80,000 worth of trades per year -- offering airline seats to the club's members, to earn units to pay for hotel rooms for flight crews.
  2. We can barter for the plane itself. For example, the Exchange Enterprises office in Salt Lake City paid $40,000 worth of the club's units to buy an airplane.

We can "car-pool." Car-pooling can be an easy barter: "I'll drive today, and you will drive tomorrow." If only one person has a car, though, try another deal: the other person might buy some of the gas in exchange for the privilege of riding. We can consider these ideas regarding car-pooling:

  1. For local trips, we can put ads on bulletin boards or in classified ads. For example, if we want to create a car-pool to go to work each day, we would put a notice on bulletin boards at the office (or in the company newsletter), and we would use word-of-mouth to tell co-workers about our interest in car-pooling.
  2. If we will be car-pooling over a longer distance, again we can use a newspaper ad (in categories such as Travel or Opportunities), and we can also use bulletin boards throughout our community. Some universities have bulletin boards which are solely for car-pooling; the students want to go home for holidays and weekends, and they need (or they offer) transportation.
  3. Consider the benefits of car-pooling. We save money. And we gain companionship, conversation, assistance with the driving (so that we will not become fatigued), faster progress (because one person can sleep while the other person drives), safety (because a criminal might be less likely to attack a car which has more than one person in it), and some assistance with map-reading and navigation.
  4. Consider the problems. We might have difficulty in coordinating our schedules (particularly if the person is asking for a round trip, such that we have to coordinate both the departure and the return). Our rider might cause problems -- perhaps small problems such as boring conversation and irritating personal habits, or big problems such as an intent to rob us and hurt us. We also need to consider the legal ramifications: possible lawsuits (particularly if our rider is injured in an accident), and our car insurance (which might not cover us if the other person is driving when an accident occurs). In addition, if our car-pooling grants us a profit (in cash or barter), our car might then be considered a "taxi" and thus susceptible to the laws regarding taxis (whether we are driving locally or across state lines).

Boats, too, can be acquired by bartering. Columbus acquired his three ships (the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria) by bartering, when Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand said, "We will give you the ships if you will give us the bounty which you obtain." In our modern era, boats are bartered through classified ads such as these:

  1. "Will trade 18' boat in exchange for video camera."
  2. "Will trade ski boat for down payment on a waterfront condo."

We can find other ways to travel for free.

  1. We can get a job in which we will be able to travel. In some occupations, traveling is part of the job -- in business, the military, politics, airlines, the travel industry, the arts (e.g., when a musician is "on tour"), etc. Unfortunately, some of those trips are strictly work-related, with no time for sightseeing and other pleasures.
  2. We can be a trip coordinator. Even if we are not travel-industry professionals, we can coordinate trips for groups. We advertise the trip in a newspaper, and then we plan the agenda, and the hotel and restaurant reservations. In exchange for our work, we receive free transportation, meals, and lodging during the trip.

We can barter for other types of transportation. One barter-club directory had listings for motorcycles (parts, sales, and accessories), recreational vehicles (parts and rentals), aircraft (sales, rentals, repairs), airline (charter), truck rentals and leasing, bicycles, boat repairs, car rentals, sailing lessons, and flight instruction. At one time, World Tradex Corporation said that its barterable items included a Greyhound bus, and "helicopters (used) ready for shipment."