New gig economy apps that let you take on small tasks while travelling are a clever way of making a bit of extra spending money for your trip

The apps that let you earn money while you holiday

Mixing business and pleasure (Image: Gerard Launet/Plainpicture)

GETTING away from it all can be a chance to rake it in. A crop of start-ups is looking to change the way people travel by encouraging them to rent out their stuff – their car, their spare luggage space, even their skills – to those who need it.

Take Flyta, a “social shipping” company in Ottawa, Canada, that launched in April. Holidaymakers can post their travel dates and destinations, connect with strangers looking to ship something to the same spot and offer to take it for a fee.

When the company first started, CEO Farhad Khan used it to shuttle mobile phones and laptops between the offices of a software company. Now, users rely on it to receive things that are rare or expensive in their home country, such as textbooks, regional brands of food or even medical devices. The method is much cheaper than traditional shipping, says Khan. “It saves a lot of hassle.”

Carhood in Melbourne, Australia, also aims to help travellers cut costs. Rather than leave their car in the airport car park, travellers flying from Melbourne can drop it off with Carhood. While they’re gone, the company will clean and store the car for free in exchange for the right to rent it out. Since its launch earlier this year, more than 1000 people have offered up their vehicles.

“How much stuff do you have that you don’t use?” says Christian Schaefer, co-founder of Carhood. “The power of today’s economy is in ourselves and the way in which we’re learning to share things with others.”

This idea powers the “sharing” or “gig” economy: the range of online services that let people connect directly with each other thanks to modern technology. On a laptop or a smartphone you can quickly find someone with the right skills or in the right place, establish a basic level of trust via messaging or video chat, and then beam payment to them when all is done.

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