Would you be open to the idea of “making your trip pay for itself” if you could carry an item or package on board with you when you travel and then deliver it to someone in your destination?
I recently stumbled across an interesting Facebook ad for AirWayBill, which is a service that connects shippers to travelers to act as couriers during their own travels. Carriers receive 80% of the shipping fee and AirWayBill gets 20%. AWB takes care of all the transactions.
It’s no surprise that the sharing-economy is growing; there’s a peer-to-peer marketplace for everything, and now even shipping.
Of course the first two words that come to mind to me is “drug mule”, but that’s not at all how this service is intended to be marketed as.
According to the “About Us” section of the AirWayBill site, here’s the scoop:
Of course, there’s definitely risk associated with hand-delivering something across the world to a stranger- safety and legality aside- but AWB states that the carrier is held liable for the full value of the item if it doesn’t make it to the intended destination.
In theory, while I like the idea that AWB is trying to market- efficiently allowing travelers to help someone out along the way while getting compensated for doing so, I’m not sure it’s worth the risk and hassle… especially for unseasoned or naive travelers who are unaware of customs laws or any legal troubles they may run into while trying to make some extra cash to pay for their trip.
I mean, so many things could go wrong… such as that “hard-to-find medicine” mention above. It just seems like a gray area for me that may turn a service with a good intention bad for some people for the right price.
Plus, we live in a world that I feel is connected enough, with shipping solutions for almost every need. I’ll leave my shipping to the professionals.
I personally will be sitting out on this, but would love to hear from those who would consider doing this or have done so in the past. What are your thoughts?