I’ve been a delivery girl ever since I started traveling. My first ever trip was to Japan when I was 15, and my mother gave me extra cash to bring home a year’s supply of matcha (green tea). On my next trip abroad, I flew off with a highly specific list of instructions as to which designer clothes my sister wanted from Italy.
Delivery girl is actually the wrong title – if we’re getting technical, I much prefer ‘international shopper’. Except that you don’t get paid when taking orders for friends and family!
Whether it’s macroons from Paris, or Harem Pants from Bali, there are just some products that are widely unavailable or wildly expensive in your home country. And as a frequent traveler, I’ve been well positioned to pick up goods in other countries.
Yes, it was out of love that I shopped for my sisters in London, would buy my brother the latest American drones, and pick up a Japanese sumo loincloth for my cousin (I don’t ask questions!!). But what if you could connect with people who were willing to pay you for the service?!
Grabr is exactly that; a peer-to-peer marketplace that has exploded since 2016, connecting travelers to shoppers as a way of monetizing the extra space in your luggage!
Grabr Review: Earn Money Delivering Products to Shoppers Abroad!
What is Grabr
Quite simply, Grabr (grabr.io/travel) is the coolest new way to travel more – you can earn money by shopping for products in the destination you’re visiting, and hand delivering them to shoppers along your travel route (you do have to hand deliver, you can’t cheat and use a courier).
As a shopper, you can get items that are widely unavailable or far too expensive in your home country, and get unique, hard-to-find products from anywhere in the world, at any time. You also get to connect with travelers coming to visit your home.
As a traveler the perks are pretty obvious; you can earn up to $1,000 per trip. My friend Drew made $913 from one trip to Moscow!! But you also get to extend your global community by meeting locals in different parts of the world, and the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped others.
Yes, the cash is pretty great. But there’s also a certain magic to seeing someone lose their mind over cupcake flavored toothpaste that they’ve been trying for years to find.
And we all need that level of happy in our lives!
Making Money AND Friends!
While most shoppers just want their product, it’s not uncommon for a quick delivery to turn into extra hangout time; ultimately, this is a great way to meet locals, and while you’re making money through the service, you might then get taken out for lunch to talk about your travels.
I’ve even been offered places to crash.
While the concept of Grabr might have started as a peer-to-peer marketplace, what it’s turned into is a community of real life friends; a real global family of shoppers and travelers; except in this family the travelers get paid!!
It’s a win / win when you can do it for the money and the love!
How Grabr Works
#1 Sign Up & Add Your Trip Details
Once you’ve decided to be an international shopper (go you!), you’ll first need to sign up for Grabr. Jump to their website, hit ‘sign up’, and you can create an account with Facebook, Google, or Email.
It’s pretty easy.
To start earning money you add your trip details, and you’ll then be able to see requested orders along your route. You get to choose the orders you’d like to deliver, and make an offer to the shopper which includes setting your traveler reward.
Pro tip: When you add your trip details, you can turn on notifications so you get pings when a new order gets posted – this is a great way to maximize your earning potential, so you don’t miss out on grab opportunities!
The most popular routes are between the USA and Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Moscow, Lima, and Montevideo, but there are shoppers from all over the world – it’s truly global.
#2 Browse Grabs & Make an Offer
The concept is that shoppers add ‘grabs’ into the platform; this is their plea for another human to bring them something they can only get overseas; maybe they’re having a craving for rainbow bagels from Brooklyn (that’s an actual grab that got posted!).
As part of their listing, you can see the traveler reward they’re willing to pay (the amount of money they pay you for delivering the item), but when making an offer you can counter this. So, for instance, if something is particularly difficult to buy, pack or carry, you can increase your fee.
Fees vary massively; from getting paid $9 to bring a couple of packets of gum, to hundreds of dollars to bring someone a laptop. Since 2016, Grabr travelers have earned more than $5 million USD delivering products to 75 countries.
There’s a lot of money in deliveries! My friend Kiersten made $400 from shopping at the Ubud Market and delivering Balinese Harem Pants to girls back in the States.
Once shoppers accept your offer, you confirm the order details with them directly via Grabr’s messenger; things like the size and color, if they want anything else delivered, and where you’ll meet up for the delivery.
#3 Start Shopping!
As soon as an order is accepted, the shopper pays Grabr straight away, and can’t cancel; Grabr holds the money until you deliver, and once you deliver it in person, you get paid! This way you’re guaranteed payment.
You’ll need to buy the items with your own money for security, this way, you know exactly what you’re bringing. Upon delivery you’re reimbursed for the price of the item and paid your agreed reward.
Grabr pays via direct bank deposit in the local currency of the country in which your bank is located. It’s important to note that since you’re paying with your own money, you’ll need to actually have the funds when you make an offer, for instance if you’re picking up a $1,000 camera.
This is manufactured spending though; you’re buying something that will then be converted back into cash, which means you earn money without technically spending any! If you’re really clever you can double your earnings by strategically using purchases to maximize your credit card travel rewards!
And Grabr is 100% legitimate – they’ve put a tonne of secure measures in place to ensure that no-one loses or gets screwed!
Is Grabr Safe?
While I hate to shatter your childhood dreams, you can’t use Grabr as a front for a drug cartel. Everything is above board and everyone using the platform is verified and trusted.
Grabr is a trusted platform, recognized and featured in publications like Forbes, TechCrunch, AdWeek, CondeNast Traveller, Bloomberg, TimeOut and more – it’s totally safe.
Trust is one of the biggest cornerstones of Grabr; they’re really focused on building a global community of people who can help and trust each another, and have features like peer rating and review systems in place so you can check the reliability of all shoppers before making offers.
As part of the process of signing up, there’s a 2-step verification to ensure that all parties are real people, and you’ll be asked to verify your account via email and SMS so that accounts aren’t fake. And being that shopper payments are held in escrow, you’re guaranteed to get paid.
While the delivery location will be up to you to arrange with your shopper, it’s best to meet up with shoppers in public places, and this is something that Grabr actively encourages for safety.
And they have a no tolerance policy for anything illegal; you as the traveler have full control over what items you choose to make delivery offers on, and you’re responsible for complying with things like airport security and customs laws (its well worth researching these in advance).
What Type of Things You’ll Shop For
Photo by Jim Holmes for AusAID (CC BY 2.0) via DFAT on Flickr
While you won’t be transporting anything sharp, alive, or illegal (Grabr’s terms of service specifically outline prohibited items, which include illicit drugs, human remains, counterfeit currency, and live animals), the sky is otherwise the limit!
Popular products being requested are typically electronics, watches, shoes, and cosmetics. Protein powder, weirdly enough, is too! There are a lot of requests for phones, cameras, and drones, especially in countries which otherwise have a high cost of shipping.
But people request everything – cravings for a specific flavor of M&M that you can’t find in Australia; cuban cigars; there was one grab recently posted for a jar of sand from Bora Bora (the shopper had taken his honeymoon there).
This post was produced in partnership with Grabr. All opinions and experiences with cupcake flavored toothpaste are my own.