Bitcoin for travelers: what you need to know
Over the years, cryptocurrencies have become increasingly accepted as a legitimate payment method. They allow users to cross any border, after all. No matter where you are, you can send a transaction anywhere in the world and ensure that it’s received without any problems. As a result, more and more travelers are using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
A few years ago, some people dared to venture out into the world with only bitcoin in their pockets. Their journey wasn’t an easy one, as by then the vast majority (including merchants), didn’t know about these assets. Fortunately, that has largely changed today. If you are a traveler with Bitcoin and cryptos, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Benefits of Bitcoin for travelers
Using Bitcoin for travelers is as simple as it sounds. Unlike a traditional traveler who must have multiple cards and the local currency of the country they’re visiting, you just need to have your wallet, your two-factor authentication (2FA) app if you need it, and you’re good to go. Carrying or having access to your private keys can also be a good idea, in case you lose your device.
If you’re a frequent traveler, you probably know already that the fees for exchanging your money for local currency can be huge and unbalance your travel budget. Likewise, if your destination has an unstable economy, traveling with cryptocurrencies will protect you from sudden fluctuations in the exchange rate. In case you can’t pay directly with your bitcoins, you can always resort to your favorite crypto exchange to get some local money.
Investigate your destination
Choosing a destination for your trip is always a lot of fun and even more so if you want to travel with Bitcoin. However, you should keep in mind that cryptocurrencies aren’t accepted in some places, while in others you’ll find a large number of stores where you can spend it. Also, doing a previous check of the laws related to cryptos in your destination country is very important.
Some countries have been openly hostile to cryptocurrencies. Perhaps the most prominent case is China, which this year decided to apply a full ban over any crypto activity inside their territory. So, needless to say, it’s not advisable to travel there thinking about spending your bitcoins, let alone finding services that facilitate it. You also can’t include Turkey, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Burundi, Namibia, Libya, Nigeria, Nepal, Qatar, Laos, Iraq, and Bangladesh in your bitcoiner list.
Slightly more towards neutral territory is much of the world, where cryptocurrencies have no specific regulation, but can be used without a problem. In contrast, other nations are very friendly about it, including Malta, Estonia, Japan, and Switzerland. This will ensure that, in addition to not breaking any laws by handling cryptocurrencies, you’ll be able to find related services for your convenience.
A great destination at this time for any bitcoiner could be El Salvador and its 45 beaches. This is the only country that has recognized Bitcoin as legal tender (as of September 2021). Others like Panama, Singapore, Malta, Ukraine, and Switzerland openly admit the legality of Bitcoin, even if it’s not their legal tender.
Choose a Bitcoin adopter for travelers
One of the first steps when traveling is to purchase your ticket and/or tour package. Thanks to the wide acceptance of cryptos, there are currently many airlines and agencies where you can pay directly with it. Among them are:
Since 2013, this agency has accepted Bitcoin as a payment method. It became one of the first such companies to adopt it. To date, also includes other cryptoassets, such as Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), Gemini (GUSD), USD Coin (USDC), Paxos Standard (PAX), Binance USD (BUSD), Dai (DAI), and Wrapped BTC (WBTC).
With this Spanish travel agency, users can purchase their tickets and travel with Bitcoin quickly and easily. In addition, this agency offers a list of over 190,000 hotels around the world. Prices in this agency are expressed in milliBitcoin (mBTC) for easy reading.
Since 2014, this airline offers its users the possibility to use Bitcoin to travel around Europe, Russia, and the Middle East.
Travala.com is a platform founded in 2017 that offers its users to interact with around two million hotels and accommodations in 230 countries around the world. Another platform for specifically traveling with Bitcoin is Bitcoin.Travel.
Prepare a plan B
Traveling with all your money in Bitcoin is an option. Many people will find much more freedom in it than exchanging to local currency. However, you should always have an alternative plan, which is why Bitcoin ATMs (BTMs) can be great allies on your trip.
To use these ATMs you’ll only need to have your wallet and your 2FA app at hand. Some of them may also ask you for identification, depending on the country and the amount to be withdrawn. By scanning the ATM’s QR code, you can instantly confirm the transaction and get fiat currency in cash to use on your trip.
Pay attention to the security
Taking care of your funds during a trip is a must, whether you use Bitcoin for travel or not. Among the essential security measures, in this case, is to take good care of your private key, if you have it with you. Imagine losing your luggage and with it your seed… there would be no way to recover your funds. You should probably avoid hardware wallets as well, as you don’t want to lose them by accident.
The best thing you can do is always carry your seeds with you, either in your memory or written down in something that you can attach to yourself. That object needs to be something simple and easy to attach somewhere or wear yourself.
It’s also very important that you verify that the Bitcoin ATMs in the area where you want to travel are legitimate. Investigate about them, the company that provides them, and the neighborhood where they’re located before you use them. You can check worldwide Bitcoin ATMs in CoinATMRadar.
On the other hand, you should be aware of fluctuations in the price of Bitcoin. Although there are no fortune-tellers who can predict the next price of the cryptocurrency (or, at least, never with accuracy), you should consider its high volatility when planning your trip.
Always carry backup funds, in case the cryptocurrency price experiences a sharp drop. And if it hits a new record, then be prepared to buy lots of souvenirs and celebrate accordingly. Of course, if you don’t want to subject yourself to these ups and downs, you can have your backup funds in stablecoins.
Time to become travelers with Bitcoin!
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Originally published at https://blog.alfa.cash on December 11, 2021.