Today we’re going to discuss how to travel with Bitcoin. Bitcoin is crypto currency most people have heard of by now as it has gone from a genius idea to worldwide news. Some people feel Bitcoin is a revolution, others view it as a store of value while others still a currency. Some other people still don’t understand what the blockchain is or how Bitcoin works but that’s changing. That said, travelers are always more likely to take a gamble on something new compared to the rest of society, so let’s discuss traveling with Bitcoin.
Table of Contents
Why & How to travel with Bitcoin
The need for cash…
First and foremost, we are moving into a cashless society as a whole but travel can be a bit of an exception. If you were traveling in North America, Europe, South Korea and many other parts of the world, paying with Bitcoin for most things wouldn’t be that difficult. Many places currently accept Bitcoin and it’s growing every month. As more and more people become aware of it, the ability to use it will only expand. Travel is a bit of an exception though as not all destinations are created equal so cash is still king and most likely will be for quite a while. This is especially true in some of the more developing parts of the world. Before we go any further, watch this video about how Bitcoin works.
Still not sure? Find out in detail how Bitcoin works under the hood.
When traveling everyone needs money to purchase good and services and the currency usually changes at every border. In the past people would have to carry cash with them and of course run the risk of losing it or being robbed. They’d also have to find a money changer in each country to transfer some of their funds into the new currency. As a result, the US dollar, Euro and British Pound were the currencies most often carried as they were the most well recognized and accepted internationally. If you think you’ll be able to change a Vietnamese Dong for a Nicaraguan Cordoba, you’re sadly mistaken. Despite moving to a more cashless economy, it’s always good to travel with some of the most recognized currencies in case of an emergency.
Innovation in Technology
Next came travelers cheques and finally the bank card which is a real love hate relationship for most travelers. The bank card took away the need to carry large sums of cash with you as you could take out what you need, when you need it, anywhere in the world. The problem with the bank card is that when traveling the bank will often get suspicious about the transaction and in an aim to limit their risk, deny the transaction. This can be an inconvenience at best or completely devastating to a traveler depending on the situation they find themselves in. Once your bank card is locked, there is now way to access any funds until you contact and satisfy the requirements of the bank. Another complaint most travelers have about their bank cards are the excessive fees charged by the banks for processing the transactions on top of the poor currency conversion rates offered; it’s a double whammy.
Peer to Peer Transactions
Bitcoin is peer to peer so there is no bank, it’s available 24 hours a day and the entire network is completely decentralized so there is no intermediary to deny a transaction. Just find someone else who has Bitcoin and you’re set; this could be someone trusted from localbitcoins.com, in your hotel or at a local shop. It could be as easy as sitting in a coffee shop and asking the shop keeper if you could send them x in Bitcoin (BTC) for x in the currency of whatever nation you’re in. Bitcoin is still a relatively new phenomenon so of course it’s still recommended that you bring a bank card with you. A likely way for travelers to exchange money together with Bitcoin will be someone leaving the country when another is just arriving. The person leaving will sell whatever they have left to the person arriving which works out well for both of them. This solves the problem of needing a bit of local currency to get going for one party and getting rid of their extra currency before leaving for the other. If a shop, hotel, taxi or restaurant accepts Bitcoin, paying is as easy as scanning a QR code and entering the amount you’d like to send.
Common Uses for Bitcoin When Traveling
We’ve briefly talked about how you can use Bitcoin to get cash or pay for things when traveling; now let’s talk about how you can get paid. Imagine you’re from the USA selling Julio from Argentina your complete camera kit while you’re in Bangkok, Thailand. If doing it via bank transfer it would be a long expensive nightmare and you don’t want $3500US+ of Thai currency. If using Paypal you’d lose 4% and still need to transfer the funds to your bank account before being able to spend them. With Bitcoin, you’d be able to get paid immediately and do as you please with the funds. Other people with a thirst for adrenaline like to take a chance with online gaming, you can click here to find some sites that accept Bitcoins. Some others with an appetite for risk may wish to try making money with cryptocurrency trading on major exchanges.
Others still work online such as digital nomads, they can render a service and be paid instantly with Bitcoin. This is great as the client might be on the other side of the world so no need for one party to do a costly currency conversion to actually be able to spend the money and the receiver lose ~4%+ to an online intermediary to make the transaction possible. Finally, it’s a great way for people settle travel expenses. You’re traveling with Vlad from Serbia and booking flights but his credit card is denied from the airline, he can send you the equivalent in Bitcoin and then you book the ticket. It’s a done deal, no waiting for funds to clear, risk of a Paypal chargeback or the need to carry any more cash than necessary.
How to Physically Travel with Bitcoin
Finally, some of you may be wondering how to physically travel with Bitcoin? Well it’s quite easy as you can install a wallet on any Android or iOS mobile device or laptop. Once installed you’ll be given a private key that you’ll keep in a safe place or even memorize if you’re up for the challenge. The beauty of the private key is that even if you lose your phone or laptop for whatever reason you can install a new wallet and still retrieve your funds with it. While on the topic of wallets, be sure to install a send passcode so that a set of numbers are required to be entered before a transaction is allowed to be sent from the wallet. This may sound a bit confusing to some of you but just remember what it was like the fist time you used a bank machine years ago, this is much less painful.
I hope this gives you an idea of how to travel with Bitcoin. Right now, millions of people around the world are traveling with Bitcoin, paying and being paid for good and services. In the past it was always a good idea to have a few US dollars or Euros somewhere safe incase of an emergency. In today’s world, it’s time to always have some Bitcoin handy as well, it’s already useful today and only will continue to be more so in the future.