While the world falls in and out of like with Bitcoin and its ilk, there’s still a growing fascination with the notion that you can travel with Bitcoin? The questions: Where can I use it on the road? Who accepts it?!
Some years ago, there was this European software engineer, Feliz Weis, who travelled to several places on earth, with nothing but Bitcoin and is now the poster boy of yes it’s possible. There’s much written about Weiss’s largely successful experiment but the point is that if it was possible two years ago, it ought to be more possible today.
So who accepts crypto on the road? So we took a quick look around the net to see if we could plan a trip where we could use crypto on the road.
While it’s still early days yet, we found a surprising range of establishments accept crypto, from airlines to a small family owned cafe in Bangalore. It’s exciting that one can actually use cryptocurrency when one travels – it’s revolutionary, it feels cool, futuristic and makes you a part of a small, exclusive community that will break humanity free of the world’s post-Bretton Woods monetary system.
If you like the adventure, here is some information on how to travel with cryptocurrency.
First, go to https://coinmap.org/welcome/, check out who and where in the world they accept coin. We checked a few cities that we know well and were pleasantly surprised by discovering there are quite a few places that accept bills without borders.
Next, the logistics. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the booking of an airline ticket. At the time of this writing, we found many airline booking services that accept crypto. CheapAir.com, a US online travel agency, was the first to start accepting Bitcoin in 2013. The flight booking service currently also accepts Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Dash payments. The others who do include Expedia, BTCtrip.com, Destinia.com, Peach Aviation, California’s Surf Air, and Latvia’s airBaltic, and A Bit Sky. You can find them easily online.
Hotels and other places to stay increasingly accept crypto. Most of the travel agencies listed above — the ones that accept crypto for travel — also let you book your accommodation. They include Airbnb type businesses including 99Flats and CryptoCribs. Finding a cryptocurrency friendly hotel is quite easy.
And once you have your travel and your stay all sorted out, there’s the matter of doing the destination. Importantly, food. Again, coinmap.org is a great place to begin. Not only can you find Bitcoin friendly places on a map, they also list Bitcoin ATMs for those pesky establishments where cabbage is king.
Much of the information you find online is Bitcoin-specific — Bitcoin being a word that comes perilously close to becoming generic — but the amount of information about other crypto is steadily growing and these other currencies also become increasingly sophisticated. For example, Shift Card, that works off Coinbase (https://www.coinbase.com/), is a bitcoin debit card that claims that 38 million merchants all over the world. Shift Cards allow users to access their crypto accounts at Bitcoin’s rate, meaning that the purchase price is linked to currency’s market value.
Bitpay is another card that can be used anywhere that accepts VISA. It offers a seamless integration with one’s routine financial practices. Also friendly for business, Bitpay’s business accounts can be used to receive payment and the proceeds can be deposited directly into the bank account.
Back on the road, with travel tickets, hotels and eating out of the way, there’s shopping. As a wise person once said, what’s travel with Bitcoin without shopping? Happily, much of the information we provided above will take care of finding shops that accept crypto. And using crypto for goods is much easier than using it for food. For example, we hear that all the merchants in Brisbane airport accept crypto.
Admittedly, it is easier to find large online retailers accepting crypto than it is to try and convince the local souvenir shop that Litecoin is better than dollars. But there’s one great traditional device that is a an excellent workaround for most crypto roadblocks – and that’s the gift voucher. You can use crypto to buy one a gift and then gift it to yourself. For starters, you can buy food coupons with cryptocurrencies from services such as Gyft or eGifter.
So there’s a lot happening if your plan is to travel with Bitcoin. On Gyft.com you can buy cards. Hotels.com offers more than 150,000 hotels to be booked with crypto. 9flats.com (the “Euro pean AirBnB” accepts Bitcoin payments for its short term home rentals. CheapAir and Destinia booking with Bitcoin work for hotels and flights, but they also work for car rentals. And speaking of cars, if you are driving across the gorgeous USA, CoinFuel offers petrol gift cards in Bitcoin to an array of gas stations across the US and these include reputable gas stations such as Shell, BP, Sunoco, and Gulf. (CoinFuel also lets you purchase Uber gift cards. Uber does not accept Bitcoin yet.)
And, not finally, there’s TripAlly that uses cryptocurrency to ease international roaming for cellphones. Every road warrior knows the cost of local data is a fortune. TripAlly offers its service as a mobile app that will allow you to access foreign mobile networks for data and stick it to the opportunists only because you travel with Bitcoin.
The fun aspect of discovery is finding that small coffee shop, a local pizzeria or a neighbourhood grocery story that proudly sports a “Bitcoin accepted here” sign; you travel with Bitcoin and use the Bitcoin wallet to pay for the privilege of being cool.
Here’s a video that will make you smile. Oh, and enjoy your brew at Thailand’s Pattaya Beer Garden. They love crypto over there. They say it has reduced credit card fraud.
Credits: Bitcoin accepted here by Marco Verch.