Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ve probably heard something about cryptocurrency. The recent chatter has left many people kicking themselves for not buying Bitcoin back in the early 2010’s.
Given all the jargon and technical lingo, it can be tough to understand exactly what cryptocurrency is, how to use it, and why the heck it’s so popular?
In a nutshell, cryptocurrency is digital money secured with encryption and is only accessible by authorized parties. As opposed traditional currencies, cryptocurrency does not operate through central banks. It can be used online for direct buyer-to-seller transactions without a centralized intermediary, known as blockchain. In the interest of travelers, there are no exchange rates.
While the future outlook of cryptocurrency is a bit murky, it’s likely that the exchange components of traveling will see a big change in the next few years. There are already a number of ways you can use your digital money throughout your vacation. Let’s discuss.
1. Buying Travel Gear
Depending on where you’re traveling to, there are likely a number of items and gadgets you need to purchase before your trip. Whether it’s a new sleeping bag, guidebook, outlet converter, or anything else, there is an easy way to buy everything you need with cryptocurrency.
Purse.io is an awesome tool that allows you to get things on Amazon at a discount when using Bitcoin.
What you can do is add items to your Amazon wish list, then upload it to the Purse.io platform. From here, you set a discount between 10-33% and the system will match you with people who have gift cards and are willing to buy your items and ship them to you in exchange for Bitcoin. Or, you can buy them yourself for a 5% discount. You can also browse the site’s catalog and have the items sent right to your front door.
2. Booking Flights
This might be a personal opinion, but there is always a sickening feeling associated with using hard earned money to buy plane tickets. It’s a ridiculously expensive price to sit in a flying tube and be extremely uncomfortable for a couple hours. Seeing the bank statement charge to an airline is never a fun. If this feeling sounds familiar, maybe buying the tickets with cryptocurrency will make it feel different? Maybe that’s a stretch…
Regardless, it’s worth a shot.
This practice has been on the rise for several years now. There are a number of sites out there where you can book all your flights with cryptocurrency. Platforms like aBitSky allow you to purchase plane tickets to just about anywhere using Bitcoin.
CheapAir.com has processed over $15 million worth of Bitcoin transactions over the past few years.
Ultimately, you’ll probably be paying the same amount as you would otherwise. But there’s just something better about buying plane tickets with Bitcoin instead of dollars.
3. Reserving Accommodations
The rises of the “Sharing Economy” and cryptocurrency pretty much happened concurrently. However, platforms like Airbnb don’t accept cryptocurrency quite yet. It’s only a matter of time before this happens.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other websites that allow you to book accommodations with cryptocurrency. Destinia is a fantastic site that lets you search and reserve both hotel rooms or apartments for your vacation. The process works the exact same as it would if you were paying with any other form of money.
Also, if you use Expedia, you can plan out your entire trip with Bitcoin.
4. Finding Local Transportation
Local transportation is always a factor when traveling.
Everyone has their own preferences for getting around on vacation, and some situations call for certain plans. Depending on the nature of the trip, it might be wise to rent a car. For this purpose, you can easily rent cars with cryptocurrency on sites like SpendBitcoins. Essentially, what this site does is connect you with local car rental services that accept Bitcoin.
For many vacations, it makes sense to use taxi services or ridesharing programs to get around. Unfortunately, the Ubers and Lyfts of cryptocurrency are still very much in the infancy stages and have a lot of kinks to work out. Apps like Arcade City are leading the charge in creating a blockchain version of the transportation apps that changed the face of local travel.
What these programs are trying to do is create a ride-sharing platform with no intermediary (like the Uber network) and connect people with local drivers directly without taking a cut. The driver and the rider can negotiate a price that can be paid with Bitcoin, Ethereum, traditional money, egg rolls, Big Macs, or anything both parties agree on.
While getting around an unknown area with cryptocurrency can certainly be a challenge, especially abroad, it can be done. You just need to know where to look.
It’s tough to tell what the future of travel will look like with the rise of cryptocurrency. Assuming the trend doesn’t crash and burn in the long run, there’s a decent chance that these types of transactions will eventually become the new norm – as they eliminate exchange rates and transactions fees.
If you’ve jumped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon, using it to travel will definitely be an interesting experience.