Bitcoin isn’t just some strange new fintech word your tech geek friends refer on Facebook anymore. This exciting, unorthodox currency has proven that it is not a fad. It’s here to stay.
The real trick to use them, once you get over the slightly tech savvy set up, is where you can actually use it. Who takes it? How do you find those individuals? And, do you dare try traveling with Bitcoin?
I’ve dug up a few tips for the intrepid BTC traveler, along with a little bit of background into the world of digital currency for any newcomers who’ve come here to satisfy their curiosity.
What Is Bitcoin?
If you’re a heavy user, you can skip this part. Alternately, you can hang around and critique my explanation.
Bitcoin is a digital crypto-currency powered by a peer-to-peer system with no central authority.
In order to overcome the challenge of tracking transactions to ensure the currency is only used once, it relies on its user network to verify transfers. In BTC payments; accounts remain secure, lack of a central overseer and boast low transaction fees.
There is a finite supply of Bitcoin, 21 million to be exact. BTC have to be unlocked, or ‘mined’ which is achieved through automated calculations performed by computers belonging to members of that peer network I referenced above.
These calculations authenticate transactions within the network and in turn BTC or fractions of them are doled out as a reward; in proportion to the amount of computing power a user dedicates.
Here’s a video to help:
Users have to set up a digital wallet through an app or computer program which allows them to make and receive BTC.
Why Bother Traveling With Bitcoin?
Bitcoin (BTC) is a universal currency. That means no conversions fees or complicated exchanges.
The travel industry has embraced the freedom BTC offers them. Expedia, CheapAir, LocalBitcoins, and ANXBTC’s bitcoin credit card are merely a few of the major travel businesses that accept or process the currency.
Additionally, Bitcoin ATMs exist there are online resources to locate them.
Intrigued? To make your trip easier with Bitcoin, I have a few suggestions.
Travel Tip #1: Plan Ahead
What you do want is to use your BTC where you need it. What you do not want is to arrive at your destination without any idea who accepts it.
Use the link above to search for Bitcoin ATMs at your destination.
Additional resources to research merchants that accept Bitcoin include:
Travel Tip #2: Buy Giftcards With Bitcoin
Bitcoins spend easily on the internet. Unless you have your heart set on actually using them directly with merchants during your travels, you can purchase gift cards before you leave. Websites like egifter have lots of gift card options available.
Travel Tip #3: Pay Up Front From Home
The more you can pay for in advance, the easier your trip will be. Research travel sites that accept BTC in addition to the ones I already told you about: Expedia, CheapAir, and LocalBitcoins.
Travel Tip #4: Combine Travelex Cash Passport and Bitcoin
Travelex has a handy resource for travelers in their Cash Passport card. Many Bitcoin sellers accept it as a form of payment.
This means you can use your Cash Passport just to purchase some BTC before you travel, or as a backup method in case you need to easily load it up with some local currency.
Travel Tip #5: Decide How To Store Your Bitcoin
Many people who travel with Bitcoin use a hardware wallet, like Trezor. If you choose to go this route, you must devise a system to save your keys in the event you lose your wallet or it is stolen.
Cover Image via Moyan Brenn