Tips for Using Bitcoin While Traveling

Once you have acquired a certain amount of cryptocurrency, the next thing you will want to do is to go out and spend it! A great way to spend your cryptocurrency is on travel. Whether you spend it to book travel or when you get to your destination, the decentralization, security, anonymity, and lack of bank fees associated with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin make them an ideal currency for travel.

Bitcoin is not only the first and most popular cryptocurrency, it is also the one that is accepted in the most places around the world. If you want to use cryptocurrency while traveling, bitcoin is the best crypto to use. If you are thinking about using cryptocurrency on your next out of town adventure, here are a few tips for using bitcoin while traveling.  

Book travel with an airline or travel service that accepts bitcoin 

Using bitcoin for travel can start before you even leave your home. Booking airfare with bitcoin can be a little tricky because you are dealing with two very volatile markets. Both the price of bitcoin and the price of airfare can vary by the minute, so there are not many options to book with bitcoin. Several airline and travel websites accept bitcoin as payment for airfare, though. Unfortunately, one of the biggest travel sites in the world, Expedia, used to accept bitcoin but stopped in 2018.

In 2020, Cheapair.com is the biggest travel site that accepts bitcoin payments. They were one of the first sites to do so in 2013, and in recent years have doubled down on accepting cryptocurrencies.  Cheapair.com also accepts Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Dash. Several other airlines and sites around the world accept bitcoin: Destinia.com (Spain), airBaltic (Latvia), Peach Aviation (Japan), and LOT Polish Airlines (Poland).

If your next vacation involves going to space, bitcoin has you covered there as well. In 2013, billionaire Richard Branson announced that his commercial space travel company, Virgin Galactic, would accept bitcoin. Just beware of booking too early, it could cost you A LOT of money as the Winklevoss twins learned the hard way last year.  

Visit a city where bitcoin is common 

Once you’ve found a travel site or airline that takes bitcoin, consider where you will fly if you want to spend bitcoin when you get there. Many cities do not accept bitcoin at all, others have bitcoin businesses, bitcoin vendors, and even bitcoin ATMs. These are the cities to focus on if you want to spend bitcoin while traveling.

San Francisco, CA in the US is probably the best city for spending bitcoin. It is home to two major trading platforms, Coinbase and Kraken, and has a number of businesses that accept bitcoin, including several bars and restaurants. Other top cities where bitcoin can be used for purchases include many of the large metropolitan areas you would expect: New York City, London, Amsterdam, and Zurich.

One city you may not expect, though, is Ljubljana, Slovenia. The small capital of Slovenia offers four bitcoin ATMs as well as around 200 merchants in the city that accept bitcoin. This may seem surprising, but given that this country was where the popular exchange Bitstamp was founded, it may be less surprising than you might at first think.

Have the right crypto wallet 

If you were bringing cash on your trip, you would put the cash in your wallet and be on your way. The same is basically true with bitcoin. As this Cove Markets guide mentions, crypto wallets are essential for making your cryptocurrency assets secure and accessible. The difference is, you need the right kind of crypto wallet in order to access it while traveling.

Several different types of crypto wallets exist.  Each provides users with a different set of features, benefits, and drawbacks. Hardware wallets are the most secure and they are portable, but you have to physically plug them into a computer for use. Desktop wallets are out because you would have to lug your big computer with you.

Web wallets allow you to access your bitcoin from any computer in the world but it is also the least secure. That leaves the mobile crypto wallet as probably the best overall crypto wallet for traveling because it gives you a pretty solid level of security. Mobile wallets have the added feature of having a scannable QR code or compatibility with your phone’s touch to pay system so you can spend your bitcoin on the go. Some of the most popular mobile crypto wallets include Bitcoin Wallet, Hive Android, Mycelium, and Edge.

Know your bitcoin security best practices

Anytime you travel it is smart to seek out some of the local best practices to keep yourself safe. Depending on where you are, maybe you need to keep a tight grasp of your purse or wallet on public transportation or maybe there are certain neighborhoods you don’t want to wander into after dark. Knowing these things can go a long way to keeping you safe. A few quick bitcoin safety tips can do the same for keeping your cryptocurrency safe.

The first thing you want to do is keep the fact that you have and are using bitcoin quiet. If you go tell everyone you’re flush with bitcoin, it may eventually get to the wrong person. Also, you don’t want to keep all your bitcoin in your mobile wallet. Transfer only what you plan on spending to that wallet (your “hot” wallet) and store the rest in a more secure wallet (a “cold” wallet) like a hardware wallet.

You want to make sure your computer’s anti-virus software is up to date and that your phone is always running the latest operating system. Use a password manager so you don’t have to rely on memorable passwords that could be easy to crack and use two-factor authentication whenever possible. These measures will help you keep your bitcoin safe when traveling or at home.

Conclusion

If you have spent time and effort acquiring bitcoin, it is only natural you want to spend it. Traveling is a great way to do so. If you book your trip on the right service, to the right city, have the right wallet, and observe the right security precautions, spending your bitcoin will be much easier. Now, all you need to do is have a safe and fun trip!

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