Vacation season: How to travel safely with cryptocurrencies 

It’s summer in Europe and with it the vacation season begins. After two years in which vacation past the borders was hardly possible, many crypto enthusiasts will set out to travel the world with cryptocurrency. Indeed, digital assets can help to increase the level of freedom we all seek from traveling. 

In today’s article, we will discuss how digital assets can facilitate the traveling experience and how some travelers are already using cryptocurrencies during their trips. 

Crypto and Travel – A Perfect Combination? 

Cryptocurrency was born with the ideals of freedom and independence at heart - giving people full control of their digital assets, paying directly any time wherever they want, without the need for expensive intermediaries. 

As such, crypto intersects well with traveling, especially in the case of digital nomads, who like to work location- and time-independent. All of us like to travel not just to experience new cultures and locations, but also to enjoy the sense of freedom of time and place. 

Crypto assets may contribute to this experience in three possible ways: security, efficiency and flexibility. Some enthusiasts find that crypto assets can make traveling… 

  • More secure:  traveling with a mobile or hardware wallet instead of carrying large amounts of cash or credit cards. 
  • Cheaper: Foreign exchange fees, whether incurred for cash exchange or credit card payments, on average amount up to 3%. Crypto transactions can significantly reduce these costs. 
  • More flexible: transactions in cryptocurrency can be executed 24/7 within real-time, enabling global money transfers – whether to family or friends at home or the crypto-accepting coffeeshop you just enjoyed breakfast in. 

Many Ways to Use Crypto-Assets for Travelling 

You don’t have to do it like crypto enthusiast Felix Weis, who travelled 27 countries in 18 months, solely relying on paying by Bitcoin. From booking flights or accommodation to renting cars or booking travel insurance – there are already many ways people are using crypto to pay for their travel: 

Flight bookings: the Latvia-based airline AirBaltic introduced Bitcoin as an accepted payment method already back in 2014 – years before crypto became really mainstream. The flight comparison website CheapAir also accepts cryptocurrencies for payment. 

Accommodation: the US-based online travel website Expedia announced in July 2020 that it would support Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple as a payment method. Crypto enthusiasts can now book more than 700.000 hotels worldwide directly with their favorite coin. 

Car rental: sometimes renting a car is incessant to discover the best spots and places in your holiday destination. Albeit still small, a constantly growing number of car rental agencies and chains around the world are supporting payment via cryptocurrencies. 

Travel insurance: flight delays are annoying and cumbersome, yet common for frequent travelers. Smart contract-based insurances enable automatic compensation payments to EU passengers for flight delays above 3 hours. Insurance giant AXA released an Ethereum-based flight delay insurance entitled “Fizzy” back in 2017. Ahead of its time, the project has been discontinued in 2019, yet highlighted the promising future of blockchain-based insurances in travel and beyond. 

Important Security Tips to Consider 

Traveling with crypto assets, however, carries with it its own set of risks. Follow these tips to avoid negative surprises: 

  • Use multi-signature wallets for storing savings. This way you can prevent unauthorized access and restore the wallet in case of losing your phone. 
  • Enable two-factor-authentication (2FA) for all your travel-related website accounts. This, too, avoids that anybody else can make unauthorized bookings or purchases in your name. 

Conclusion 

Crypto assets are not just changing the world of finance, they also have the potential to transform and facilitate our traveling experience. While its adoption still needs to increase, it is possible to foresee a future in which some travelers will pay with their favorite cryptocurrency for flights, booking and accommodation. 

Done right, travelers can benefit from a more secure and cheaper payment option. After all, who enjoys checking the best foreign exchange rates when arriving at their travel destination?