This is a guest post by Anupam Varshney
“Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen” – Benjamin Disraeli
We all love to travel. Some prefer a weekend getaway, others go out for a few weeks and then there are avid travellers who have been travelling for years. One thing all international travellers can agree on is the hassle of currency conversion when you visit another country.
My friend visited Vietnam a few months ago and this is how his $500 in Vietnamese Dong looked like:
As it turns out, 1 USD is equivalent to 23,042 Vietnamese Dong!
The worst part is, you don’t even know where to get the best rates for converting to local currencies. Is it the airport or somewhere in the city? Your guess is as good as mine.
And what happens when you’re left with the local currency after your trip is done? Well, they usually stay with you. I’m sure my friend still has some Dong lying around.
Let’s not even get started on how much ATMs charge when you withdraw cash internationally using your card. It’s anywhere between $5 to $25 for each withdrawal. Swiping your credit card at stores will cost you even more.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a global currency that eliminates the hassle of high fees and carrying a lot of cash?
Digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and others allow you to do so.
Five years ago it may have been slightly difficult to travel using just cryptocurrencies, but blockchain space has evolved so fast that you can pretty much use cryptocurrencies in all aspects of travelling and replace it with fiat.
Before you travel
Planning phase of travelling is probably the most exciting part for some people, however, entire process can be very tedious. On average, a traveller spends 30 hours and browses 38 websites before finally booking a trip.
If you’re a DIY kind, you can still do everything with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies one by one.
- CheapAir.com was the first online travel website in the world to accept payments in Bitcoin back in 2013
- Destinia.com, BTCTrip.com also accept Bitcoin
- Future space tourists can use Bitcoin to buy their Virgin Galactic tickets
- Expedia is one of the largest travel booking websites. It accepts Bitcoin for hotel bookings.
- Gyft.com allows you to buy gift cards in Bitcoin that can be used on Hotels.com, which offers 150,000 hotels worldwide
Watch out for Beenest, a platform to book Airbnb like homes using their native BEE tokens.
- CheapAir and Destinia allow users to rent a car and pay in Bitcoin
- There are decentralised carpooling apps: Lazooz and ArcadeCity
- Many local travel agents now accept payments in digital currencies who’d happy to rent you a car
While you travel
When you’re travelling in a different country, use digital mapping tool CoinMap to locate stores and restaurants where Bitcoin is accepted.
A few companies offer their native cards just like Visa and Mastercard, which are filled with digital currencies and can be used at any store where Visa or Mastercard are accepted. So you pay in the local currency but Bitcoin (or some other supported digital currency) equivalent of that amount is deducted from your personal wallet.
The most popular project working on this is Monaco. They support BTC, ETH, MCO, BNB, and fiat, whereas TenX supports BTC, ETH, and LTC. Bitpay is another company that offers this service, but for US residents only. It supports Bitcoin and charges 3% for international transactions.
The tourism industry is one of the earliest adopters of digital currencies because it perfectly fits a traveller’s needs – a currency that is safe to carry around and accepted internationally. So the next time you decide to go to another country, try leaving your credit and debit cards at home.
This is a guest post by Anupam Varshney of Please.com. With Please.com you can book your travel in minutes. The platform provides a list of pre-designed trips created by the locals of the city you’re visiting. All you need to do is say, “Please, book me a romantic dinner in Paris” – that’s all.