How to travel the world without a single penny in your pocket!
***I will keep updating this post in three months since the world of cryptocurrency is so dynamic and its state & the economics keeps changing really fast. There are chances that you might end up seeing a world without cryptocurrencies as well!*** — Updated on Sep 2018
You got attracted to Bitcoin way back in say 2010, and ever since you have been accumulating it until you sold some of it when the prices peaked in 2017. You felt happy that you made some serious money without doing much, other than sitting on some digital currency. You consider yourself as a ‘Hodler’ — holding to your cryptos. But seen recently in 2018 you are not that same happy person as before since you do not see much of price movements for a hodler. You seem to have developing signs of depression when you hear news like cryptocurrencies are ‘Game Over’ and on a disastrous bear market. But then you realize you are a believer and you seriously believed what cryptocurrencies and the underlying blockchain technology can bring to this world and how it can change the way we humans interact. At the same time you realize you have not taken that first step yet, just like many other crypto enthusiasts and traders who are here for the easy money. You have to be a SPENDLER or SUC’er — Spend Ur Cryptos :)
You need a change in your boring hodler life and so you decide to travel; travel just with your cryptocurrencies and not a single penny of your fiat money. Let’s plan the trip!
You will definitely require google maps when you plan to travel. But when you decide to travel just with cryptocurrencies you need a new kind of map as well. It is called https://coinmap.org. Coinmap is a map where you can find bitcoin shops and businesses. You cannot fully rely on coinmap on all locations listed as accepting cryptocurrencies since Coinmap.org is based on Openstreetmap and it is updated by the public. Sometimes information can be wrong or not updated.
This is the rule of thumb when you travel with cryptocurrencies alone. Never rely on any prior information on businesses or websites which say to accept cryptos until you personally experience it. So you need to have your mind set to travel mostly to an unknown world of cryptos.
Some essential Tips before you make your travel
The present crypto market is still in red, meaning you will see fewer businesses accepting cryptos and the prices are fluctuating and probably going down more than before and usability is still in the early stages. So it is recommended to have a backup plan for payment and use it as your last resort if you get stuck up somewhere.
1. Make sure you have a backup international credit card or currency for foreign exchange.
2. Make sure you are connected to the internet anywhere you go with data plans as cheap as possible. You can use international sim cards and portable wifi devices to ensure data connectivity anywhere in the world. You can buy Dent crypto tokens for mobile data plans supporting carriers in various countries.
3. Use hardware wallet to store your cryptocurrencies offline while traveling.
4. Get familiar with the site localbitcoins.com which is a peer-to-peer bitcoin trading site where you should be able to sell your bitcoins for local currency of the location you are while traveling.
5. Try to identify the businesses accepting cryptocurrencies from coinmap.org at the locations you are planning your trip and try to contact them prior to your trip to ensure validity.
6. You might like to have an app called Bitcoin ATM Map now called Coin ATM radar which lists ATM which give you the option to buy and sell bitcoin and other altcoins. Make sure you get familiarize with different types of ATM machines here.
Identify crypto friendly locations
Based on the maximum number of businesses located in coinmap.org which accept cryptocurrencies and the countries which have the most crypto-friendly regulations at present, I have identified five countries to travel.
Switzerland is a mountainous Central European country, home to numerous lakes, villages and the high peaks of the Alps. Its cities contain medieval quarters, with landmarks like capital Bern’s Zytglogge clock tower and Lucerne’s wooden chapel bridge. The country is also known for its ski resorts and hiking trails. Banking and finance are key industries, and Swiss watches and chocolate are world renowned. Credit: Google Maps
Identified crypto-friendly city — Zurich
Japan is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean with dense cities, imperial palaces, mountainous national parks and thousands of shrines and temples. Shinkansen bullet trains connect the main islands of Kyushu (with Okinawa’s subtropical beaches), Honshu (home to Tokyo and Hiroshima’s atomic-bomb memorial) and Hokkaido (famous for skiing). Tokyo, the capital, is known for skyscrapers, shopping and pop culture. Credit: Google Maps
Identified crypto-friendly city — Tokyo
The Netherlands, a country in northwestern Europe, is known for a flat landscape of canals, tulip fields, windmills and cycling routes. Amsterdam, the capital, is home to the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the house where Jewish diarist Anne Frank hid during WWII. Canalside mansions and a trove of works from artists including Rembrandt and Vermeer remain from the city’s 17th-century “Golden Age.” Credit: Google Maps
Identified crypto-friendly city — Amsterdam
The Czech Republic, in Central Europe, is a country that’s known for its ornate castles, native beers and long history. Prague, the capital, is home to grand 9th-century Prague Castle, a preserved medieval old town and statue-lined Charles Bridge. Český Krumlov, a small town in the South Bohemia region, is notable for its wealth of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings, many of which house restaurants and shops. Credit: Google Maps
Identified crypto-friendly city — Prague
South Korea, an East Asian nation on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, shares one of the world’s most heavily militarized borders with North Korea. It’s equally known for its green, hilly countryside dotted with cherry trees and centuries-old Buddhist temples, plus its coastal fishing villages, sub-tropical islands and high-tech cities such as Seoul, the capital. Credit: Google Maps
Identified crypto-friendly city — Seoul
Grab a flight
***I have not tried booking by myself with cryptocurrencies in any of these sites so I cannot confirm the personal experience further.***
CheapAir.com was the first online travel agency in the world to accept payments in Bitcoin in 2013. The California-based company offers flights on all major airlines and to all major airports worldwide. You can see cheapair accepts Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Dash as shown on their website. Hope booking with cryptocurrency works smooth as Cheapair has been sticking to crypto payments for a long time.
Spanish travel agency Destinia.com also accepts Bitcoin. To book a flight or hotel, just swap the currency to “BTC” or “BCH” at the top right of the homepage.
ABitSky.com is specifically geared toward travel around continental Europe. This is a company registered in Lithuania and the site is dedicated flying with bitcoin payment alone. The company is legit and seems to be working well with bitcoin payments.
Latvia’s national airline airBaltic has accepted Bitcoin since 2014 for its discount flights to the Baltics, Russia, and Europe. airBaltic.com accepts bitcoin payment for some basic flights and booked 5 days prior departure date.
BTCTrip.com is a Florida based travel company for booking flights started in 2013 and accepts both US dollar and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dogecoin & Litecoin as payment.
Rent a car
Some of the travel companies listed above also provide car rental services as well. For e.g Cheapair.com, Destinia.com. Other travel portals like aBitSky.com and airBaltic.com offer car rental through a partner service called rentalcars.com. But I am not sure these partner services accept cryptocurrency payments.
This might not help you to rent-a-car with your cryptocurrency but will help you save cryptocurrency while you rent-a-car with their service. A company called e-zrentacar.com is offering a unique rewards program which will allow you to redeem your points into some of the listed cryptocurrencies.
There are some blockchain projects and ICO’s promising to disrupt rent-a-car industry with peer-to-peer car rental using blockchain technology and crypto tokens, which you can possibly expect in 2019.
Need a stay
Again, some of the above travel companies provide hotels for accommodation. E.g Both Cheapair and Destinia offer hotels for accommodation through their website. aBitsky and airBaltic provide hotel accommodations using a partner service called Booking.com. As before I have not seen these partner services accepting cryptocurrency payments on their websites. Popular Travel tech company Expedia started accepting bitcoin payments sometime in 2013 but quietly withdrew support in 2018.
There are few blockchain based marketplace products for hotel bookings and vacation rentals which are still in early stages and are supposed to function like Airbnb, but without the commission fees. One of them which I would like to mention here is Locktrip.com which is currently in beta. Locktrip is a decentralized ledger based marketplace for renting hotel rooms, private properties etc. Essentially it is the blockchain based version of Booking.com. You can use LOC crypto tokens to book hotel rooms or rental property without any commision fees.
There are several restaurants around the world which accept bitcoin payments. One best option is to search in coinmap.org for the location you are in. Another useful site is Bitcoinrestaurants.net. If you are traveling within the United States menufy.com is a platform which will be helpful to you. Founded in 2009, Menufy offers mobile and online meal ordering capabilities to restaurants in more than 800 cities in the US. The best part is they accept bitcoin payments.
The best option again here is to identify retail stores from coinmap.org at your location. Otherwise, there are online retailers that accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like overstock.com and some of the online stores developed using Shopify platform. But if you need to find brick & mortar stores to shop around with your cryptocurrencies I think you need to rely on coinmap. Hold on! You have one other option which I mention in One Stop Shop!
One stop shop
gyft.com is your lucky coin for shopping around your favorite retail stores using bitcoin. This is one website where you can purchase gift cards from over 200 retail stores like Best Buy, Sears, Walmart, Whole Foods etc. They have a whole lot of categories of gift cards from retail stores, restaurants, travel companies including some airlines. All of these you can purchase using Bitcoin as a payment method. Gyft has a mobile app and you can have all your gift cards in one place instead of a carrying a hefty wallet while traveling.
One Lifetime Travel
You do not seem to be able to recover from your depression as a HODLER!. You have started losing hope in a decentralized world with cryptocurrencies!. You need to look at the world from a different perspective now, look outward and back! You need a bigger travel to recover! You are only left with your cryptocurrencies! Don’t worry!. You are at luck and you have hope now. Virgin Galactic is offering that one-lifetime travel into the outer world you need very much in your life and you can pay with all the bitcoins you have saved in your hodler life! The ticket cost is expensive and in the range of $250k for a person but remember this is your lifetime travel and you very much need this to recover from your depressed hodler life!
Bon Voyage HODLER! Go make cryptocurrency really real!
Virgin Galactic is a spaceflight company within the Virgin Group. It is developing commercial spacecraft and aims to provide suborbital spaceflights to space tourists. Virgin Galactic plans to provide orbital human spaceflights as well. credit: Wikipedia