In light of Bitcoin’s scalability issues, bitcoin may turn into an illiquid investment asset like gold as opposed to being an actual usable digital spending currency. While that may be true to some degree as small transactions can take long and require comparatively high fees to be processed, the reality is that you can use bitcoin as a currency for a wide range of things, including traveling around the world.
Currently, there are several bitcoin-only travel sites such as BTCTrip and ABitSky that allow you to purchase flights using bitcoin. For example, if you would like to fly from New York to Tokyo next Friday you can do so with Cathay Pacific Airlines for around 0.0561 BTC if you book your flight using ABitSky.
Another online flight booking platform that allows you to pay in bitcoin is CheapAir.com. California-based CheapAir started to accept bitcoin payments in November 2013 and has since witnessed a steady increase in bitcoin payments for travel bookings. The company has processed over $15 million worth of bitcoin payments since accepting the cryptocurrency as a payment option.
Alternatively, you could also use the services of Spanish online travel agent Destinia.com, which allows its customers to book discount flights using bitcoin. Destinia started to accept bitcoin payments in 2014 and announced in September 2015 that its customers that pay in bitcoin spend on average more than customers paying with credit cards. Destinia also operates in Venezuela where it currently only accepts payments in bitcoin to circumvent payment issues in Venezuela’s failing sovereign currency, the bolivar.
Once you have booked your flight, you will need to book your accommodation next.
While popular sharing economy holiday housing platform Airbnb does not accept digital currency payments (yet), several platforms that allow their customers to pay for hotel bookings with bitcoin.
At both CheapAir and Destinia, you can also book a hotel room for your next trip using bitcoin. Alternatively, you could also book your hotel on Expedia.com using the cryptocurrency if you are based in the US. Expedia’s US site started accepting bitcoin payments for hotel bookings back in June 2014.
Once you have arrived at your travel destination, you are likely to need transport. Fortunately, for bitcoiners, there are several travel agents that allow you to rent cars and pay for them in bitcoin. The bitcoin-friendly online booking agents Destinia and CheapAir also provide car rental services for their customers.
There are also several individual car rental companies scattered around the world that accept bitcoin as a payment method according to SpendBitcoins.com.
Sail Across the Sea Using Bitcoin
If you prefer to travel the world by boat instead of by plane, you can also arrange that by paying in bitcoin. If your pockets are deep enough, you can go as far as to purchase a yacht on the bitcoin luxury marketplace BitPremier. For example, for around 5,000 BTC, you can conquer the seven seas with the 120′ Tri-Deck Mega Yacht.
Alternatively, instead of purchasing a yacht, you can also charter yachts to sail across the oceans using your bitcoins. US-based yacht rental company Denison Yacht Sales offers its customers the ability to pay for their rental using bitcoin, which means for around 20 BTC per week, for example, you could set sail on the Wicked Felina to wherever the wind takes you.
Use Gyft Cards to Make Purchases Abroad
You could also purchase gift cards on Gyft.com using bitcoin, which you then use at merchants abroad. Gyft allows you to buy an array of gift cards in bitcoin for eateries such as Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and Whole Foods as well as retailers such as Adidas, Hollister, and Nike, among other vendors.
Of course, there are places where cards are not widely accepted and local fiat currency is your only chance of purchasing food and drink, and other necessities. In that case, you can make use of bitcoin ATMs, or BTMs, to exchange your bitcoins into fiat currency. According to CoinATMRadar, there are 1,140 BTMs in 57 countries across the globe.
Locations where you can find two-way BTMs that you may not have expected include Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, in Barbados’ capital Bridgetown, and in Las Palmas on the Canary Islands.
Purchasing Travel Equipment
If you need to purchase a new suitcase or equipment for more adventurous travel, such as climbing the Himalayas, you could use your bitcoins to buy the items you need for your trip on Amazon by using the service Purse.io.
Purse.io allows its customers to purchases products on Amazon at a discount using bitcoin by putting their desired items on an Amazon Wishlist and then uploading it into the Purse.io platform with the discount they would like. As soon as someone who wants bitcoins buys the items for the user, the user will receive the items in their mail and releases the bitcoins held in escrow to his counterparty in the transaction.
So if you need hiking gear, scuba diving equipment, or a new backpack, you can purchase all these items on Amazon using bitcoin through Purse.io’s service before you go on your journey.
Despite bitcoin’s current scalability challenges that are questioning bitcoin future as a usable transactional currency, the world’s leading cryptocurrency can still be used as a spending currency. Now, you are even able to travel the world using only bitcoin.