Crypto skeptics almost always bring the same set of arguments to the table when debating anything related to crypto, and one of their main arguments is always – “oh, but you can’t pay for things using crypto.” However, in this day and age, not only can you pay for most goods and services using crypto, but you can also go on a luxury trip and pay for all the related expenses using crypto. The real question is – how?
That’s what we are going to answer in this post. You’ll not only learn how to pay for a luxury trip using crypto but also the benefits of doing so and the things you should keep in mind when using cryptocurrencies to pay for your luxury travel.
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You might be planning that skiing trip to the alps or taking that romantic trip to the Maldives. However, if your luxury destination is somewhere abroad, you would face the same problem that every traveler visiting a different country faces – currency exchange and its high mark-up fees. We live in the third decade of the 21st century, but our banks, credit card companies, and money changers all seem stuck in the previous century.
If you have ever traveled abroad on a luxury trip, you might be aware of how inefficient and expensive it is to exchange your money for local currency. The cross-currency rates quoted at most currency exchanges at airports worldwide are insane, with margins you could drive a truck through. Even if you don’t exchange your currency at the airport, the best you can hope for at your destination will typically be 3% to 4% lower than the rates you can see in real-time in the forex markets.
Debit and credit cards are no better. With cards, you get the same lousy currency conversion rates that your card provider sometimes handles. In some cases, you also have to shell out a few extra dollars every time you do a transaction using that card because of foreign transaction fees (which can be as high as 5% per transaction). All in all, you end up paying at least 6 to 7% extra for goods and services, which can add up quickly during a luxury trip.
Cryptocurrencies solve all this. In fact, one of the reasons cryptocurrencies were invented in the first place was to solve this exact problem once and for all. When you make your luxury travel bookings and pay for the services at your destination using crypto, you eliminate all the intermediaries who take a cut from your spending. Furthermore, by using cryptocurrencies for payments, you get nearly the same rate for a currency quoted on the international cryptocurrency exchange market, without expensive buy and sell markup fees.
The second advantage of using cryptocurrencies for your luxury travel becomes apparent if you travel to a destination or country with volatile currency. Many exotic destinations worldwide are breathtaking and offer the best of the luxuries that money can buy. But, sometimes, those destinations are located in countries with unstable governments and poor economic shape leading to hyperinflation and other forms of instability. Consequently, if you converted your money to local currency when you landed, that money may lose much of its value after only a couple of days.
For example, if you had traveled to Venezuela in 2018 and converted $1,000 to VES (the Venezuelan Bolívar Soberano), that money would have easily devaluated to less than $500 over the course of a single day since inflation that year peaked at more than 65,000%
Although this is more the exception than the rule, in unstable economies, the prices of goods or services can still change dramatically on short notice. So, instead of enjoying your holiday and experiencing the excursions you had planned well in advance, you would waste most of your time doing currency calculations in your head. You can avoid all these headaches if you pay for your luxury travel expenses using crypto instead of dollars or any other fiat currency. The crypto markets operate 24x7, so you can rest assured that you will always get the most updated rates when transacting in a foreign currency.
Now that we have discussed the benefits of using crypto instead of fiat for your luxury travel expenses let’s understand how you can do it.
If you plan to pay for your luxury travel using crypto, in all probability, you already have some experience with crypto transactions. This probably includes trading, investing in crypto, and perhaps even using crypto to pay for different purchases. If this is the case, some of the steps shown below may not be relevant to your situation. However, even if you have no experience in crypto, you can still pay for your luxury travel using crypto by following these steps.
You can open your crypto wallet with any well-known and reliable platform like Coinbase or Binance. You can also sign up for an account at Bitpay, a platform that allows you to buy, sell and store crypto and pay for goods and services seamlessly.
You can think of your crypto wallet as a digital debit card. Your debit card is connected to your bank, and any transactions you make using it are debited or credited directly to your account. Similarly, a crypto wallet is connected to the blockchain, where it registers all transactions you make.
To fund your crypto wallet, you’ll also need to sign up to a crypto exchange platform that operates with the type of currency you plan to use. These platforms allow you to buy and sell cryptos using fiat currencies (USD or EUR) and other cryptocurrencies as well.
When choosing the right crypto exchange platform, it’s also important to consider your destination to ensure that the platform operates in that country. For example, if you’re planning an Asian getaway trip to Singapore, you must choose a good Singaporean crypto exchange or at least one that works with Singapore dollars (SGDs). That way, you’re sure to be able to fund your wallet whenever you run out of crypto to pay for your trip, or you can exchange your cryptos for Singapore dollars and pay at local shops that don’t accept crypto if you ever need to.
Flights and hotel bookings are the most important things for anyone planning a luxury trip. A large portion of your luxury travel experience will depend on the flights you book to and from your destination and the hotels you stay at. To pay for your booking using crypto and get the broadest possible options, you can go to a website like Travala.com, which is famous among luxury travelers who make their bookings using crypto.
On a website like Travala, you can select from over 2 million hotels and accommodations worldwide and pay for your bookings using crypto. You can also book your business or first-class flight tickets on more than 600 airlines globally. That’s not all. Travala also offers over 410,000 activities, tours, and experiences worldwide that you can book by directly paying in crypto.
Besides Travala, many other websites allow you to book flights, hotel tickets, and activities for your luxury trip using crypto. Some examples include Alternativeairlines.com, Destinia.com, Berkeley Travel (berkeleytravel.co.uk), TravelbyBit.com, xceltrip.com, and even Expedia.
Alternatively, you can sign up for a service like the BitPay Card, which is offered by Bitpay.com. With a BitPay card, not only can you book your flights and hotels using cryptocurrencies, but you can also use it to pay for lavish meals at local restaurants and get cash from ATMs at your destination. All you have to do is sign up for a BitPay Card, which is connected to your BitPay Wallet app, load your BitPay wallet with your favorite cryptocurrencies, and you’re ready to splurge.
If you are not planning to take a luxury trip abroad but somewhere in the United States, using the BitPay card can be even more beneficial for you. BitPay doesn’t charge you any fee or convenience charges when you use your BitPay card for transactions within the US. If you use your BitPay card for transactions outside the United States, the company charges you a flat 3% fee for currency conversions, which is still lower when you compare it with other alternatives.
BitPay also has a partnership with qeeq.com, a website that allows you to book rental cars at multiple destinations worldwide by paying for them in cryptocurrencies. In fact, you don’t even need a BitPay card to book a rental car on queeq.com. You can use any crypto wallet to book your next ride with queeq.com.
Select a Crypto-Friendly Destination for Your Trip
If you haven’t decided on your luxury travel destination yet, you can consider going to a crypto-friendly destination for your holiday. Many countries and geographies worldwide have embraced cryptocurrencies and allow you to transact in crypto at pubs, bars, and hotels using crypto.
For example, if you are planning a luxury holiday within the United States, then California is your best bet for paying for travel expenses using crypto. As the world’s tech hub, California and San Francisco specifically boast many establishments that accept crypto payments. Outside the United States, you can consider visiting El Salvador, a country that officially took Bitcoin as legal tender in 2021. You can also plan your holiday with cryptos in Malta or Canada.
By the way, did you know that the world’s first Bitcoin ATM was installed in a coffee shop in Vancouver, Canada, way back in 2013?
If you plan your luxury trip somewhere in Europe, consider going to Prague or the Czech Republic. Both these countries are deemed crypto-friendly, and you will find multiple merchants accepting these types of payments.
Now that you know how to pay for your luxury trip using only cryptocurrencies, you should also be mindful of three things.
The first and most important thing to remember is that most cryptocurrencies, apart from stablecoins, are highly volatile. If you have already traded cryptocurrencies or have done transactions using them, you would be aware of the nature of the crypto market—it can change its trend in a matter of minutes. So, by the time you plan your trip, make your bookings, and land at your destination, the price of the cryptocurrency (or cryptocurrencies) you use could have changed dramatically.
So, to avoid any unpleasant incidents and return from your luxury holiday with a smile on your face, ensure that you have sufficient balance in your crypto wallet so that a wild swing of 20 to 30% in the value of your holdings doesn’t hamper your travel or the activities you have planned.
The second thing to remember and always be careful with is the security of your crypto wallet. There have been many incidents of online phishing and scams where hackers have gained access to crypto wallets of unsuspecting users using impostor techniques.
You might receive an email or a message from what will appear to be an official travel website that accepts payments in cryptocurrencies, but be very careful when clicking or replying to those messages. Always check with the official travel website to see if they were the ones that sent you the message.
Once you have made a few bookings involving small amounts of money with a travel website that accepts crypto and found them reliable and secure, you can proceed to make all or most of your luxury travel booking using that particular website or app.
There’s a popular saying in the crypto space, “my key, my crypto.” If you mistakingly share your private key with the wrong person or, God forbid, lose it entirely, you’ll likely lose access to your funds for good. Someone could clear out your account in minutes, and because of the anonymity associated with cryptocurrencies, it will be tough to find out who did it and get your crypto back.
No legit and reputable website will ever ask you for your private key since that’s what your crypto wallet is for. It stores your keys and makes it easy for you to access your funds (which are stored in a digital ledger called the blockchain, not in the wallet itself) and transfer them as you please.
With the advent of new apps and websites accepting crypto payments, paying for a luxury trip using cryptocurrency alone is not outlandish anymore. So whether you’re visiting the Cancun beach resorts or beachfront hotels in Alabama, it is becoming more mainstream with each passing day. It might appear daunting for luxury travelers who have never paid for trips using crypto. But once you have made your first booking using crypto, you will realize that it is not very different from using any other payment method. If you start paying for most of your trips in the future using crypto, you are doing your bit to silence the crypto skeptics and strengthen the crypto ecosystem. Just ensure that you follow the standard practices of keeping your crypto wallet safe, and you can now go start packing your bags for that luxury trip you always wanted to take.
Article by Jordan Bishop