We all love to travel, but exploring a new country with fiat currency can take a lot of effort. Coins and cash weigh down your pockets and on top of that, you need to convert your money. That’s why traveling with bitcoin (BTC) is a great option. You don’t need to convert BTC and you never physically carry it. Best of all, there’s a lot of freedom that comes with it. If you’re curious about traveling with crypto but don’t know where to start, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.
Preparing for travel
Before starting your journey, it’s essential to be prepared. This means getting your virtual wallet in order and filling it with bitcoin before you set sail. An easy way to get access to a free wallet is to sign up for an exchange. Many exchanges not only give new accounts a wallet, but also allow you to buy, sell, and convert cryptocurrencies.
A great example is Paxful — a peer-to-peer exchange with 350+ payment methods. By the way, Paxful also offers three cryptocurrencies to trade with: bitcoin, Tether (USDT), and Ethereum.
With that in mind, here are some of the top payment methods you can use on Paxful:
- Bank transfers
- Online wallets
- Gift cards from international stores
- Local trades for cash in-person
- Altcoins (like ethereum and litecoin)
To use bitcoin while traveling, you just need an open mind and the willingness to do some research.
What to do during travel
If you can’t access crypto through exchanges before traveling, another great option is bitcoin ATMs. These ATMs are different from their traditional versions since BTC ATMs don’t dispense physical currency. Instead, they connect to the blockchain and allow users to buy bitcoins using a payment method like a debit card. From there, the BTC is deposited into your virtual wallet.
This might seem like a new concept for those who are used to traditional ATMs, but here’s an interesting bitcoin fact: There are BTC ATMs all around the world. In fact, here are some locations with the most BTC ATMs:
- United States. The United States has a big market for bitcoin ATMs. BTC ATMs have become especially popular in New York and San Francisco. They’re home to so many because NYC and SF are the two tech capitals of the US (and potentially the world.)
- Canada. Canada has a large crypto community. The country has already taken positive regulatory action, which is ahead of what other countries have done. At the time of writing, there are more than 24 vendors in Vancouver alone that accept BTC. On top of that, there are almost 40 ATMs in this British Columbia city.
- Netherlands. In Amsterdam alone, there are 30 vendors that accept bitcoin and 12 BTC ATMs. Utrecht, Rotterdam, and The Hague also have many vendors, such as bike rentals, that accept bitcoin as a form of payment. Amsterdam may have a heavy BTC presence because it’s the location of a popular mining hardware maker.
Popular locations that accept BTC
The previously listed locations are not only great for finding BTC ATMs, but they’re also leaders in accepting BTC as payment. If you’re looking for more places to travel to that are bitcoin-friendly, here are some more destinations where many merchants welcome crypto:
- Japan. Japan is considered a significant crypto trading center. Similar to the United States, Japan is regarded as the primary country for technological innovation.
- Singapore. Singapore is also known as a crypto trading hub since the government doesn’t strongly influence crypto prices. Cryptocurrency is so popular in Singapore that 93% of the population has heard of it and a whopping 66% of 26 to 45-year-olds own crypto.
- El Salvador. Of course, we couldn’t forget to add El Salvador to the list. This country is the only nation to accept bitcoin as one of its legal tenders. bitcoin was added to the list in June 2021 by President Nayib Bukele, which means the list of merchants using bitcoin keeps expanding.
- Nigeria. It’s no secret that Nigeria is an emerging market, especially when it comes to cryptocurrency. A Statista Global Consumer Survey even mentioned that Nigeria is one of the top countries that uses crypto.
One of the reasons behind Nigeria’s high adoption rates is that Nigerians send money across borders; these are known as remittances. Remittances have high costs and fees, but with crypto, sending money worldwide has become more accessible. It’s even been reported that the country posts about $18.8 million a week on peer-to-peer exchanges alone. This is more than what North America trades weekly.
Countries that don’t accept bitcoin
While we’ve gone over the countries that are welcoming towards crypto, some areas of the world aren’t as accepting. Some of these countries have outright banned crypto trading and/or digital currencies because of the perceived threat. Make sure you read up on these countries before traveling there with a virtual wallet.
- China. Bitcoin is nearly banned in China. While holding BTC and other cryptos is not necessarily forbidden, it is illegal for financial institutions and exchanges to process BTC.
- Russia. In Russia, it’s not illegal to hold BTC or trade it, however, similar to China, you can’t use crypto payments for goods or services.
- Bolivia and Ecuador. Bolivia and Ecuador both have completely banned crypto from being used. Ecuador even voted on the use of bitcoin in 2018 and a majority vote in the national assembly decided against it.
A tip before packing your bags
No matter where you’re jetting off to, researching your destination is always a safe bet. Whether you’re carrying bitcoin or another form of crypto, knowing if the location you’re going to accepts crypto is helpful. It’s also important to look into the ways you can convert and buy bitcoin. With more knowledge and acceptance of bitcoin, it’s more likely that it’ll become easier to use bitcoin from country to country. Keep researching and keep using bitcoin, you’ll never know where it’ll take you!
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