Since the advent of Bitcoin in 2009, cryptocurrency has been slowly but steadily gaining popularity among a wide range of people. Many early adopters were drawn to crypto for its perceived anonymity and lack of government control. However, in recent years crypto users have come to appreciate its potential as a tool for financial independence and privacy.
Here are five ways cryptocurrency is changing personal travel:
Cryptocurrency is an excellent way to send funds internationally
Sending money overseas can be a tricky proposition at the best of times. Using your conventional bank account will likely be hit with steep foreign transaction costs and withdrawal fees. Banks and exchange companies levy these charges on the other end, converting your funds to local currency.
Cryptocurrency is a great way to avoid these charges because it can be sent directly from one wallet to another without going through a third party. Some of the cost savings on sending funds overseas using crypto are:
- No foreign transaction fees or exchange rate markup
- No limits on the number of funds you can send
There are several options for sending funds across international borders using cryptocurrency. One method uses a money transfer service that utilizes Bitcoin or another popular cryptocurrency as its primary currency.
Cryptocurrency is helping to democratize travel
Over the years, several websites have come along, allowing travelers to directly connect with locals who are willing to host them during their stay in foreign countries. Perhaps some of best known of these services include Airbnb and Couchsurfing. Unfortunately for crypto users, both of these sites currently only accept conventional payment methods such as credit cards and bank transfers.
However, the number of similar services that utilize Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is rising. Currently, there are several famous examples, including travel bloggers out in the wild. Some of the most well-known include:
In addition to these, several other sites are currently in various stages of development. Shortly, crypto users may connect directly with locals offering homestays and tours via a growing list of decentralized travel booking platforms.
Crypto is facilitating direct person-to-person interactions within the travel industry
One significant benefit offered by blockchain technology over conventional technologies is the elimination of third-party intermediaries. It can help significantly lower costs by allowing direct interactions between the service provider and the customer. An excellent example of this is how blockchain technology has already reduced banking fees to near zero, allowing people in underdeveloped countries to gain access to financial services. Cryptocurrency PR is also gaining ground in promoting travel and tourism.
Blockchain technology is also changing how the travel industry operates. Some of the most innovative applications are being developed for travel-related services, including online marketplaces built directly into existing websites with millions of users.
While these projects are still in their infancy, you can eventually use them to facilitate direct person-to-person interactions between travel service providers and their customers. Some of the most notable projects currently under development include:
- Winding Tree
Crypto may be the answer to the high cost of hotel loyalty programs
One major factor that can often deter would-be travelers from booking trips is the high cost of hotel loyalty programs. These programs give customers the ability to earn points for each night’s stay, which you can redeem at a later date. Unfortunately, most hotels require customers to spend hundreds of dollars to save. For example, Hilton Honors requires you to pay $1,000 before your points are valid for any redemption. Other programs are not much better.
It has become a problem for many travelers today, especially those who plan to stay in one location for several days or weeks at a time. Since most loyalty memberships only allow the customer to earn points within that hotel chain, this quickly becomes an issue when trying to rack up enough points for a more extended stay.
Cryptocurrency as payment for transportation services
Finally, another central pain point for travelers is the exorbitant fees charged by most taxi and ride-share dispatch companies. It is not uncommon to be charged hundreds of dollars for an otherwise short trip across town during peak hour traffic. Just think about this for a moment: you could end up paying more for a three-mile ride than you would for an international plane ticket.
Fortunately, several options within the cryptocurrency space can help lower this transportation problem. One of these includes Ridecoin. The company is currently developing a decentralized ride-sharing service that can reduce fees to as little as 1%. It would be a massive boon for those who rely on these services every day, and it could even help increase overall profits (and wages) for drivers.
Will cryptocurrency become the de facto means of payment by travelers in the future? That remains to be seen. But it is safe to say that the technology is already beginning to significantly impact this multi-trillion dollar industry.