Cryptocurrencies have been making waves in the investment and trading worlds in recent years, with soaring prices over the past twelve months alone garnering them worldwide attention thanks to the potential long-term gains they can offer those who dare to take a risk.
For some while, they have been a prominent presence, but one that to most of the population, was an irrelevance – thought by many to be a novelty or gimmick that would never make it into the mainstream. But the latest developments in the world of crypto have shown that this digital asset is certainly here to stay. Big name companies ranging from Tesla to Microsoft are now accepting Bitcoin as a means of payment, while trading platforms such as Bitiq have also been reporting a huge surge in sign ups as more and more of us it seems are looking to learn the ropes and start our crypto trading journey.
More recently, we’ve seen an increasing number of travel companies dipping their toes into the water in a bid to cater to their high-net-worth customer bases. With an increasing demand amongst wealthier investors for such options when it comes to booking holidays or securing first class flights, the likes of Expedia, Booking.com and even boutique operators like Berkeley Travel have rolled out crypto as a payment method – with more major airlines and hotel groups soon expected to follow suit.
So, if you want to buy coins this year but aren’t sure how or where you’ll be able to spend your profits, then it looks like your luck is in.
Here, we take a look at some of the many ways the travel industry is already embracing crypto – and the things you can book now using these sought-after digital currencies.
Today, several airlines allow you to buy tickets for their flights with Bitcoins. Sales are made through integrations with payment platforms – however, the most common option is to buy tickets through the so-called aggregators, which are, in fact, bitcoin shops.
The process of purchasing a ticket is quite simple, and works much the same as it would do when buying it with any other means of payment. All you have to do is to choose your route, airline and additional services – for example, extra baggage or special meals – then select Bitcoin as your payment method. While Air Baltic was the first airline in the world to announce it would start accepting Bitcoin, sites like Alternative Airlines have now made flights with more than 600 operators available for purchase in such a way – connecting you to your digital wallet and allowing you to make an instant transfer.
Those looking for short-term accommodation, such as a hotel room, apartment, or private villa can now pay in Bitcoin in multiple locations worldwide. With a growing number of providers now accepting the leading cryptocurrency, as well as an increasing list of other digital assets, high-net-worth individuals and savvy investors alike are now finding their trading fortunes are becoming more versatile than ever. With travel giants like Expedia allowing customers to book accommodation via their websites as just the click of a few buttons, we can expect to see competitors clamour to offer a similar service over the coming years in a bid to retain – or grow – their market shares.
Car rental or taxi service
It’s not just international travel companies that are making the move towards accepting crypto, and even car rentals and taxi services can now be paid for in such a way. Just this April, it was announced that an agreement had been struck between the HIPS Payment Group and The Payment House that will allow more than 20,000 taxis in Scandinavia and 10,000 more in the UK to handle cryptocurrencies, and we can expect to see this trend continue to grow as crypto goes more and more mainstream.
A universal payment service
Today, a project exists and is developing that makes possible the daily use of cryptocurrencies, and the essence of its function is very simple. Your account is tied to a cryptocurrency wallet, and when paying a bill in a store, restaurant, Internet, or hotel, by bitcoin, the cryptocurrency is converted into regular (fiat) currency, with the seller receiving payment in traditional money. The service has, in recent years, entered into partnership agreements with the largest payment systems in the world, and its versatile nature has meant for a seamless experience for parties on both sides that many are hailing as the future of payments of all kinds.
The bottom line
There’s no denying that crypto’s influence is growing, and it continues to make its mark on travel in 2021 – with some exciting developments likely to be afoot over the coming years. These examples of the increasing number of ways digital money can now be spent on travel are just a small snapshot of what is available on the global market today – and the huge potential for further growth depends only on the imagination of users and developers.