This is an opinion piece by HodlingCarla, an avid traveler and bitcoin advocate.
Few things excite me as much as visiting a new corner of the world, and my passport can attest to that. I have visited 45 countries, lived in nine and traveled to every continent except Antarctica.
After years of globetrotting, I thought part of my life would now be over. But just when I started to feel the urge to settle down and put down roots, something happened: I discovered Bitcoin. My life was then radically changed. Not only has this transformed my view of the world, but it has also rekindled a fire within me to keep moving and seek out people who have gone through the same revival.
Combining my passions for adventure and hard money, I have recently started focusing on visiting emerging Bitcoin circular economies around the world. From helping me save time and money to feeling more protected and connected with the people I meet along the way, using Bitcoin has been a game-changer for my experiences. of travel.
In this article, I explain how Bitcoin has helped me solve common money problems known to travelers around the world and how it has made my travels more special in several ways.
Bitcoin helps travelers save time
If I had a sat for every time I had to deal with payment-related issues in a foreign country, I’d have a stack big enough to make Michael Saylor jealous. Whether it was finding a currency exchange with decent rates, looking for a store that accepted my cards, or calling my bank to resolve credit card issues, I wasted so much valuable time on these problems that just thinking about them frustrates me.
In a few scenarios, it even resulted in my itinerary being disrupted and a significant dose of anxiety, like when it happened on a trip to a remote island in the Philippines in 2015. Although I had a good moment, it wasn’t long before I found myself short of cash, with no ATMs or exchange offices in the area. In the end, I was saved by the only Western Union office in town – when it finally opened two days into my crisis.
If the locals and I had heard about Bitcoin then, my trip would have gone as planned and my stress level would have remained stable the entire time.
Eight years later, I returned to the Philippines, but this time my money experience was much better. For what? Because I chose the island of Boracay, also known as “Bitcoin Island”,as destination.
Thanks to the many merchants now accepting Philippine pesos through the Bitcoin Lightning Network rail, I was able to process all payments digitally. It saved me from wasting time dealing with cash, ATMs and exchange offices and allowed me to do more of what I wanted to do: enjoy the island.
Bitcoin has helped me save time.
Bitcoin helps travelers save money
As a backpacker, I have always been very conscious of my budget. Street food, hostels, and overnight bus rides were my bread and butter, but one thing I could never avoid was those unwanted and often unexpected expenses that come with the territory.
Think of the credit card charges which, in Guatemala, can cost up to 10%and ATM fees which, in Thailand, can amount to $6 per withdrawal for foreign bank cards plus your bank charges. Even the exchange rates are expensive, as I found that they usually charge 10% for their services. These small numbers might not seem like a lot, but they add up quickly, meaning a lot for someone traveling on a budget.
But that was never a problem when visiting Bitcoin communities. Indeed, the only fees involved in bitcoin payments are transaction costs, which are often negligible or non-existent. And I also appreciated the benefits beyond these hotspots, as many companies today offer a discount if you pay in bitcoin. If you’ve ever bought tickets to a Bitcoin conference, you might know what I’m talking about.
Bitcoin has helped me save money.
Bitcoin improves traveler safety
Whenever I share stories of my solo adventures, the subject of safety always comes up. While street smarts and sound decisions helped me avoid real danger, I repeatedly faced another kind of inconvenience: fraud.
In Vietnam, I got scammed by a taxi driver with fake Vietnamese dong bills. In Bali my travel card was cloned and I only found out when the culprits tried to withdraw money in the middle of the night. To this day, I have no idea how they did it. And I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve felt my heart race using an ATM in a dodgy location or at odd hours of the day or night and come away with three days worth of money liquid in my bag.
Browsing exclusively on Bitcoin eliminates all of these concerns for me. And that makes perfect sense. When you’re not handling cash, ATMs or credit cards, your risk is minimized and your peace of mind is maximized.
My only goal is to protect my phone, even if I lose it, I can still access my funds by recovering my wallet on a new device. That’s why it’s important to save your seed phrase, folks!
Bitcoin has improved my security.
Bitcoin makes travel more meaningful
Poverty, weakening currencies and countless unbanked people are among the greatest afflictions facing developing countries today. Call it selfish or over the top, but paying locals for their goods and services in bitcoins is more rewarding than giving them pieces of paper with guaranteed value.
During a visit to Lake Bitcoin in Guatemala, for example, it was wonderful to see how many merchants in the local market were accepting bitcoin. This has allowed them to attract more customers, make more sales, and spark more conversations about the significant changes they have undergone since using bitcoin as their currency.
Being able to pay hard-working people in Bitcoin feels more authentic and makes for a more memorable trading and linking experience. It makes sightseeing more meaningful and worth all the time and effort spent planning a trip to these unique places around the world.
Bitcoin has made my travels more meaningful.
Needless to say, my travel experience hasn’t been the same since I discovered Bitcoin. Understanding money and its profound effects on all aspects of our lives has dramatically changed the way I view the world and navigate life wherever I go.
As an avid drifter, I want to see more places adopt Bitcoin in the future. This will help empower communities, boost economies, and grab the attention of Bitcoiners like me who will want to encourage and support them in any way possible.
This is a guest post by HodlingCarla. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.