Thanks to the internet and the subsequent rise of cryptocurrencies, we are living in an increasingly borderless world. Digital nomads bounce from country to country and some intrepid travelers have started using bitcoin or ethereum in order to have more control over their financial accounts.
But as crypto becomes more mainstream there are more pitfalls, especially when it comes to protecting your digital security.
Whether you’re interested in exploring the crypto nomad lifestyle more, or just want to buy a beer with BTC, here are ten tips on staying safe and having fun while traveling with cryptocurrency.
- Get a hardware wallet for day-to-day transactions.
While traveling the world using only bitcoin, Feliz Weis, a 30-year-old from Luxembourg, relied on a Trezor wallet. He was so committed to safeguarding his wallet, he even traveled to the Czech Republic to pick up it up in person.
- Use a multi-signature wallet for your savings.
If you put your day-to-day money in a hardware wallet, use a multi-signature wallet for savings.
“Ask yourself the ‘what if?’ questions,” advises Bryan Micon, a crypto trader and traveler. “What happens if you lose your phone? Do you have that wallet backed up properly? Do you want to take your Trezor with you or leave it home in the safe? We all remember what happened to Fluffy Pony when he took his on a boat!”
- Two-factor authenticate your life.
One of the best parts about crypto is also one of the worst: the community is tech-centric. Which means that protecting your digital identity is extremely important when you are spending crypto.
All travelers should have two-factor authentication on their important accounts, including banking, email and all social media platforms. But Laura Shin, the journalist behind crypto podcasts Unchained and Unconfirmed and former Forbes staffer, points out that you need to consider having two-factor authentication on anything that even lists your home address, including sites like eBay.
- Make a Google Voice account that is linked to a different email.
Creating a Google Voice phone number is a good digital security tip for all globetrotters, but even more important when you are traveling with crypto. You should use this phone number for everything as your cell number or landline are more easily traceable and linked to your identity.
- Use resources like CoinMap to find Bitcoin-friendly cities.
If you want to try bitcoin travel, it makes sense to head to an area with higher density of BTC-accepting businesses. CoinMap lists bitcoin-accepting venues around the world.
Pro-tip: since CoinMap relies on crowdsourcing for its postings, make sure to verify that businesses are still open if you are planning your trip around BTC-accepting locations. Since crypto is so volatile, both in its value and how different governments are adapting, its important to make sure your information is up-to-date. It would be a bummer to book a trip to Beijing only to find out that cryptocurrency exchanges were recently banned.
- Book tickets and accommodation on CheapAir.com.
Experts recommend using CheapAir or Distenia if you want to book a flight with Bitcoin. CheapAir has been booking flights with crypto since 2013, and now also accepts litecoin and Dash payments.
- Purchase flight insurance with Fizzy.
French company AXA designed Fizzy, a customer-facing platform in beta that executes flight insurance using smart contracts on the ethereum blockchain. Travel insurance typically is such a huge headache, but thanks to blockchain, Fizzy offers automatic insurance claims.
Since cancellations and delays are part of a highly-controlled, high-quality data network, flight insurance is in some ways perfect for a smart contract. Experts expectto see similar blockchain-based contracts in other fields soon.
- Be flexible in your flight routing.
Anas Almohammad, a 26-year-old crypto enthusiast living in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, uses bitcoin to book his flights on CheapAir although it means departing from Abu Dhabi, rather than his home in Dubai. The computer programmer was an early adopter and doesn’t mind the inconvenience as he believes it’s important to promote spending crypto.
- Find a crypto meet up.
Talk to anyone whose been in cryptocurrency long enough and they all rave about the same thing: the community.
“There is this sense of identity and belonging that comes with owning a certain coin or just being in the crypto space period,” says Shin. Pointing out that this affinity is similar to any subculture like yoga or surfing, she says that the community is probably stronger because “the users are also like the owners of the network.”
“The community is great,” says Gili Gershonok. The 34-year crypto nomad says that the online society helps her feel at home no matter where she is in the world, whether it is Spain, the United Kingdom or Thailand.
- Connect with other crypto fans for peer-to-peer exchanges.
While traveling with crypto exclusively, Weis relied on the community for peer-to-peer exchanges. He used the site LocalBitcoins to find fellow enthusiasts to exchange BTC for fiat or other goods.
This is the second in a series on crypto travel. The first post focused on the rise of crypto nomads. The third will highlight the best bitcoin cities in the world.
Alexandra Talty is a writer and columnist, exploring the world on a journalist’s paycheck. Follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram.