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How to Pay with Crypto Abroad

The best ways to pay using crypto

A man smiling while travelling

How to pay for things when travelling abroad

From cash to cryptocurrencies there are many ways to pay for things whilst abroad. Whether you're sitting down for a warm cup of coffee or buying a train ticket to your next destination, you may be wondering how to pay using your digital currencies and if it’s a good way to spend money abroad. At Alternative Airlines we believe that paying in cryptocurrency is the future. That’s why we give you the opportunity to pay for flights with over 600+ airlines with over 100 over your favourite digital currencies using xMoney (formerly Utrust) and It’s as easy as using the search bar located at the top of the page, selecting “Cryptocurrency” at checkout, and paying with your favourite digital currency.

A golden Bitcoin

How to pay with crypto

Cryptocurrency technology has come a long way in the last few years with the likes of crypto debit cards, Bitcoin ATMs and Mobile Wallets allowing you to spend digital currencies whenever and wherever you are. Once you're equipped with your preferred crypto payment method, you need to ensure it is loaded with readily accepted digital currencies. The most popular cryptocurrencies include  Bitcoin, Ethereum and Tether, which all have considerable trading volumes and backing.

Cryptocurrency tokens

What's the advantage of paying with cryptocurrency?

Paying with digital currencies over more traditional payment methods can be a great way to avoid paying international exchange fees, rates and card charges which can often be unfavourable and expensive. As crypto lives digitally it can be used anywhere in the world so long as the merchant accepts cryptocurrency. There are currently 15,000 merchants around the world that accept digital currencies according to Coin Map, so there is plenty to choose from! On top of that, crypto payments are less susceptible to hacking and fraud due to being built alongside strong encryption protocols. Making cryptocurrencies very secure too.

A man paying with a debit card

Crypto Debit Cards:

Crypto debit cards are an excellent choice for people looking to spend their crypto abroad. Like a traditional bank card, a crypto debit card allows you to withdraw and make payments online, in person and at ATMs. The best part of these debit cards is that you can do what a traditional bank card can do but with digital currencies, even if the vendor or ATM doesn’t accept cryptocurrencies. So how does a crypto debit card work? All you need to do is preload your crypto debit card of choice with your favourite digital currency and watch as it is automatically converted into the local currency when making your purchase. It is as simple as that!

Looking for a crypto debit card? When choosing a crypto debit card you should look for one that supports the digital currency you want to use, has low fees and has some perks available. This way you will be able to get the most out of your crypto when making payments. Providers, such as, Wirex and Binance offer some of the best crypto debit cards and are a good place to start if you are looking to spend crypto whilst travelling.

Person Holding A Black Android Phone

Mobile Wallets

Keeping your digital currencies on an exchange like Coinbase can be both risky and inconvenient when making payments whilst travelling. Also known as a software wallet, mobile wallets provide a convenient way of storing and spending your crypto, whilst giving you complete custody over your coins.  A mobile crypto wallet is stored on your phone making your digital currency always within reach, allowing you to manage your crypto portfolio and make payments all from a single app. However, unlike a crypto debit card, mobile wallets will require the vendor to accept cryptocurrency to make payments, meaning travelling to a crypto-friendly country will give you more freedom when using this type of crypto payment.

So how does it work? Most wallet apps use a QR code or NFC technology which can be easily scanned for a seamless payment process in crypto. Alternatively, you can send crypto directly to the vendor's wallet if they provide you with their wallet address. Platforms like Mycelium (best for Bitcoin), Exodus Wallet and Trust Wallet, make it easy for you to start using and managing your crypto on the go with easy-to-use apps.

Bitcoins on top of a pile of US Dollars

Bitcoin ATMs

In select destinations,  you can find Bitcoin ATMs, which allow you to either buy Bitcoin or sell it in exchange for the local fiat currency. This is a great option for people looking to top up their mobile wallets or get cash using their BTC balance. Using Bitcoin ATMs will allow you to use Bitcoin to fuel your travel but will still require you to physically pay in fiat currencies if withdrawing. Additionally, you will need a crypto wallet where you can receive and send Bitcoin to use Bitcoin ATMs. However, using these ATMs can come with high transaction fees making regular purchases more expensive than they would be with fiat currency.

There are over 28,000 Bitcoin ATMs globally. For example, in San Francisco, there are hundreds of Bitcoin ATMs, whereas in some other cities, there are none. If you are planning to use this way to pay then make sure to research your destination to make sure it has these specific ATMs available and where they are located.

Man with black phone and pink debit card making a bank transfer

Direct Transactions

Don’t fancy any of the other options? If you are travelling to a crypto-friendly country that has vendors accepting digital currency you can directly transfer to them using their wallet address. This can be done directly from the exchange or your mobile wallet, all you need is access to your cryptocurrencies. However, this is not as convenient as other options and is limited to vendors who accept digital currencies and are willing to give you their wallet address.

Things to Consider

Is crypto legal where you are travelling?

Regulations on cryptocurrencies vary from country to country. Whilst many nations are becoming more open to the use of digital currencies, some others have strict laws and even outright bans against them. For example, cryptocurrency is completely banned in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, make sure to check your home country's crypto use when abroad regulations to make sure you are fully compliant. 

Research your destination

As with crypto's legality, not every country has the same adoption of digital currencies. Make sure to research your destination and specific businesses that accept crypto before travelling to help plan your trip and avoid disappointment. For example, Ljubljana in Slovenia has a Bitcoin shopping area known as the Bitcoin City, something that can easily be missed if you do not research beforehand.

Have backup options

Like with any travel money, it is always good to have a backup option. This ensures you have money to fall back on if you lose access or if something happens to your digital assets whilst you are travelling. Save yourself from worry and take some of the local currency as a backup plan.