The Bitcoin frenzy has seized worldwide headlines and cryptocurrency markets over the past few months. Since Jan. 1, Bitcoin has skyrocketed 1,824%, hitting an all-time high earlier this week just short of $20,000.
Bitcoin’s meteoric rise has many market watchers and investors warning against the volatile digital currency. Jack Bogle, Vanguard founder and father of the first index fund, said to “avoid Bitcoin like the plague,” at Council on Foreign Relations event last month. “There is nothing to support Bitcoin except the hope that you will sell it to someone for more than you paid for it,” he said.
Nevertheless, the cryptocurrency has crept into the mainstream and everyday people are investing.
While Bitcoin is still not widely accepted at most retailers and merchants, quite a number of travel sites have adopted it into their payment options. Travelers could see Bitcoin as a way to circumvent costs of currency conversion, ATM withdrawal fees, transactions fees, and fraud risks that come with international credit card use, according to digital currency news site CoinDesk.
Here’s how you can use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to book your next trip.
- CheapAir.com was the first online travel agency in the world to accept payments in Bitcoin in 2013. The California-based company offers flights on all major airlines and to all major airports worldwide.
- Spanish travel agency Destinia.com also accepts Bitcoin. To book a flight or hotel, just swap the currency to “BTC” at the top right of the homepage.
- ABitSky.com is specifically geared toward travel around continental Europe.
- Latvia’s national airline airBaltic has accepted Bitcoin since 2014 for its discount flights to the Baltics, Russia and Europe.
- Earlier this year, Japanese air carrier Peach Aviation announced it will would start accepting Bitcoin for its discount flights through North Asia by the end of 2017.
- eGifter.com is an online gift card shop that lets you buy bitcoin gift cards for airlines like American Airlines, (AAL) Delta, (DAL) and Southwest Airlines (LUV).
- And future space tourists can even use Bitcoin to purchase their tickets into sub orbit, according to Virgin Galactic. Billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson’s space company plans to launch the first commercial passenger spaceflights before the end of 2018, the company said in April.
- Travel agencies CheapAir and Destinia also accept Bitcoin payments for hotel bookings.
- Expedia doesn’t accept Bitcoin for flights, but it does for hotel bookings. The travel giant uses an online platform called Coinbase to secure transfers of the digital currency.
- Gyft.com is a digital gift card platform that lets you buy gift cards in Bitcoin to Hotels.com, which offers bookings at more than 150,000 hotels.
- 9flats.com, Airbnb’s European rival headquartered in Berlin, accepts Bitcoin payments for its short term home rentals.
- Bookings in Bitcoin on CheapAir and Destinia not only work for hotels and flights, but also car rentals.
- For road trips, try CoinFuel. The site offers gasoline gift cards in Bitcoin to an array of gas stations across the United States including Shell, BP, Sunoco, and Gulf.
- CoinFuel also lets you purchase Uber gift cards to the ride-hailing app, which does not accept Bitcoin yet.
For spending and shopping in Bitcoin
- Once you’re on the ground, trying using digital mapping tool CoinMap to locate BitCoin friendly stores and restaurants.
- This BitCoin ATM map can help find places to fill your digital wallet.