The growth of crypto vacations
Back when Taihuttu purchased bitcoin, it was valued at $900 (Rs 68,647approx in today’s conversion rate) and crypto transactions were few. Now, you can do anything with cryptocurrency, including travelling. Crypto vacations are becoming popular in India as more millennials now use cryptocurrency to travel around the country. “We polled 1,000 people last year and 22 per cent of them said they plan to use cryptocurrency to pay for part of their travel after the pandemic. So, there’s a lot of interest in these transactions,” says Juan Otero, co-founder and CEO of Travala.com, one of the first travel portals to allow the use of cryptocurrencies for travel bookings.
More than 70 per cent travellers aged between 26 and 40 years, opt to book with crypto and this is going to grow further
-As per Travala.com, a travel portal
At 10.07 crore, India has the highest number of crypto owners in the world in terms of an individual number of holders
-As per a 2021 study by BrokerChooser, a broker discovery and comparison platform
YOLO Backpackers, a hostel in Manali, started allowing crypto transactions in April 2021. Haneesh Thakur, from the hostel’s team, says, “It allows greater control over money and transfers than any other banking system, and it’s as simple as using UPI payment.” Travel websites across the country witnessed a double hike in international bookings after the government eased travel restrictions. Bookings for Malaysia, Thailand, and Dubai skyrocketed as international travel opened. Sathvik Vishwanath, co-founder and CEO of Unocoin, an online portal for buying and selling cryptocurrency, explains that using cryptocurrency for international travel is a great option, as one doesn’t have to worry about extra charges on transactions or foreign exchange fees. “By making cryptocurrencies a mode of transaction, travel portals are becoming global in nature and allowing ease of transactions,” says Sathvik, who believes that Indian millennials are going to take this trend ahead, prompting more portals to become crypto-friendly. Sathvik also shares that as opposed to credit and debit card transactions, crypto payments are irreversible, with instant settlement and no extra charges.
In June 2021, there were 3200 searches for keywords related to travel and cryptocurrency, compared to almost none a year ago at the same time
– As per Similarweb, a web analytics company
The value of 1 bitcoin at the beginning of April 2022 was equivalent to Rs 35.3 lakh (approx). As of April 19, it was priced at Rs 32.4 lakh.
Are crypto bookings equal to traditional bookings?
Yes, cryptocurrency bookings are treated the same as any other bookings made in traditional government-issued currencies, such as INR, USD or EUR. “Though travellers book using cryptocurrency, we still pay our travel suppliers around the world in fiat (govt-issued) currency. The hotel or airline does not know what payment method was used to make a specific booking, so there’s no discrimination between cryptocurrency and fiat bookings,” says Juan.
Are crypto bookings safe?
Unfortunately, cryptocurrency is liable to change rapidly and unpredictably. That’s a disadvantage compared to traditional currency. “Your cryptocurrency can buy you a plane ticket on one day, but the next day its value might only be enough to buy you a basic meal at an eatery. So, it is always suggested to invest a minimum amount in cryptocurrency and then sell or use it at a time when its value is higher than the price you bought it for,” says financial advisor Saurav Dhami.
How much cryptocurrency do you need for a booking?
The cryptocurrency value of a booking is calculated in real-time at checkout. For example, if the value of bitcoin on a particular day is equivalent to Rs 3 lakh, and an Indian traveller wants to use cryptocurrency to make a booking worth Rs50000, then they will pay approximately 0.0166 bitcoin to complete the booking.
Portals that allow cryptocurrencies
Travala.com, CheapAir, TravelByBit, Bitcoin.Travel, ETravelSmart
Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, Slovenia, Estonia
Tips for new crypto owners
1. Keep your pass key stored safely or make a travel wallet
2. Don’t send cryptocurrency straight from an exchange. It will delay the process.
3. Book using either a non-custodial cryptocurrency wallet, or depositing funds to your travel website
4. If your cryptocurrency is at an attractive price but you aren’t ready to book, you can purchase credits on the travel portal that are denominated in fiat and never expire, allowing you to use it on future travel
5. Always double-check the wallet address you’re sending cryptocurrency to. The finality of blockchain technology makes it very difficult to recover funds sent to the wrong address
-As shared by Juan Otero, co-founder and CEO of a travel portal
– The first crypto transaction is said to be done in 2010 by a man in Florida who bought two pizzas with 10000 bitcoins
– There are around 18000 cryptocurrencies as of March 2022, with around 10000 being considered active
– A man in Wales is trying to get his local city council to allow him to excavate a landfill in Wales where he disposed his hard drive that had 7,500 bitcoins in it back in 2013
Did you know?
One of the most popular cryptocurrencies, Dogecoin, started as a joke. The creators of Dogecoin invented the token around the image of the Shiba Inu dog from the popular ‘doge’ meme.