You probably adopted a nomadic lifestyle out of a desire for freedom and flexibility. Freedom from a 9-5 schedule, lengthy commutes, inner-city rent and the growing pile of unneeded possessions. The flexibility to live anywhere with WiFi and have new experiences every day.
Okay, you don’t literally work on the beach with a fruity drink in one hand. Sometimes it gets lonely and your phone once got stolen in a dodgy hostel. Still, you’re living the modern dream.
But there’s one area where finding total freedom and flexibility is especially complicated.
Managing money is one of the worst parts of a location-independent lifestyle. I’ve been there. It’s a nightmare.
Everywhere you look, new fees and expenses appear. ATM fees. Withdrawal fees. Currency conversion fees. Taxes for different countries. The inevitable scams.
Then there’s the matter of getting paid if you’re a freelancer or work remote. Fees for payment platforms like PayPal can add up to thousands of pounds a year. Plus, they’re not available everywhere. Banks transfers can be slow and even more expensive.
And sticking to a budget isn’t easy either. You need to factor in all those fees, currency conversions, a different cost of living in each place and possibly a variable income. If you’re self-employed, savings for emergencies, retirement and tax need to fit in too. Even if you’d prefer to spend that money on a plane ticket.
Oh, and your bank might freeze your account for ‘unusual activity.’
Suffice to say, a nomadic lifestyle makes keeping your finances in order a challenge. Although those hours on hold with your bank’s customer service don’t show up in your carefree Instagram pictures, they’re still a part of your life.
Like many nomads, you’re probably constantly looking for new ways to make your life simpler. Maybe you’ve found a few hacks and tricks over the year. Those can’t compare to the way managing your finances while traveling is about to change.
Most parts of full-time travel have become a lot easier in recent years. It’s easy to find accommodation, book flights, learn languages and run a business. Managing your money has become easier, though it is still far from painless.
Cryptocurrencies now have the potential to end some of those financial problems.
Bitcoin isn’t controlled by a single government, bank or nation. This makes it ideal for digital nomads. Seamless international transfers and payments are now a reality – without those heavy fees and lengthy waits. Without a middleman, no one can freeze your account as you travel. There’s no cost for converting currency in each new country either.
Blockchain technology could also make traveling simpler
Bitcoin introduced the world to the idea of a blockchain, an ingenious technology with the potential to transform the way you travel. For full-time travelers, it’s worth keeping an eye on new developments.
Blockchains can serve almost any purpose. Currency is only the beginning. If you’re not familiar with the foundational technology, here’s a summary of how it works.
A blockchain is, at its simplest, a digital ledger which is not controlled by any single person, organisation or government. Each pseudo anonymous record (such as a transaction) is recorded publicly and is irreversible. Blockchains are very secure as every person on the network needs to agree to any changes.
For the travel industry, the implications are incredible. Using blockchain technology, you could verify your identity with a fingerprint at the airport. No need to queue for hours. You could keep track of loyalty programs in one place and keep tabs on your baggage. Even better, blockchains are perfect for the sharing economy. You could rent a car, bike or room with ease. For the people renting their vehicles or homes, the permanent nature of blockchains means they can check your payment history.
Some of these possibilities are still ideas, others are now a reality (or close to being one.) Cutting the middlemen out could save full-time travellers a lot of time, money and hassle. Imagine getting on a flight, checking into your accommodation and exploring your new location. All with no need to share your payment details or risking getting scammed.