You will agree that even in this era of credit and debit cards, which are usable across international borders, it still makes a lot of sense to obtain local hard currency immediately you land in a foreign city or country.
But, why do you need to convert your foreign currency, or Bitcoins, to that of your host country?
While you can have your card swiped, or you pay with Bitcoins, for things like dinners, accommodation and shopping, you still need fiat money for a cab, a bottle of water on the street, tip for the waiter or even acquiring an artifact you admire on the beach.
Even more compelling is when you have to visit rural towns and villages where you are exposed to an economy that is not served by ATMs or Bitcoins and accepts only hard currency for essentially every transaction.
In addition to these reasons, having local currency in coins and notes is also a good way to protect yourself from unpleasant eventualities such as having your card swallowed by an ATM on the eve of a long public holiday, stolen or being erroneously marked by the issuer as fraudulent for being used in very questionable part of the world.
You may also want to save some few bucks by avoiding administrative costs that are charged on payments done through cards, which are even higher with interbank processes.
Now, that brings us to the second question, which is also the most-critical: how do you acquire local currency at the lowest possible rate?
One of the most common methods that travelers have used over the years is dashing to a local bank or bureau de change after arrival. Of course, that becomes a real hassle when your schedule is tight. In addition, the rates and commission may not be as cheap.
The foreign exchange desk at the airport seems to be the perfect solution; it saves you time and puts you on the right financial footing immediately in your host city. This option, however, is very expensive and will cost you, at times, as high as 20 percent of the amount you change, not very economical at all.
The same story of hefty fees and commissions by both the issuers and merchant banks can be told of ATM withdrawals, traveler’s checks and other forms of conventional money exchange services.
This is how the Bitcoin ATM at the airport becomes the best option. It offers you the opportunity to exchange your dollars or pounds for the local currency right at the gateway of your host country.
This machine also makes the process of currency exchange easier, faster and, more importantly, cheaper than all the other money exchange services because the transactions are free from multiple charging by several entities.
Furthermore, at the end of your stay, you can easily and cheaply change the local currency back to bitcoins before you catch your flight out.