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Navigating the World with Bitcoin: 7 Expert Tips for Key Management While Traveling

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Originally featured on Unchained.com.

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Taking control of your keys involves additional responsibility, a crucial aspect of bitcoin security. But how do you manage this when traveling? Should you carry the keys to your bitcoin wallet if you have a significant amount in cold storage? And if you do travel with keys, what precautions should you take to maintain security? Here are seven tips for traveling with bitcoin, ensuring you stay in control while minimizing risks:
1. Carry only the wallets you need
Bitcoin allows you to divide funds into multiple wallets, enabling you to carry only the keys necessary for smaller amounts. Keep your savings in cold storage multisig while holding some on your phone’s hot wallet like BlueWallet or Muun. By carrying keys to specific wallets, you can transact with bitcoin while keeping the majority of your savings secure in cold storage, eliminating single points of failure.
 
2. Consider your destination
Evaluate the risks of carrying your bitcoin keys by considering your destination and travel plans. Is the crime rate in your destination high? If so, be cautious about holding keys to significant bitcoin amounts on your device. Adjust your security model when traveling to events where bitcoin ownership is assumed to minimize exposure.
  
3. Avoid traveling with seed phrase backups
While it’s essential to secure your seed phrases, they are vulnerable compared to hardware wallets. Consider leaving seed phrase backups in a secure location when traveling and use hardware wallets instead.
 
If you must travel with a seed phrase backup, take precautions to minimize exposure:
– Conceal the seed phrase during airport security checks
– Use a passphrase for singlesig wallets
– Utilize traveling companions for additional security 
4. Watch what you say and show
Practice operational security by avoiding talking about your bitcoin ownership with strangers, displaying bitcoin-related stickers or merchandise, or discussing your bitcoin holdings openly. These actions can attract unwanted attention and pose physical risks.
 
5. Create a decoy wallet
Set up a decoy wallet on your hardware or software wallet to mislead potential attackers. Consider different decoy wallet setups like using a passphrase, multisig, or duress PIN to protect your primary wallet.
 
6. Consider multisig to eliminate single points of failure
Implement bitcoin’s multisig feature to enhance security while traveling. Distribute keys, digitally store seed phrases, mail wallets or seed phrases, or involve a custody partner in your multisig setup to reduce risks.
 
7. Have an inheritance plan
Develop an inheritance plan for your bitcoin wealth, especially when traveling. Ensure that your bitcoin is appropriately handled in case of unforeseen events. Multisig setups with a collaborative custody partner can offer convenient access and peace of mind.
 
For more bitcoin security tips, explore our guides on seed phrase storage, paper vs. metal seed phrase backups, multisig wallet configuration, and safe deposit box storage.
Originally published on Unchained.com.

Unchained is the official US Collaborative Custody partner of Bitcoin Magazine and an integral sponsor of related content published through Bitcoin Magazine. For more information on services offered, custody products, and the relationship between Unchained and Bitcoin Magazine, please visit our website.

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