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Going on a Trip? How to Stay Safe and Vigilant While Traveling Alone

Going on a Trip? How to Stay Safe and Vigilant While Traveling Alone

Travel Ready

Traveling alone, whether it be for business or pleasure, can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially when it comes to protecting the things that matter most: your belongings and your personal safety. Having your mind occupied with constant worry about your general well-being is no way to travel, so take some safety tips from your local friendly locksmiths.

planning

Research, Research, Research

Doing your research prior to taking a trip is always a smart move, but looking into where you’ll be staying and exploring the surrounding areas is that much more important if you’re planning on traveling by yourself.

This doesn’t just mean finding a good restaurant to grab dinner, or looking into museums and tourist spots. Find the nearest convenience store, subway station, bus stop, or gas station. To take it a step further, you can locate the nearest emergency departments to be even more prepared in case of an unexpected event or emergency.

Open Public Spaces

Do Your Best To Blend In

Common tourist destinations are like carnivals to pickpockets and other petty criminals. Looking out of place or lost in a big, crowded city can make you vulnerable to being approached or becoming a victim of one of these people.

There are several ways to avoid this problem, but they all boil down to the same concept: not drawing attention to yourself. Dressing as close to the local style as possible, or wearing inconspicuous clothing in general, is the easiest first step. There are also several clothing items and accessories you can invest in that will give you an added layer of protection, such as anti-theft wallets, jackets, and backpacks.

If you do get lost or need some help orienting yourself, it is vital to be discreet when looking at maps or asking for directions. Having confidence and an unassuming look will get you a long way when you’re alone in a foreign place.

Traveling Passport & Wallet

Keep Track of Money and Important Documents

Losing your wallet or a major document is the fastest way to ruin your trip, and can cause immense stress, especially if you are in a foreign country. Making copies of documents such as passports, boarding passes, and tickets to events or tourist attractions can ease your mind and give you some time to truly unwind and enjoy your vacation. You could also consider taking advantage of the power of the Internet by storing all of your documents on the cloud.

In terms of money, there are several ways to ensure that you’ll be good to go when purchasing local food or some silly souvenirs for your friends and family back home. Aside from investing in an aforementioned anti-theft wallet, you can also take precautionary measures upon your arrival at your destination by utilizing the currency exchange at the airport. This means less conversion math and more fun for you!

Travel Responsibly

Your safety is of utmost importance to us, so giving you tips and tricks on how to be wise and confident while traveling is too! Keeping your home and family safe while you’re away, well, that’s our job.

Finding yourself in need of locksmithing services? No matter where you are, Pop-A-Lock is glad to help. Give us a call today!

The Secrets You Need to Know About Hiding Spare Keys

The Secrets You Need to Know About Hiding Spare Keys

spare key outside home

While no one plans on getting locked out of their homes, this unfortunate situation is always a possibility. As such, having a spare key can come in handy, allowing you to skip the panic and hassle of calling a locksmith. But with this added security comes added risk, especially if you plan on hiding  your spare outside your residence. With some careful planning, however, you can rest assured that your spare key is kept secret, and you’ll always have a fail-safe way to enter your home. 

Why Spare Keys Help

You never know what could happen in the course of a day. Like any other object, your keys can break, get lost, or — in the worst case — stolen. Whatever the reason, should your keys go missing, it’s great to have a spare set you can easily access to let yourself in. Unfortunately, if you plan on stashing your key somewhere on your property,  burglars and other ne’er do wells now have a way to enter your home too. This raises an important question: where should you hide your spare so only you can find it?

spare key

Don't Be Dumb

If you’ve seen that old key-in-a-plastic-rock routine, so have burglars. Yes, they also know about other spare key hotspots like door-ledges, mailboxes, and  porch lights. Leaving your spare keys in obvious spaces leaves you vulnerable to robbery, so if you’re going to outsmart a crook, you’ll need to look beyond doormats and flowerpots, and on to less-likely stash spots.

Clever Places to Hide Your Spare

  1. Disguise it: While fake rocks are cliche and obvious, fear not: you can still hide your key on your property through an assortment of discreet and innovative key-holders disguised as common lawn equipment. Typically found online, these containers include fake drain caps, lawn sprinklers, and even mock electrical outlets. They’re easy to overlook, and would draw quite a lot of suspicion to anyone trying to snoop them out.  
  2. Get experimental: You don’t need to drop money on fake-out key holders to find ingenious hiding spots on your property. This can include any number of places. If you’re confident in your memory, you can stash your key in an empty bottle, bury it in your lawn, and mark the location using a rock that’s unlikely to move. Your door knocker can work too if you glue a magnet to the back and leave enough space to slip your key under. You can even tuck it away in the doghouse. Anything goes, really, as long as you’re thinking of places you’d never look, and then finding ways to store your key there. 
  3. Lockboxes: This may be an obvious method, but it’s perhaps the most secure. Lockboxes are small containers that can only be opened through punching in a code. Real estate agents often attach lockboxes to doorknobs, but you’re better than that. Rather than hanging your container out in the open for all to see, consider stashing it away under a bush, or burying it in a marked spot in your garden.  
  4. Go high: Often, it’s best to keep your spare key someplace out of reach, whether tucked away in a birdhouse, nailed to an inconspicuous part of a tree, or in a noisy bunch of windchimes. It will take a greater deal of effort to retrieve your key from these perches, but it’ll be even more difficult for a thief who doesn’t want to draw attention to themselves. 
  5. Phone a friend: The above methods might be clever, but nothing beats the security of knowing that a close pal has your back. If you have a trusted neighbor or a friend who lives nearby, you can ask them to hold on to your spare, and drop it off to you in case you get locked out. Additionally, if an emergency happens while you’re away, your neighbors would now have a way to enter your home to help mitigate the problem. 
House keys

Your Safety is Our Priority

Everyone deserves to feel secure in their homes, and Pop-A-Lock believes in informing homeowners of any and all measures they can take to ensure their safety. Hiding a spare key is a good first-step, but if you’re in need of a little extra reassurance, call to speak with one of our expert locksmiths, or check out our website to learn more about our rekeying, lock repair, and installation services.

Why You Need to Rekey Your New Home

Why You Need to Rekey Your New Home

painting

Whether you’re a seasoned homeowner, or you just moved into your first house (congratulations!), there are always concerns about the security of your family, possessions, and property.  What can you do to help ease this stress? To avoid any issues or complications with latent keys that may be floating around without your knowledge, consider rekeying your home.

old locks

Reasons to Rekey Your New Home

  1. Master keys: In many communities, there are master keys which open every lock in the building or neighborhood, and often belong to construction crews or landlords. This means every lock in that community more than likely has master pins left inside the mechanism, so rekeying in that situation can be a useful solution.
  2. Duplicate keys you may not be aware of: Whether your home is previously owned or newly constructed, there is no way to be sure of just how many people have duplicate keys, giving them access to your home. In the case of previously owned homes, there is a chance that previous owners (even their family and friends) still possess duplicate keys. If your home is newly built, contractors and realtors might have duplicate keys.
  3. Construction mishaps: No new home build is perfect. There are bound to be small mistakes or issues that need to be sorted out. When these issues are with your locks, however, there is a concern of safety and security that arises. The best thing to do is call a locksmith and have your locks checked. From there, you can either rekey or replace the lock.
  4. Lock deterioration: For previously owned houses, rekeying the locks is as much an issue of safety as it is restoration. Locks that have been used for significant amounts of time are bound to be worn down, making them function worse than when they were new.
vintage keys

Rekeying vs. Replacing Locks

When a lock is rekeyed, the locksmith will first examine the lock in order to assess any damage and determine if you are better off with a complete replacement. If rekeying is the best solution for you, the locksmith will remove the existing pins and springs (the components that make your locks fit your keys), and replace them with new ones. This means your lock can now fit a new, different key.

That being said, over time, locks can wear and degrade past the point where a rekey is the correct solution. In this situation, your locksmith will advise you that you will require a complete lock replacement. 

Replacing versus rekeying locks depends on your needs. If the locks in your new home are clearly degraded and worn, consider a lock replacement rather than a rekey. If you are happy with the function of the locks themselves, and are more concerned about duplicate keys, rekeying is the solution for you!

indoor comfort

How Pop-A-Lock Can Help

Pop-A-Lock understands that feeling safe and secure in your new home is a top priority for any homeowner. Whether you are in need of an inspection, replacement, or rekeying, we are happy to help. To schedule an appointment with one of our expert locksmiths, call today!