Keep Your Home Safe From Burglary This Holiday Season By Taking These Precautionary Steps

As the holidays approach, you may be starting to plan not just your holiday shopping, but also your holiday travel plans. Whether you’re heading out of town for a week to visit family, or for a quick romantic getaway before the holiday craziness sets in, November and December can be very popular travel times. With so many people out of their homes, this also makes November and December popular home burglary times.

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As you head out this holiday season to travel, don’t leave one of your kids at home to protect the house, but instead be wise about when you leave. Burglars who are looking for easy houses to break into look for specific red flags that show a house’s tenants are away. Apart from installing a home security system and paying subscription fees, it can be hard to ever prevent someone who really wants to break into your home, but by making sure to do a couple easy things, you can certainly help deter the opportunistic burglar.

Don’t Leave Valuables Near Windows

First, make sure that if you leave, you don’t leave any valuables in sight of windows. Don’t leave your blinds way open so that passersby can see your brand new TV or gaming system. Catching an easy glimpse of something valuable may be the first thing that a potential thief may notice.

Avoid Letting Mail Pile Up

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Try to prevent mail or flyers from piling up outside your house, as this makes it very apparent that no one has been there for days to pick things up. If you have a friend or neighbor who can pick up mail or remove flyers, ask for their help, or arrange a hold on your mail with the Post Office. Make it look like you’re home, even if you’re not by making sure mail isn’t piling up.

Leave A Light Or Two On 

Additionally, consider leaving lights on or buying timers for lights in your home, to make it seem as if someone is turning lights on or off throughout the day or night. Even better, if you have remote home automation, just turn lights or TVs on or off randomly throughout the day with your smartphone!

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Consider Buying A Home Surveillance Camera

There are many low cost wifi security cameras on the market today that can be as cheap as $99. You can even check the live stream on your smartphone!

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Don’t Leave Your Spare Key In An Obvious Spot

Don’t leave your spare key hidden outside, either in an obvious place or not. Instead, give a spare key to a friend or neighbor that you can go pick it up from after you return.

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Avoid Sharing Your Whereabouts On Social Media

Finally, be smart about your travel plans. Try not to broadcast over social media when you will not be home for extended periods of time. Many times, people are burgled by people they know, so play it safe and only use your actual voice, and not your social media voice, to let people close to you that you won’t be home. If you must post to Facebook a picture while you’re out of town, thank your “house sitter,” real or not, for keeping things on lock while you’re away!

Here’s How To Score Free Uber Rides This Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us! For anyone who doesn’t live at home, the holidays mean one thing: TRAVEL. The holidays are stressful and expensive enough, through in airfare, taxis and rental cars and things get even crazier, not to mention, basically every form of transport is in some way delayed or packed full of strangers on a mission to drive you crazy. Oh, the lengths we go through to see family.

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Luckily, Uber understands the holiday headache and finance crunch.

Uber has paired with American express to offer travelers 2 free trips up to $65 each! That’s like getting paid $130 just to go visit your loved one!

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In order to take advantage of the offer you do need to have an American Express card. If you already have one, all you have to do is link it to your Uber account and enter the promo code AMEXAIRPORT. If you aren’t traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas, don’t worry, the code is good until New Year’s Eve.

Unfortunately, not all airports are including on the sweet savings. The eleven airports Uber is honoring the code at are: LaGuardia Airport (LGA), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW), Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), McCarran International Airport (LAS), George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

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The Uber deal might not make all that time spent with your family less stressful (the app isn’t trained in conflict resolution), but it will save you time and some money to buy yourself something extra special for the holidays. Safe travels!

Skip Inconvenient Lines At The Post Office This Holiday Season

There are a lot of moving pieces during the holiday season. There are a lot of people who you want to let know that you love them and are thinking about them, especially those who you don’t live close to.

Once you’ve figured out what you want to get everyone, and once you’ve purchased all your gifts, then it’s time to get tricky with shipping and not waste time at the post office this year. First of all, if you are someone who loves to online shop, utilizing many company’s free gift-wrapping and shipping deals is a serious lifesaver. If you prefer to ship things a little more personally, then the U.S. Postal Service has some tips to help you out.

To help alleviate postal stress and delay, you can even get most of these things done all online without stepping foot into a post office. USPS is reminding people that you can request free shipment of flat-rate priority mail boxes on the USPS website. They’ll mail you the size of boxes you need, and all you have to do is shove your carefully wrapped gift in there and pay for the flat-rate shipping cost.

When you’re ready to ship, you can make an online account for the USPS website, and then you’re able to both purchase and print postage for your packages from home. You’ll have to weigh any non-flat-rate boxes yourself. Don’t forget to buy some stamps for your holiday cards, too!

When all your postage is paid, printed, and affixed, you can request a USPS package pickup from essentially any address that is convenient for you with no extra charge! The United States Postal Service has totally got your back this year!

Family Celebrates Every Holiday For Dad Before His Deployment To Afghanistan

As soon as summer wraps up, fall rolls in, which is truly the season of holidays! The months of October to January are jam-packed with holidays, which makes fall both busy and fun, but also an important time of the year to spend with your family.

A family in Florida recently learned that their beloved father and husband is going to be deployed for about 100 days overseas in Afghanistan, meaning he’d miss out on celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving, his birthday, and Christmas with his family. Kathy Clenndennin had the brilliant idea of helping her husband, Al, celebrate all the holidays he was missing in a whirlwind of time before his deployment. Their 15-year-old daughter, Olivia, shared photos of the quartet of celebrations on across the internet, touching the hearts of families across the country.

Source: Twitter @OliviaNoraC

The Clenndennins started out by celebrating Halloween. Kathy took Al out for a massage while the rest of the family decorated and hurriedly gathered costumes, and then partaking in their annual tradition of watching a scary movie together.

Next, they jumped ahead to Al’s birthday, which is in December, gifting him with a new laptop so he can stay in touch while overseas.

Source: Twitter @OliviaNoraC

Christmas was up next, with the family using a mini-Christmas tree decorated with lights from Olivia’s bedroom, complete with a video of a burning fireplace on their TV.

Source: Twitter @OliviaNoraC

The family whipped up their traditional Christmas morning breakfast of waffles, bacon, and French toast before they “traveled back in time” for Thanksgiving, when they celebrated with their favorite Thanksgiving foods.

Source: Twitter @OliviaNoraC

Olivia and the rest of her family hope that their whirlwind weekend of holiday celebrations will help their father get through his deployment quickly, happily, and safely. Wrapping up the photo series Olivia shared across Twitter, she added, “I love you and I miss you – I have a big surprise for you when you get home.”