The Check-In: New rules for visiting the UK, securing your house while on vacation, and more

A front door.
A front door. David Papazian/Getty Images

Welcome to The Check-In, our weekend feature focusing on all things travel.

Most travelers will soon have to fill out an online application to visit the UK

As part of efforts to fully digitize its borders by 2025, the United Kingdom is launching the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system, which is expected to be up and running by the end of 2023.

All foreign nationals will have to apply online for an ETA before arriving in the UK, providing "basic personal details, passport data, and some security information," the ETA UK website says. People can apply from their own homes — there's no need to go to an embassy — and most will be approved quickly, "with only complex decisions made by ETA officials." There will be a fee, which has yet to be announced.

This isn't a visa, and the website stresses that "Europeans and travelers from countries including the US and Canada will maintain their visa-free status but will need an ETA to cross the UK border." The details are still being worked out, but it's likely the ETA will be valid for at least two years, meaning regular visitors will not have to keep reapplying.


Manuel Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Frontier introduces new all-you-can-fly pass for the summer

For the budget adventurer, this may be too good of a deal to pass up. Frontier Airlines has launched its GoWild! Summer Pass, with a limited number available for $399. With this pass, travelers can take an unlimited number of flights between May 2 and Sept. 30 (note: there are some blackout periods), booking one day in advance for domestic destinations and up to 10 days ahead for international. Each segment will cost one cent to book, plus any taxes, fees, and additional charges like choosing a seat or checking in a bag.

Daniel Shurz, Frontier's senior vice president of commercial, said in a statement the pass is "a terrific opportunity" for people with flexible schedules to "have a truly epic summer and then some, soaking up the rays on the beach, exploring national parks, and visiting new cities." This also coincides with Frontier starting a new nonstop service between San Juan Airport in Puerto Rico and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Chicago Midway International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

A Frontier plane.
A Frontier plane.

Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Advice on protecting your home while on vacation, from Lockly's Katie Crockett

Whether it's a weekend getaway out of town or a month-long romp through the Mediterranean, when you're away, the last thing you want to worry about is the security of your home. Katie Crockett, director of retail sales for the smart lock company Lockly, shared with The Week some tips on how to best protect your property while you're traveling.

Before hitting the road, "remove your spare key, which all too often may be hidden in common places such as under a doormat or flower pot," Crockett said. "Seasoned burglars know this trick very well and will search every nook and cranny to find your key, however well you think you've hidden it." It's also a good idea to put up "visible deterrents around the outside of the house," like "Beware of Dog" warnings, CCTV, and security system placards. "These signs indicate loud and clear that your house is under surveillance, making potential intruders think twice," Crockett said.

When it comes to securing your doors, think about the differences between a smart lock and a traditional lock. A smart lock "is a door access control device that locks or unlocks the door when it receives a prompt via an electronic keypad, biometric sensor, access card, or over Bluetooth or WiFi from a registered mobile device," Crockett said. "Most smart locks have numerous ways to access them (some even include a traditional key as well), such as smartphone apps, by entering a PIN on a keypad, using a fingerprint reader/sensor, or swiping a key fob. This provides both improved security and a frictionless user experience."

The exterior of a house.
The exterior of a house.

Ed Freeman/Getty Images

When thinking about installing smart locks, "consider biometric options that allow people to use their fingerprints to access your door," Crockett said. Video smart locks are "becoming increasingly popular and come equipped with an HD camera built-in, which allows homeowners to monitor the area outside their front door via a smartphone, even while on vacation anywhere in the world."

Don't forget to protect more than just the main door. "There are other vulnerable entry points to consider, including the back door, patio doors, or garage doors," Crockett said. "Remember to secure these entry points with the same quality of lock as you use on the front door — otherwise, you create a weak point for burglars to exploit. Using smart locks which feature motion sensors can come in handy here, as they can quickly detect anyone loitering at the rear or sides of your property and trigger an alert on your smartphone while you are away."

If possible, set timers on lights so they can turn on throughout the day, and "it's always smart to inform a trusted neighbor that you will be gone as well and to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity," Crockett said.

Plan accordingly: Upcoming events to add to your calendar

Canberra will come alive during the Enlighten Festival March 3-19. Now in its 13th year, the festival is all about celebrating culture and creativity, and has seven signature events, including the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, Symphony in the Park, and Lights! Canberra! Action!, a short film festival. During Illuminations, the spotlight is truly on Canberra, as projections are placed on some of the city's most well-known buildings, like the Australian Parliament House, National Portrait Gallery, National Library of Australia, and National Gallery of Australia.

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