Let’s hope you don’t. But if you do, here are some tips that might make the experience a bit less traumatic.
Consciously look for locksmith shops when walking around your neighborhood. Memorise those within walking distance, save the number in your phone, or even pin the location on your phone if you know how (I don’t) – whatever works. Shops that have the encouraging “24 hours” sign in their windows are a particularly good idea. Yes, paying for what might turn out to be a few seconds of opening your door will hurt, but sometimes it’s your only option.
Even if you are stepping out “just for a second” to set out the trash and there’s someone else home, ALWAYS take your key with you. A friend of a friend told me she developed a reflex of patting her pocket to feel for her keys before leaving her apartment to go to her building’s laundry room.
Ditto on the key if you have a door that swings shut easily.
Triple ditto if you’re wearing something “just to nip out for a sec” that you’re positive no one else will ever see you in (except Sheldon).
We don’t always see or really know our neighbors, but do say hello if you cross paths and have an idea who’s bell it’s OK to ring. Maybe the nice couple who’ve signed for your packages or the grandmother and granddaughter duo you run in to most Sunday mornings. A bit of advance choosing will make the tremulous statement “I’m afraid I’ve locked myself out” easier. Especially if you’re already feeling vulnerable due to having extra fluffy bunny-shaped slippers on (see above).
Try to keep your phone on you when you go out, though obviously sometimes we all forget or it doesn’t make sense to take it with you if you’re only popping out to the bakery around the corner. In which case you will have to ask your neighbors to please use their phone or help you look up a locksmith if you don’t remember the number or location.
Pick a trusted friend or relative in the vicinity to keep your spare key. If you’ll have your phone on you in the event you do get locked out, you can call them. Hopefully they won’t be out of town. If you don’t have your phone on you or the number of the key keeper memorized, the knowledge that somewhere out there your spare key is safe might still be comforting.
If you do get locked out, try to do so at an hour when it’s still OK to knock on people’s doors or call them. If the hour is not of such a nature, breathe through your nose and get creative.
Know which of your family members and friends has mechanical skills, especially if they are within reach.
Basically, try not to get locked out. Good luck!