The last thing you should have to worry about while travelling is whether or not things are a-okay at home. Luckily, you can depend on more than just your nosy neighbour in this day and age! These five smart home products will help you keep your home safe while travelling, and they all connect easily to your smartphone via an app.
5. Set your smart lights on a schedule
The easiest way to keep your home safe while you’re away is to make it look like you’re not away at all. Ideally, it would be awesome if a hologram of yourself could come and go throughout the day and drive your car to work for you, but technology isn’t quite that far advanced yet.
(Question: if a hologram of you goes to work and gets just as much work done as you would have, should your employer be paying your holo-self for showing up?)
I grew up with wall timers and table lamps that would be scheduled to turn on and off, but today’s smart home takes that one step further. The Philips Hue A19 Smart Personal Wireless Light Bulb Starter Kit has everything that you’ll need to set up a smart lighting system, and it’s all controllable from your smartphone (via the Philips bridge).
Plus, when paired with the Philips Hue Wi-Fi Motion Sensor, these lights will flick on like a Timid Neighbourhood Watch Mom™, should someone creep up to the back door at night.
4. Switch to a smart lock to let the house sitter in
I love the feeling of a key sliding into a super-smooth lock, but there’s nothing better than no key at all. A great smart lock will give you key-free entry into your home all the time, as well as setting you up to keep your home safe during your travels.
I always recommend getting a house sitter (or a non-snoopy neighbour) to check up on things while travelling. They don’t need to come by every day, but if they can stop by a few times a week and make sure that your mail isn’t piling up and your water pipes haven’t burst, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Some neighbours can get a little too Wisteria Lane with your keys, though, so key-free entry is a great option to have. (“Oh, I’m sorry. I made an extra set for myself just in case! You never know when you’ll need a helping hand!”) The August Smart Lock has you covered on both fronts, with key-free entry synced to your smartphone and controlled entry for guests.
Controlled entry lets you add and remove users when needed, and can even provide entry for specific amounts of time. (An excellent option if you’ll be Airbnb’ing your home while you travel). The lock itself syncs with Apple HomeKit for the ultimate smart home experience, and it’ll track your guests’ or house sitter’s comings and goings while you’re away.
3. Get the elements on your side
As a general rule of travel, I like to play it on the safe side and assume that the worst WILL happen. That means the whole nine yards: luggage getting tossed around, flights being overbooked and cancelled, and, of course, every possible elemental disaster at home taking place.
Growing up, my mom would very rarely travel without the family–but whenever she did, something disastrous would always strike. Once, it was a small kitchen fire; another time, the dishwasher sprang a leak and flooded the kitchen. Now, I know better than to assume that everything’s going to be just fine.
Nothing replaces an actual, live house sitter to keep your home safe, so it’s still a good idea to have someone checking on your pipes and houseplants. (Make sure you turn off your water before you leave, if that’s an option). A smart alarm system like the Nest Protect Wi-Fi Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm will keep an eye on things while you’re away, and in the event of an emergency, it can alert you or your house sitter so you can make sure someone goes to check on things.
The Nest Safety Checkup feature lets you test all of your devices before you leave, and the classic Nest compatibility makes for an altogether safer experience. Should something happen while you’re away, the Nest Protect will link up to your Nest Thermostat to turn off the furnace for an extra layer of protection.
2. Monitor your home from the road
If you’re still worried about what’s happening at home, though, Nest offers one more helpful tool: the Nest Cam. With a 1080p camera, it can record exactly what’s going on at home when that fire alarm goes off (or at any other time).
The Nest Cam is fully weatherproof, and it comes with an optional motion detector. Push notifications of movement go straight to your phone, and night vision LED sensors keep an eye on things even after dark.
With a Nest Aware subscription, your video footage is saved to the cloud for future viewing, and you’ll get an alert whenever Nest sees a person. Sightline will let you speed through an entire day of footage in seconds, and Spaces groups your various Nest products room by room so you can view all of your footage at once.
1. Trust Skynet to keep your home safe while you travel … Because that sounds safe
(SkylinkNet? Was that really the best you could do, you guys?)
Intimidating name aside, the SkylinkNet home alarm system will set your home up with window and door sensors so you always know what’s going on at home. And, as an added bonus, it probably won’t try to destroy all of humanity.
It’s a smartphone-controlled system that’ll keep your home safe with no monthly fees, and it comes with a physical 110dB siren to help scare off any home invaders. You’ll get push notifications on your smartphone for all entries to the home, whether that’s someone entering while you’re travelling or your kids sneaking in past curfew.
Backup batteries keep the system running in the event of a power outage–which is awesome, because you can’t always plan for those.
Build your ideal smart home system at Best Buy today.