home safety With a smart home security system, your home can watch over itself while you travel. These five smart home products will help you to keep your home safe while you’re away, and they all connect easily to your smartphone via an app.

1. Set your smart lights on a schedule

The easiest way to keep your home safe while you’re away or travelling 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. Instead, app-controlled smart lights on timers can create different scenes for you home at different times of day so that it looks lively and occupied to deter prying eyes.

phillips hue lightsI grew up with wall timers and table lamps that would be scheduled to turn on and off throughout the day, but today’s smart home takes that one step further. The Philips Hue system has everything you’ll need to set up smart lights, and it’s all controllable from your smartphone via the Philips Hue Bridge. Just make sure to schedule your lights before you leave, as the bridge requires you to be using the same Wi-Fi network to connect. My partner and I use these lights on a daily wake-up timer, which is perfect for travelling because it’s already set and ready to go. All we have to do before we take off on any flights or train rides is make sure our lamps are plugged in and turned on, and Phillips does the rest for us.

Plus, when paired with the a motion sensor or motion sensor lights, you can ward off sketchy behaviour even at night. To make things even easier, you can use your Google Assistant to set up your smart lights for you.

2. 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 secure 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 to check up on things while travelling, especially if you’re taking off in the winter. 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 can help put your mind at ease while you’re on vacation.august smart lock home safety

Some neighbours can get a little too Wisteria Lane (that is, a little too ready to copy their guest key while you’re away), though, so key-free entry is a great option to have. Smart locks are a great option for key-free entry that syncs to your smartphone and helps you moderate controlled entry for people like guests and house sitters.

Wi-Fi-enabled locks with controlled entry let you add and remove users when needed, and can even provide entry for specific amounts of time (an excellent option if you’ll have house sitters or guests at your home while you travel). Smart locks typically sync with an app or Apple HomeKit for full integration, and can track comings and goings while you’re away to ensure that you aren’t missing any wild parties at your own home while you’re gone.

3. Get the elements on your side

As a general rule of travel, I like to play it safe and assume that the worst will happen when I’m away. That means going the whole nine yards: assuming that my luggage will be tossed around, my flights will be overbooked and cancelled, and that floods, drought, and extreme cold snaps will happen in my home city while I’m away.

If I could plan for the collapse of an infinite number of multiverses at my home while I was away, trust me: I would!

nest smoke alarmGrowing up, my mom would very rarely travel without the family. When she did, however, something disastrous would always strike. Once, it was a small kitchen fire; another time, the dishwasher sprang a leak and flooded the main floor. Now, I know better than to assume that everything’s going to be just fine during travel.

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 and you don’t have a live-in house sitter!) A smart smoke alarm system can 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 Safety Checkup features from companies like Nest allow you to test all of your devices before you leave, and Google or Apple Home compatibility makes for an altogether safer experience.

4. Monitor your home from the road

nest motion sensor home safetyIf you’re still worried about what’s happening at home, brands like Google Nest offer other helpful tools as well. High-resolution cameras and video doorbells can track exactly what’s going on at home when your fire alarm goes off, you get a motion alert, or anything else.

Products like the Nest Cam are often fully weatherproof, and with features to look for including motion detection, night vision, wireless operation via battery, and cloud video storage.

Having a visible security camera on your property works as a constant deterrent for burglars. Should someone look suspicious, you’ll have the recording to either send to the police or text to your neighbour for a drop-in when things look safe.

5. Do even more with a smart doorbell 

Expecting a package while you’re away? Worry not—a smart video doorbell will let you chat with the delivery person when they drop by. With two-way communication, a great smart doorbell lets you connect to your door (even when you’re not on the same Wi-Fi system).

A smart video doorbell lets you chat with private and public postal workers when they come, so they can drop off packages in your backyard or another secure location to stay out of sight from the street until you return home. With motion sensor-triggered two-way audio, you can even deny packages and just ask postal workers to take them back to the post office if you’re worried about porch pirates or weather damage.

When you’re travelling, the last thing on your mind should be what you’re missing at home. Take advantage of smart home systems at Best Buy today to make the most of being away. 

Rae Chen
Rae Chen covers everything from handbags to speakers here on the Best Buy Plug-in Blog. They can also be found at thenotice.net, where they've been writing about beauty & wellness since 2007.