• Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert

What Tech Gadgets Can I Get To Protect My Home When I'm on Vacation?


Computer and Tech Tips Blog

I love vacations, but one of the things that makes me nervous is our home is unoccupied. I do all of the usual things you're supposed to do to make your home look occupied such as making sure mail and packages are collected, keep the lawn trimmed, and making sure lights are on timers. Anything could happen while you’re away. Thanks to our digital world, there are now a plethora of devices and gadgets available to help protect your home from burglars while you're enjoying a much-needed break. We have a smart home and we love it. The right collection of devices can lower your anxiety levels and allowing you to relax and enjoy your vacations without a care in the world. Here are some gadgets you should consider using to protect your home while you're away.


1. Video Doorbells. If you're not familiar with this great piece of tech, video doorbells use your home (or office) wifi to stream video to your smartphone to see who is at your front door. Video doorbells mostly use Wi-Fi to stream video to your phone and allow you to respond with voice and/or video. Some have motion detection zones that you can alter. They can also be connected to smart door locks and other devices. So if you’re alerted that someone is on your doorstep you can switch on the lights, or choose to download the footage of the person in question. Hopefully, this gadget will deter any uninvited guests!

Recommended Doorbell: I would have to go with the Ring Doorbell (www.ring.com). This versatile doorbell is easy to install and integrates seamlessly into Amazon Smart devices.


2. Smart Door Locks. There are several models of door locks available on the market. All of them connect to popular brands of smart home hubs, allowing you to have keyless entry to your home as well as allowing you to remotely lock and unlock your doors from anywhere in the world. You can lock your doors if you forgot to lock them. You can always allow guests into your home without them having access to your keys or door code.

Recommended Smart Door Locks: The best all-around Smart Locks is the Yale Smart lock system (www.yalesmarthome.com) which works with all smart home hubs and is among the easiest to set up.


3. Smart Pet Monitors. Don't worry about your pets anymore when you're away. The latest tech can help you keep an eye on your pets when you're on vacation. You can get automated pet feeders with timers that you can set up for your fur buddies. You can also get cameras that will let you spy on your pets while you're traveling, as well as pet doors that will allow them to let themselves outside. With any pet, it's always a good idea to have someone check in on them from time to time, but these smart pet monitors will help put your mind at ease when you're away.

Recommended Pet Monitors: Petcube Bites Pet Camera (www.petcube.com) the top of the line model will allow you to feed your dog treats when you're away. The MyQ Pet Portal (www.myq.com) allows you to fit a collar on your pet that will allow them to exit and enter your house. The door automatically closes reducing the chance for other creatures to enter your house. The WOPet Smart feeder (www.wopet.com) lets you set a timer to automatically feed your pets


4. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector. You rely on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you're at home, so why wouldn't you rely on them when you're away? The last thing you want to return to a destroyed house and smart detectors can alert you if smoke or carbon monoxide is detected in your home.

Recommended Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Nest Protect (www.store.google.com) is the best all-around smoke and carbon monoxide detector on the market because it sends push notifications to your smartphone when it senses smoke or carbon monoxide, which is helpful when you’re not there. If you always have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, your Amazon Echo (www.amazon.com) is designed to listen for sounds like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and will send you alerts if your alarm goes off when you're away.


5. Smart Plugs/Smart Lights. Using smart lights and plugs is a great way to make your home look occupied when you're away. You can control these items with an app or connect them to your smart home hub to switch on and off lights or whatever is connected to the plug. Smart lights and plugs work much better than old-fashioned timers which are predictable to seasoned criminals.

Recommended Smart Plugs/Lights: Belkin Wemo Insight Smart Plug (Belkin.com) – Works with Google Assistant and Alexa. Philips Hue Smart Bulbs (www.philips-hue.com)

6. Water leak detector. A water leak is the last thing you want to experience on vacation. Protect your home investment while you're away and get a water leak detector. Installing one of these devices will let you know if you have a burst pipe or water heater.

Recommended Smart Water Leak Detector: Honeywell Home Water Leak Detector (www.honeywellstore.com)


7. Wifi Video Cameras. If you want to keep an eye on what's happening in your home when you're on vacation, but you don't want to spend an arm and a leg on a home security system, Wi-Fi-connected cameras are a great option. These devices can be installed by just about anyone and can monitor what's going inside and outside of your home. All brands come with a smartphone app that allows you to instantly see who's snooping around your house. You can also connect them to your smart hub to get instant alerts.

Recommended WiFi Video Camera: Blink Camera from Amazon (www.amazon.com).


7. Smart Garage Door. I know you're already familiar with smart locks, smart doorbells, and smart cameras, it shouldn't surprise you that there are great options for transforming your existing garage door opener into a smart garage door opener. With a smart opener, you don't about to worry if you left home with the garage door open again. You can use your smartphone to close your door for you.

Recommended Smart Garage Door: Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Hub (www.myq.com)


I hope I have given you some ideas of what tech devices you can use to protect your home while you’re on vacation. I’m not saying you need ALL of these things, but we do and they will give you peace of mind when you take off to your favorite destination. Which of these devices would you own? Drop me a line and let me know.


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Want to ask me a tech question? Send it to burton@callintegralnow.com. I love technology. I've read all of the manuals and I'm serious about making technology fun and easy to use for everyone. 


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