When you go on vacation, you probably have a handful of things to do around your home to prepare it for an extended vacation. This list should include support for your smart devices.

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If you rely on smart home automation on a daily basis, it’s important to know how to put everything into “vacation mode” while you’re away. Otherwise, this automation becomes less useful until you’re around to take advantage of it. Here’s what you need to know.

Some devices have a dedicated “holiday mode”

Not all smart devices have a dedicated vacation mode feature, but some do, and you can use it to have that device automatically go into vacation mode at certain times.

For example, the Ecobee range of smart thermostats allow you to schedule a vacation mode, which is basically nothing more than simply setting the thermostat to a specific temperature from a certain time and day. You then set the end time and date, allowing the temperature settings to return to normal when you get home, or even make your home already comfortable for you when you return.

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Every smarthome device is a little different when it comes to vacation mode and how you set it up, but most often you can find it in the app settings for the device.

Randomize your smart lights

Perhaps one of the best features you can enjoy for a long period of time away from home is randomizing your smart lights to make them look like you’re at home. Most smart lights have a dedicated feature for this.

For Philips Hue lights, all you need to do is create a routine. When you select the times at which the lights should turn on and off, you can choose random times within a certain time window. So if you typically go to bed around 10 p.m., you can turn your Hue lights on and off at random times each day between 9:45 p.m. and 10:15 p.m., simulating someone’s presence.

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Other smart lighting brands may have this kind of functionality configured differently in the app, but it’s usually easily accessible in the settings.

Make a list of all your devices and set a reminder

For smarthome devices that don’t have a dedicated vacation mode, your best bet is to set yourself a reminder so you can manually adjust all your devices before you leave for the week, and another reminder to turn them back on when you return.

For example, if you have smart plugs that automatically turn on your coffee maker or heater every morning, you don’t want those things turning on automatically while you’re on vacation away from home. You will therefore have to enter and deactivate the automation manually.