How to keep your home safe while you travelOne of the questions I always get is about how I arm/protect my house while I’m away from home. I don’t want to give away all of my secrets, but one way I do it is by using products from Nest and Google. Both companies sent me some of the products featured below, but it’s important to note that before that I’d been using many of them for years, including the Nest Security Camera ($169), Nest Learning Thermostat ($213) and Nest Protect ($119). With these and some of Nest’s new security products, it’s easier than ever for travelers to stay aware of what’s going on in and around their house from anywhere in the world.

1. Nest Indoor and Outdoor IQ Cameras
Nest’s new Indoor ($299) and Outdoor ($349) IQ Cameras offer 24/7 live video feeds to your phone as well as facial recognition, which means you won’t get false positive alarms (like when one of your family members is leaving). The indoor camera has HDR and invisible infrared LEDs that evenly illuminate the whole room so that whether it’s pitch black or low light, pixels stay bright and crisp. The outdoor IQ camera can detect a person up to 50 feet away and then alert you with a photo of who’s there. Both have powerful speakers that can scare off intruders from afar.

2. Nest Secure
Nest Secure ($399) will send a security alert to your phone the second a door or window has been opened, or if someone has entered the room. You can arm and disarm it with the Nest app from anywhere. Or tap Nest Tag on Nest Guard as you come and go. You can even just ask your Google Assistant to arm for you or enter a passcode.

3. Nest x Yale Lock
If you really want to stay in the know, use the Nest x Yale Lock ($279) to lock/unlock your door from anywhere or give the housesitter/dog walker a temporary passcode. You can be alerted each time the door opens so you always know who comes and goes. I love this one, because if we have packages left on our front door while away (we can see using Ring Doorbell) I can then contact a neighbor and ask him or her to pop the packages in our house either by giving them a code or opening and then locking the door remotely.

4. 828LM LiftMaster Internet Gateway
I do the same thing with our trash cans as well, using the 828LM LiftMaster Internet Gateway ($55) to remotely open and close our garage door. I also no longer need to bring a garage door opener when I go out for walks.

5. Google Home
Finally, if you want to really be connected, you should consider getting a Google Home ($129). It’s similar to Apple’s Homepod or Amazon’s Alexa but, if you ask me, a lot better looking and smarter in some ways. For starters, you can connect it to some of the devices above. But there’s a lot more that travelers especially will love, like:

  • It can provide real-time flight fares for selected dates of travel and even send email alerts when the price drops. For example, just say, “Hey Google, how much are flights to Hawaii in November?”
  • You can set day-of reminders, like to take your passport or phone charger. For example, just say, “Hey Google, set a reminder to take my passport on November 15th at 10am.”
  • You can get recommendations for hotels, restaurants, and things to do in a new place. For example, say, “Hey Google, what are the top restaurants in Honolulu?”
  • You can translate words into a different language. For example, say, “Hey Google, how do I say ‘thank you’ in Italian?”
  • You can get current currency exchange rates by saying, “Hey Google, how much is $100 in Canadian Dollars?”


Johnny Jet

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