More than 70 percent of Americans plan to travel this holiday season. If you’re one of the many visiting family and friends, it’s important to keep an eye on your home while you are away.

Things can get hectic between shopping, packing, and planning. Here are a few simple reminders to make your home more secure and efficient using home automation services this holiday season.

Turn lights on and off remotely, or set a schedule.

Whether lights are in the living room, at the front door, or on the roof, it’s easy to create a schedule with smart home devices, so they turn on and off automatically. With a product like Lutron, you can also manage window shades and dim lights, and with many devices, you can use apps to adjust lighting from work, the airport, or grandma’s house. This way, the house looks occupied when you’re away, and you don’t have to worry about remembering to switch off the holiday lights, which can save money on electricity bills.


Monitor the house with live video.

Use surveillance cameras to watch live video of your house (inside and out) on your phone, tablet, or laptop from wherever you are travelling for peace of mind. In addition to security, cameras are great for checking to see if a package arrived, a new puppy is drinking tree water, or the kids are poking around the presents.


Stay secure.

Make sure you have a security system that provides 24/7 professional monitoring on a secure network with cellular and battery backup, so you can sit back and enjoy the holidays. Not only will you probably be traveling, but you’ll have presents to safe guard. Many systems also allow you to arm and disarm the system remotely, if needed.


Lock and unlock the front door, or garage door, from anywhere.

When you’re away this holiday, there’s no need to give the house or pet sitter a key, as you can let them in with a remote lock, like August and Kwikset. You can also relock the door when they leave. An automated door lock is also a life saver when your kids forget their keys. Also, automatic garage door controllers like Chamberlain MyQ allow you monitor, open, and close the garage door from your smartphone.


Control the temperature.

Save money on your energy bills by running your heating system more efficiently with home automation products like EcoSaver. They have different features, but for instance, some will learn your preferences and then make small adjustments. Also, you can often either set a schedule or adjust it manually from an app, like if you’re coming home earlier than expected from your holiday trip.


Set rules.

Lastly, you can set rules with home automation services, or customizable "if this, than that" actions so your appliances, electronics, and other devices work together on their own. For instance, with Xfinity Home, you can get a text when your mail is delivered so you can ask your neighbor to pick it up, or set it to send you an email if the front door does not open between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. (when the dog walker is supposed to visit.)

Whether you’re driving down the road or flying cross country, a home automation or security system can be a real asset for managing your house, especially during the holiday season.