How to Take Your Smarthome Traveling

Smart phone controls of a hotel room.
zhu difeng / Shutterstock

It's not because you leave home that you can not take smart home technology. Whether camping, leaving on a caravan or staying in a hotel, you can take some of your technology with you.

Put Google or Alexa in your vehicle

Roav volt with google assistant in a car

The fact that you are not at home does not mean that you can not have your favorite voice assistant. Some automakers incorporate Google Assistant and Alexa into the infotainment system, but even if you're in an older car, you still have options.

Anker does both a Alexa and Google version of his product Roav. The Roav looks like a standard car charger, but it syncs with your phone and the speakers of your vehicle to offer you a voice assistant on the go. You will need a data signal from your phone for the devices to work of course.

Amazon announced the Auto Echobut it's only an invitation at the moment, third party options are therefore the only viable choice at the moment.

Or if you use an access point, you can take your Echo point or Google Home mini with you. Some hotels are also starting to include Echo devices in their rooms.

Determine your Internet options

Verizon Jetpack access point seen from the front and from the back.

Many SMarthome gadgets require the Internet to work. Your video doorbell, your cameras, your Wi-Fi devices all need network access to enable all the features they offer.

So, at first, determine what will be your Internet access. If you are camping in your tent, you may not have convenient access to the Internet; or if you do it can be slow. But if you are staying in a hotel or if you have a mobile access point with a good reception, you will have more options to consider.

Do not forget that most hotels have a login page as a guest, which can prevent Google Home and other smart devices from accessing the Internet. If you have an Amazon Echo, there is a process of work with the web browser login pages. But for everything else, you can consider a travel router.

Travel routers You can connect to a hotel network and then create a personalized Wi-Fi network that you can use. This process bypasses the login page of all your smart devices and bypasses the "one-device" rules imposed by some hotels.

The easiest thing to do is to prepare a plan for not having Internet.

Consider a Smarthome hub with local control

Hubitat hub with box on a quilt.

Since you can not guarantee Internet access wherever you are and mobile access points often have data limitations, controlling your devices without the Internet is the answer. The easiest way to manage this is to use a locally-functioning hub.

SmartThings and Wink Hubs both have low local control capacity, but they still rely mostly on the cloud, so you should ignore them for travel. Instead, you may want to consider Hubitat, AccueilSeer, or OpenHab.

Local hubs are more difficult to configure than cloud hubs like Wink or SmartThings, but the fact that they can work without the Internet is the main benefit of using them for travel. As long as you also choose smart gadgets that do not rest on the Internet (or provide you with a mobile access point), your only concern is electricity to power your gadgets.

Choose Z-Wave or Zigbee devices

zigbee vs. logos zw-ave
Zigbee / Z-wave

The other benefit of using a hub, especially a local control hub, is Z-wave and Zigbee. Most smarthome hubs support Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols, which creates a mesh-style network. It means that you can bring plugs, lights, and sensors with you even if you do not have a way to provide access to the internet.

If you stay outside, choose gadgets that work with the weather. Setting everything up is relatively close to the same experience at home, and that's probably where you should do the installation work anyway. That way, when you arrive, you will not be able to plug everything in and provide the Internet unless you have it.

With smart sensors, you can automate your arrival and departure. If you have internet access, you can even create a lightweight security system that notifies you if someone enters your room, your vehicle or your campsite.

RELATED: How to bring your Smarthome to the outside

Bluetooth is a decent alternative to Smart Hubs

ilumi blutooth bulb with phone

As mentioned above, remote hubs with local control are generally difficult to use. If you prefer not to work with this or spend money on another hub, Bluetooth is another option.
You can control Bluetooth bulbs and plugs directly from your phone without having to configure a hub. This option also works without the need for the Internet, although some devices offer Alexa or Google compatibility if you can provide network access.

In a hotel, placing Switchmates Above the switches, you will avoid having to get up once again to find the switch that you missed to turn off the last lights. Your tired body will thank you for the easy controls. Do not forget to put back the original light bulbs.

The main disadvantage of this option is the low range of Bluetooth. You probably will not have problems in a hotel or RV, but at a campsite you may need to keep things nearby to stay within range.

You can not take everything with you

Some smart devices are not going to travel well. The cameras like Wyze Cam or Nest cams are an attractive option and would be useful, especially from a security point of view. But they use a lot of data and may blow up any limit that a mobile access point may have or suffer from choking.

Likewise, anything you normally attach to a home, such as a smart lock, thermostat, or switch, is not a viable choice.

But if you plan the right options, you can take at least some of your most modern comfort with you when you travel.

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