How to protect your home against a holiday trip? A few simple tips that I will test myself soon

The first rule of securing your home during a holiday trip? Don’t boast publicly that you’re leaving for it. Second rule? Do not share the details of your security system with anyone. Today I will break both of these rules.

Of course, I will only do it theoretically, because I’m not going on vacation yet, but it’s a good introduction to go straight to point three. However, it will not say "buy and install an alarm system costing thousands of zlotys with the use of experts". We can prepare for a holiday trip much easier and cheaper.

Mount the cameras. Sometimes even one is enough.

Absolute basis – even just to check if everything is ok and go to sleep in the hotel bed. Although it is definitely worth ensuring that home cameras have a little more possibilities.

What? For example, a motion sensor would be useful, without which the security camera is practically useless, as it would require constant monitoring of the recorded image in order to detect really dangerous situations. It is also important that – although it may be obvious – this sensor is good enough, and that the camera itself communicates quickly with the mobile application. After all, we’ll be fine with a traffic alert if we get it with a delay of several dozen minutes.

And so, for example, I have one of the cameras in the kitchen – so that not only traffic is captured directly in the kitchen and corridor (there is no wall between them), but also in the kitchen window, which may be passed by someone who should not be in around my house.

Here is an example of a notification of motion detection in the TP-Link Tapo application. The notification is sent immediately, even if we are not within the range of the same WiFi network.

The second important issue is that the camera has a sufficiently effective night mode , because after all, nobody leaves for a week or two, leaving all the lights on at home.

This is what the image from the TP-Link Tapo C100 camera looks like in night mode. It starts automatically when appropriate conditions are detected. Motion detection range in the dark – up to 9 m.

It is definitely worth looking for cameras that offer a microSD card connector , instead of forcing the user to expensive subscriptions. After all, 1080p video (like the cameras I currently have at home do) can be quite large and it’s good to store it locally. Of course, there is nothing to prevent you from accessing them wirelessly from the application level – the microSD card only serves as a local memory.

In the case of larger rooms or those with a more complex structure, it is also worth considering buying a camera with a rotating head. Thanks to this, we can – even when far from home – move it at any time to monitor the area of ​​interest. One of the cameras that offers such a function is the Tapo C200, which I am testing and whose review (together with the review of the entire system) will appear on our website soon.

A final point that is often forgotten are the most basic ways to deter a thief. For example, TP-Link Tapo C100, which is currently in my kitchen, offers two such options.

The first is the audible and light alarm which is what the description indicates. If the camera is in armed mode and it detects motion, it will start to scream really loud and flash lights. It may not work for every thief, but a large part of them will probably scare you away, suggesting that we may have a full-fledged alarm system in the house and, for example, a security company will appear immediately.

It is worth making sure that such a mode has the option of setting a schedule – unless you want to start and disable it manually every time, probably forgetting about both. It’s so good that in the case of Tapo series products, you can do it remotely from the application level, although … it’s better to just set a schedule.

Optionally selecting zones that are worth monitoring can also be extremely useful. For example, we do not want to have an alarm activated every now and then, because in the children’s room we have hanging toys that can swing from a gentle breeze.

Now I won’t get a notification if the teddy bear moves.

The second deterrent could be… the built-in speaker , which is also found in the C100. Usually, cameras only offer a microphone, which prevents sound from being transmitted the other way. It’s a pity, because this way – after receiving an alert about detected motion – you can, for example, start to pretend a conversation, thanks to which we will probably scare off a potential burglar even more effectively than using an alarm siren.

And this brings us to the fourth point of our brief toolbox:

Do everything so that it seems that you have not gone anywhere.

The built-in loudspeaker and pretending a conversation or an alarm in the camera will be effective in many cases, but they will only work when someone actually starts to come to our house – after they have already assumed (e.g. after the car is not in the driveway) that no one is in it. there is no. It is worth ensuring that even such an idea does not come to a potential burglar.

How to do it? Of course, you can play complicated smart home systems with roller shutter control and so on, but if someone is just before the holiday, he or she does not consider such treatments. You can, however, quickly and conveniently, without any fumbling around the sockets, simulate our presence. There are two simplest methods.

The first one may be a smart socket, such as the Tapo P100 I tested. It is small, so it will not disturb us, for example, in multi-socket and multi-plug installations, and its configuration and operation is trivial. We put them in contact, connect them to the application (several dozen seconds of work), connect, for example, a bedside lamp and … yes, that’s it.

From now on, we can start the power supply of the connected device from anywhere and at any time, and thus – e.g. turn on the aforementioned lamp.

It probably couldn’t be simpler.

Such manual (even if remote) activation may be not very reliable for the observers of our house, but for us – burdensome. If we forget ourselves in the holiday madness and leave the bedside lamp on for the whole week, no one will believe that someone is at home.

Therefore, there can be two solutions. Either it is a schedule, preferably a different one for each day, or – although not in every system we will find it – a dedicated departure system.

We can find such something in the Tapo application. Instead of laboriously creating a reliable schedule manually, we can simply click "Away Mode", select a range of activation hours (or, for example, set this range between sunset and sunrise) and that’s it. Or actually done on our side, because the rest will be done by the drawing machine.

I put a test socket in … in the bathroom which has a window right next to the front door (don’t ask). Admittedly, it is covered with blinds, but the light seeps through the gaps in the roller blinds and I have no doubt that anyone who hangs around the door at night will notice it.

And what if we do not have any lamps plugged into the socket in the right place, only lamps permanently connected to the electrical installation? This does not have to be a problem either, because then you just need to arm yourself with a smart bulb, such as the L510E. It does not have to be colorful, it does not have to have a million functions – it is enough that it can be remotely controlled.

And that you can set a similar schedule or travel mode as in the case of the socket in question. As a result, we will already have potentially two independent lighting sources that turn on at random times. This may already look really plausible.

Bonus knowledge: It doesn’t have to be cosmically expensive.

For example, looking at the example of the system that I am currently testing and based on in this text.

For example, it does not require the so-called goal, i.e. we already have several hundred zlotys potentially saved. Individual devices connect directly to our router, and then further to the world and our application on the phone.

Secondly – none of these devices will bring you to your knees at the expense of the purchase. The Tapo P100 socket costs … only PLN 59 (!). The L510E bulb costs just over PLN 100. We will pay less than PLN 120 for the C100 camera, while for the rotating C200 camera – about PLN 140. So we spend a few hundred zlotys and have a quite sensible home monitoring system during our absence and – perhaps even more important – simulating our presence.

How do these tips work in practice?

I will find out about it soon. Of course, not going on vacation, because you can’t boast publicly that you do it …

The text was created in cooperation with TP-Link

How to protect your home against a holiday trip? A few simple tips that I will test myself soon