Half-way through airport security, you’re about to take off your shoes. Suddenly, you can’t remember… did you close the garage door and turn on the porch light before you left? You whip out your iPhone to check.

With wireless technology, you can turn down the heat in your house, water the lawn, and turn the lights on and off from your iPhone, laptop, or any other device that connects you to the Internet. No matter where in the world your travels take you.

There are a few different home-automation systems out there that let you use your phone as a remote control. One is the INSTEON. Another comes from Crestron. Generally, with these systems, you install special networking outlets in your home. Then, you plug your lights, heater, sprinklers, radio, garage door or other devices into them, so you can control them remotely.

If you go with the INSTEON system, you’ll need the INSTEON SmartLinc to make it work on your iPhone. Other systems work with specific iPhone apps.

You can find them at Home Depot, on Amazon.com, or through SMARTHOME.com.

A home control system like the INSTEON is a great tool for travel writers — especially if you plan on taking press trips, where you could be gone for up to a week at a time. For example, in the last International Travel Writers and Photographers Alliance (ITWPA) Insider newsletter, the featured press trip covered a seven-night yacht cruise in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, all expenses (except for airfare) included. ITWPA members receive opportunities like this by e-mail – along with writing and publishing tips from the Travel Editor at the Denver Post, Kyle Wagner, every other Friday in their ITWPA newsletter. Learn more about ITWPA now.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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