Away or vacation mode best practices (not presence simulation!)

I have tons of devices with tons of automations: water heating, water circulation, irrigation, lights, shutters, alarm system, media players etc.
There are some cases when the related automations should work differently in a normal daily basis where we are at home or leave just to go to work/school, and also has to work differently in case of a shorter or longer leave. E.g. we open the shutters in the given room manually when somebody wakes up, but when we are not home, I’d like to open the shutters at a given time to keep our plants alive. Also I’d like to shut down all media players when we leave our home.
The trigger in my case can be the alarm system. When we arm away it starts the away routines (not starting hot water circulation, shutting down media players etc.). If the alarm system is in away mode for more than 1 day it goes to vacation mode which handles e.g. shutters, presence simulation, different way of water heating, set thermostats.etc.
Also it is useful to be able to these modes manually not just automated.
I’m thinking if I create input booleans to switch it, or create a sensor which has different states based on different situation and the input boolean switches.
So currently I’m just collecting the best cases, ideas, soultions to build a good away and vacation mode in HA. I hope I can open a long discussion with dozens of god ideas.

You don’t say what hardware you are using?

With Velbus hardware, what you have asked for would be incredibly easy to achieve.

I’m using a button for Vacation Mode, which does some things (presence simulation etc)
I have an automation which notifies me (in case I forgot to activate) when I’m longer away from home then 24 hours. It’s actionable which let’s me switch on vacation mode.

I use Node Red for this although normal automations would work also. Inspired by this page Vacation Mode | node-red-contrib-home-assistant-websocket (

Sorry, I don’t understand your question about the hardware. I’m wondering about ideas how to set up away or vacation modes. Different automations in case of a shorter or longer absence.

I am far from perfect/ideal (not interested enough to take it to the next level) but I add conditions to my automations that check a boolean ‘ignore’ …the boolean is set manually
I did not want to write exceptions for each automation and this one works for me…one central check for some (!) automations. To be clear, most of my automations keep running whether home/nothome.

Now I created a sensor with states: home, night, away, vacation (and unavailable :slight_smile: ).
It is triggered partly by my alarm system .

  • disarmed = home
  • armed_home = night
  • armed_away for less than 24 hours = away
  • armed_away for more than 24 hours = vacation
  • none of above = unavailable

Also triggered by 2 input booleans: away and vacation. The reason for this to be able to switch off vacation mode manually. E.g. one day before we arrive back from vacation I can switch the mode off and e.g. the heating system starts work like in a normal day.

Now here comes your ideas what to switch off or on or what other settings are useful when we away for shorter or longer time. And what should be switched or set back when we return from a shorter or longer absence.


I only meant that (for example) if the hardware in your home / property was “Velbus”, there is a feature built into it for exactly what you’re asking for.

Which Home Assistant would be able to activate / deactivate.

In your original post, you don’t say what hardware / device control you are using, but from your further comments I see you are looking for a software only solution, so I must assume your want the logic for the software.

This is a good idea. I’ll try to implement this

Continuing my project. I listed all my lights, most of switches and some related automations in an Excel table (each row is an entity). And I listed some situations in the columns like:

  • We are at home (our alarm system is disarmed)
  • We are at home but the alarm system is armed home (usually evening/night) - E.g. turn off all outdoor lights in the garden on our patio…
  • disarming alarm system from “armed home” (e.g. the hot water circulation turns on because it is pretty sure we will take a shower in 20 minutes after wake up)
  • alarm system is “armed away” (Away mode) - e.g. swiching off the interior light, water circulation
  • we are away for more than 24 hours (vacation mode) - presence simulations starts and also rolls up the shutters in the morning in the areas where we have flowers. Also rolls down around sunset.
  • alarm is triggered - e.g. some lights start to blink or chage color inside and outside and rolling down the shutters
  • later on I’ll have a “good night” mode (different from “armed home” and also a “good morning” mode

So have the entities, I have the situations. I made a matrix which entity should do something in a given situation. Now I have to find out the best way to group them somehow. Maybe I’ll do some groups manually (e.g. group.mode_armed_home) becaouse there will be switches and lights as well to turn off.
But if there is a better solution, I listen to your practices, solutions…

I’m interested in it too