By Nikki Ekstein
January 15, 2015
Credit: Courtesy of August

One of the biggest trends coming out of this year’s CES? Smart home tech. And while these automated appliances and home fixtures may seem far from the realm of travel, we’ve found that they’re surprisingly not—especially if you’re interested in turning your home into a vacation rental. If there’s only one “smart” home tool that you invest in before creating your AirBnB host profile, make it Yves Behar’s beautifully designed smart lock, August. Here’s how it works.

The August lock system attaches to nearly any kind of existing lock structure (only three-prong locks, like those common in New York City apartments, are incompatible). Once installed, use August’s companion app to give “keys” to anyone you’d like—they simply need to download the app, enable Bluetooth, and have their phone within a few feet of your door to be let in. One of our favorite features? The lock is only visible from inside your apartment, keeping the exterior keyhole intact. That means nobody needs to know you’re running a high-tech home, and you still have an old-fashioned means of entry should your phone die while out and about.

Still not convinced that you, the savvy jetsetter, need another techy device in your life? Think about all those times you wanted a neighbor to water your plants, feed your cats, or bring in left-outside packages. They could be given access to your home through August on a short-term basis. And for those who to host visitors, there’s no simpler way to transfer keys and make sure things are locked up at the end of a stay. Bonus: a new partnership with Nest, announced at CES, means that you can buy a companion device, the Nest Connect (pictured above) which synchs your cooling and heating systems with the lock, so that they automatically shut off as you (or your guests) leave and lock up.

Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.