Vacation Lighting Alternatives?

This app has to be turned on and off manually when you are away, otherwise it will come on when you are home. I feel that is not a reasonable replacement option.


It doesn’t work nearly as well as the other option we had. The Labs one has to be manually triggered off and on (which makes no sense based on the title) and you have far less control. Doesn’t have sunset option, only set time intervals, lots of less abilities compared to what we have.

Again, biggest shortfall is if you have it on, it comes on regardless if you are away or not. If this at least worked only when SmartThings was in away mode it would be usable. Lacking, but usable.


I also use a custom Alexa routine to say “Alexa, I’m Home” to turn off guard when STHM is disarmed.


I’ve been using TAustin’s virtual contact sensor connected to Alexa Guard and been working pretty well. Something I’ve come across is I originally tried to use a switch, but that didn’t show up as something I could trigger Alexa guard with, so went with the contact sensor. Now when I leave home and the hub goes into a way mode I get the notification saying the contact sensor is open since it being open is what I use to trigger Alexa. I know I can select which sensors are used in which modes, but I like to just keep them all selected so I don’t have to remember when I add new ones, but if that’s the right choice not that big a deal. I could always inverse that and make it when closed, but then it stands out on the smart things side since it spends most of its life “not armed”. Does anyone know how to get the virtual switch to show up in Alexa or have another device type to suggest?

If you use @ygerlovin “vDev Controller” to create your virtual switches they will work as triggers in Alexa. They contain a hidden contact sensor, but they don’t show up in ST.

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Hello @farlicimo.

You can remove the contact from being monitored by Home Monitor. The SmartThings app menus are not very intuitive, so many people don’t know they can do it!

  • Tap on ‘Home Monitor >’ from your Favorites screen
  • Tap the gear icon in the upper right corner
  • Tap where it says ‘Security’ - not the on/off toggle, but the rather the text
  • Tap ‘Set up Armed (away) sensors’
  • Tap ‘Monitor Access - Use all open/close sensors’ - not the on/off toggle but rather the text
  • Now on this screen you can select or unselect which devices you want to include/exclude
  • Tap ‘Done’
  • Tap ‘Done’
  • Now do the same thing for ‘Set up Armed (stay) sensors’

Hope that helps, and you don’t have to change drivers :slight_smile: .


At the present time, Alexa routines can be triggered by
Contact sensor.
Motion sensor
Flic button.
Echo brand button
Some lights and accessories attached to a hue bridge

But no switches yet.

Some community developers have created virtual devices which are a switch with a hidden contact sensor component. Those worked for a while, and then some of them stopped working and you had to pick the contact sensor option to get it to trigger an Alexa routine.

Best thing is to ask in the author thread for the virtual device edge driver that you are using to see what the current situation is.

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Thanks, I knew that was an option, and ended up just doing that. My issue is when I add new devices I often forget to add them to the monitor so like to just keep All as the choice. Probably not going to add any I’d use for monitoring for a while so will just hope I remember.


Its the 3rd party developoers that made all the drivers and smart apps that made this platform so powerfull and useful. Now it looks like samsung just erased all their good work as well as all our work and killed smartthings.

So far the new system is unrelliable has very limited functionality and i see no indication that it is going to have anything near what we had before.

In my testing with Alexa guard, it didn’t appear to randomize the lights at all. Just left them on.

Should lights be going on and off at certain intervals?

When do they all turn off for the day? Midnight? Sunrise? Seems if the go all night that does the opposite of what security should do.

Just not having any luck with losing this important and necessary automation.

I haven’t used it all that much yet so hopefully someone else will chime in, but I’m finding kind of the same thing about the randomization. It seems to turn a few things on and off in like the first half to full hour, and then they just sit. I haven’t been away late enough to find out if it ever turns off, but I feel like someone else raised the same issue. At some point I will probably adjust the routine to disable it at like 1:00 a.m. and shut the lights off, just haven’t spent the time to do it yet.

Alexa guard doesn’t give the option for ending time. So I guess another daily routine would need to be created, but in SmartThings. Basically turn everything off daily at xx time if I’m away mode.

But…then Alexa guard could start turning things back on.

Seems like there is no good solution here.

My plan is to have a second routine that disables Alexa Guard and shuts off the lights. The first routine has a trigger around time and a virtual switch tied to away status, so as long as I get it right, it should kick back off at sunset in case I am away for multiple days.

Definitely clunky compared to Vacation Lighting, but conceptually I think it will work.

I made a workflow using virtual switches and the Virtual Appliance Mirror switches. It has been working well for turning lights off and on. It triggers at sunset if I am away and I grouped lights to mirror the status of different mirror switches.

(New Release) Edge Driver Aplicaciones Virtuales Mc (virtual Switch Mirror, Virtual Calendar and virtual Switch Board…) - Devices & Integrations / Community Created Device Types - SmartThings Community

Any switch, including virtual has fast automations that can be set on and off independently. Use this as your precondition in your routine

Same exact situation with me. Very disappointed with Alexa Guard. I moved to a paid version, hoping that I’d be able to resolve this. But Amazon support was a big zero in helping, stating that they’d get back to me - and never did.

Others have suggested workable methods to automatically start it when leaving, or possibly stop when returning (as well as to disable it at a certain time, since it’s really dumb to have lights on during sleeping hours - its normal operation). But for me it usually turns on all the lights and leaves them on, even the lights that I regularly use (so a usage pattern would be available).

I’m always surprised when people suggest to use it as a replacement for that amazing Vacation app. I’ve wondered if they simply don’t have this problem for some reason, or haven’t really used it themselves.

Sounds like we are SOL until the Labs one gets useful options. Alexa Guard isn’t a great option if you actually go on vacation.

Just need a single, easy option like we had before.

Milan, thank you very much for your tip about this feature, which I hadn’t known before! Although I’m still looking for something that will randomly turn on lights at random times, this will be handy until I find it.

Has anyone been able to find a way to get the random light rotation, like vacation director?
I just can’t belive that with all the tech, Samsung don’t have any program thta allows this with the light eco system…

Interested as well. Currently I’m using a combination of virtual mirrors. It’s a complete cludge as compared to prior Vacation Lighting. Although I really do appreciate the work put into the virtual mirror driver… It feels like a workaround.