|puuikibeach on flickr.com|
1. Check your insurance: Every insurance company has its own peculiarities; if you don't meet the policy requirements, you may find yourself having a hard time getting compensation should something happen. Some companies require a visit to the home on a periodic visit while the owners are absent. If that's the case for you, try and recruit a friendly neighbor to come in and check.
2. Freeze-proof: If you're concerned about a plumbing freeze, you'll either need to leave the heat on or prepare the plumbing to be cold without damage. Draw on your experience from the past--when staying home in the winter, have you ever had a frozen pipe? What temperature was your thermostat set for?
The safest minimum to leave the thermo set for is generally thought to be 50 degrees; this should keep mold and mildew at bay, but it will still chew on your utility bill. If you decide to leave the heat off, be sure to drain your water heater, blow all the water out of your lines, and leave RV antifreeze poured in your drain traps. Toilets, too, will require special help. Get as much water out of the tank and bowl as possible, then pour in copious amounts of antifreeze.
3. Other utilities: Got TV cable and Internet service? Call your provider and ask about "vacation hold" policies--you may get a rate break. What about the phone? It may be a good idea to leave the phone on, hooked up to an answering service. That way people with bad intent won't call and find your phone off and think it might be good to rip off your house. Put the trash can out of sight and have the trash pickup service stopped.
4. Security: Invest in two or three electric timers that you can plug lamps and a radio into. Set them for "variable" function so that they'll turn on a lamp off and on at around the same time each day, but not precisely the same time. Stage them in different parts of the house to mimic occupancy--say in the living room from dark until bed time, then on in the bedroom for an hour. Having a radio turned on low can make the bad guys think somebody's home, too. Motion sensor lights on your porch are great for spooking the fearful-at-heart burglar.
Have your mail forwarded to you on the road, or to someone who'll take care of it for you. Never let your mail accumulate at the box; same is true for the newspaper. Having a neighbor or friend stop by every few days to check up on things--and remove the "pizza coupons" from the front door is good, too.
If it snows in your area, hire a responsible snow guy to shovel at least your sidewalk regularly.
Now, pack up the rig and head off.