Vacation Planning Checklist: Easy Home Prep Before Long RV Trips
June 26, 2017
Before Going on Long-Term Vacations, Here Are Some Things You Should Know
When it’s time for a long-term vacation in your Dutchmen RV, we’d like to ensure you have peace of mind when it comes to both of your homes. So, while you’re preparing for a vacation in a brand-new travel trailer, taking much needed time off with the family in your expansive fifth wheel or getting ready to explore the trails with your luxury toy hauler, your stationary residence still needs a little tender loving care.
To save you money, give you extra security and avoid a full-time hassle when you’re back from vacation, here’s some home prep you can do to mitigate any issues. Let’s call it the “pre-vacation checklist.”
ONE – MAKE SURE YOUR HOME STILL LOOKS “LIVED IN”
Quick Tip: While it may not always be something you have control over or can get into place before you travel, having a relative, close friend or trusted neighbor watch over your home while you’re gone is a good way to mitigate most of the issues that come up during extended absences.
Turn off all lights to conserve energy. However, keep one or two on that you’d typically use if you were home. This way, anyone paying attention will assume you’re still there.
- Even better, invest in automatic light timers. These can be programmed to turn on lights at scheduled times to make you appear home.
An overgrown lawn (if typically kept short) is a good way to advertise that you’re not home. Cut the grass a little bit extra before heading out and think about asking a friend or service to maintain the grounds while you’re away.
Another sign of absence is a stack of old newspapers out front. If you still subscribe to a newspaper, ask that the service be suspended for your RV trip’s duration and start it back up again once the trip has been completed.
Asking your Post Office to suspend mail delivery while you’re out of town is always a good idea. This way, mail won’t continue to pile up, especially the frequent junk mail.
- Or, simply ask a trusted neighbor or friend to periodically pick the mail up for you!
TWO – JUST MAKE SURE IT DOESN’T FEEL TOO “LIVED IN” ONCE YOU’RE BACK
Often times, it’s those “It can wait until later” items that do real damage when you’re gone. Before heading out, do a thorough inspection to make sure everything is in working order.
- Small drip somewhere? Make sure it’s not a full-blown flood by the time you’re back.
- Crack in the foundation you’ve been meaning to fix? Left unattended, it can attract insects and rodents that don’t see a threat keeping them at bay.
A good while before going on vacation, start to eat and dispose of the perishable items you have stored in your fridge, pantry, etc.
- Empty Fridge: Turn it off and open the door to avoid a buildup of mold and odor. This will also stop any automatic ice makers.
- Fridge On: Make sure it has a few items scattered throughout to allow the unit to remain regulated. Make sure any ice makers are turned off until you return.
- Opened bags/containers on pantry shelves should be sealed to prevent pests.
You probably don’t want to come home to a bunch of wilted and dead plants. To avoid this dilemma:
- Either invest in some self-watering applications you can find at local hardware and nursery locations or ask a friend to stop by and water every once in a while.
THREE – SAVE YOURSELF A LOT OF MONEY AND HASSLE
Most people don’t think about it, but when pipes are left unused for long periods of time, they can allow sewer gases to build up. To avoid this harmful oversight, you’ll want to either:
- A. Make sure to run all faucets and flush the toilets to clear any lingering water that may become stagnant, then turn off the main water valve. You’ll need someone to turn on and run these fixtures to avoid drying out the pipes.
- B. Leave the water on, but still have a family member or friend run the faucets and flush the toilets so that the gases don’t have a chance to build up.
Water Heater & Thermostat
To save money in the long run, the water heater and thermostat are essential energy-saving applications you’ll want to manage while out of town on your RV trip.
- If your water heater has a “vacation mode,” then you’ll want to have that activated before leaving.
- When it comes to the thermostat, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- If no pets, plants or fragile objects are present, you can turn the heat up to a high temperature (80 to 90-degrees to be safe) and ensure that it won’t be kicking on when there’s nothing to keep cool. If you live in a cold weather climate, this may not be possible, but you can match the outside temperature as best you can to stop unnecessary running.
Appliances & Electronics
Unplug any appliances or electronic devices that don’t need to function while you’re enjoying all the features in your Dutchmen.
- If it’s not essential, just shut it down. Overlooked items often include; stand-alone microwaves, digital clocks (don’t want alarms perpetually going off, either), gaming consoles and televisions.
If you have a pool, make sure there’s a pool pump continuing to work to avoid a buildup of algae. Also, make sure it’s covered up to mitigate excess debris.
- This applies to hot tubs and any features like this, as well.
A few extra tips to keep you secure while you’re out and about in one of our Dutchmen travel trailers.
Notify Friends or Family
Above all else, letting someone trustworthy know that you’ll be gone is one of the best things you can do while you’re away. You can also let your community office (if applicable) know that your space should not be expecting any new visitors.
All those maintenance issues listed above? Easily managed and avoided if you have someone checking in from time to time.
If you are unable to take them along, you can board them while you’re away. Just make sure it’s a reputable facility that you trust and that your pet(s) are familiar with the staff.
If you’re leaving them at home, you’ll definitely want another person feeding them and taking them out on a frequent basis. Ensure the thermostat is set to keep them in comfortable temperatures.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Often overlooked, but working detectors are important pieces of the pre-vacation inspection. If anything were to happen, your detectors can inform neighbors and authorities when the time comes. Install new batteries and test the units to make sure they’re in working order.
Try not to leave your vehicle unmoved for long periods of time. If possible, ask someone to move it periodically or to place their own car there from time to time. The more there’s a presence, the better.
No Updated Voicemails or Social Media Updates
Avoid automatic messages or voicemails that inform callers that you’re out of town.
Social Media: It’s best that your vacation trip updates wait until after you’ve returned. Try not to advertise to the world that you’re not home.
Now, you’re armed with a few easy steps to prep your home for a long-term RV vacation. With that, we encourage you to go out, explore and have peace of mind as you venture in your Dutchmen RV. While you’re away, you can always head to our Facebook page for the latest news and keep up with our Instagram updates at @dutchmenrvcompany.