Packing light may be overrated, but that doesn’t mean you can bring everything with you when you’re studying abroad.
Spending a semester in another country can be the most memorable part of your college experience. It will be inspiring, rewarding and challenging. We don’t know about you, but we’re pretty sure that storing the stuff that you’re going to be leaving in the US shouldn’t be one of those challenges.
While you’re packing up the items that are coming along for the journey, consider these six tips for storing the things that aren’t.
Online Bill Pay
This being 2017 and all, there’s really no need to send checks in the mail the old fashioned way. Be sure to choose a storage facility that offers online bill pay, as this will allow you to stay on top of your rent from anywhere in the world, so long as you have wifi, of course.
If it’s an option, you can consider doing auto pay. Just be sure that you have enough money in your checking account.
Paying in Advance
Some storage facilities (especially those that rent to university students) will forgo the traditional month-to-month self storage lease and allow you to pay a flat free for several months of storage. This is more commonly offered for summer storage, but you should ask about it during the school year if it’s something that interests you.
While this obviously requires you to pay what might seem like a big chunk of change up front, it gives you the freedom of not having to worry about paying your rent each month while you’re in a foreign country.
You probably don’t spend a ton of time hanging around storage facilities and chatting with managers about their biggest customer service woes, but if you did, you’d find out that it all boils down to communication.
Whether they’re trying to get a tenant to pay rent, trying to impart information about an unlocked unit, a flood, or a burglary, self storage operators can’t communicate without the correct contact information. In your case, this probably means providing your storage facility with your parents’ contact information or the contact information of someone else you trust. Let the storage facility know that you will be studying abroad and will probably be difficult to reach. Encourage them to contact you by email if they need to reach you directly, as this will best accommodate varying cell phone plans and time differences.
Drastic temperatures and high humidity are the enemy of items in self storage. If you’ll be traveling during a time when your belongings in storage will be susceptible to a frigid winter, sweltering summer or stormy spring, consider climate control.
Climate control regulates the temperature and humidity inside your storage unit and is necessary if you’re storing musical instruments, artwork, photographs, antiques or electronics. Not sure if you need it? Talk to your storage facility’s staff about what you’re storing and they’ll point you in the right direction.
If you’re going to be having a blast in France or living it up in Spain (we mean...studying), the last thing you want to think about is whether or not your stuff is safe in self storage. That’s why choosing a storage facility with top of the line security features is crucial.
Good security features include high walls, gated access, surveillance cameras, floodlights and a staff that’s dedicated to monitoring the property. Storing in a safe neighborhood doesn’t hurt either, so if doing so means paying a slightly higher rent, go ahead and splurge.
Sharing a Storage Unit
There are many reasons to share a storage unit with someone else. Whether you’re trying to save money, storing shared items or just bonding with your roommate by becoming self storagemates (weird, but okay), it’s a practical thing to do in college.
Sharing a storage unit with a friend who is still stateside while you’re abroad is a nice way to ensure that there will be someone available to check on your stuff when you can’t. Just be sure that both of you have your names are on the lease, are able to access to the unit and are capable of paying your share of the rent.
And voilà! Now that you’ve read our tips on using self storage while you’re studying abroad, you’re ready to rent a storage unit with confidence. Your next step is traveling the world. Bon voyage!