The Renter's Bent New to self storage and looking for solutions? Curious about this relatively modern trend in American life? Want to know what motivates the StorageFront team? StorageFront's blog is a helpful mix of tips and tales for renters, conjured up by our own diverse team of writers. Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:00:23 +0000 en hourly 1 A Successful Move with Your Autistic Child Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:00:23 +0000 Jon Fesmire I’m a single parent of an autistic boy, and he and I have moved many times over the last seven years. The first couple of times, I expected it to be tough on him, for him to be upset at the new place, or for his behavior to regress. However, that never really happened.

Why? I think the main reason is because I’ve been the one constant in his life. Wherever he’s gone all his life, I’ve been right there with him. Provide that sense of stability for your own child by always being there for him or her.

Beyond that, you need to get your child emotionally prepared for the move.

New Bedroom

To ease your child into the idea of the new place, and to get him or her looking forward to it, consider planning the new bedroom with your child ahead of time. If your child is into computers and electronics, consider using a room planning app. There are many online and available for different platforms. Planning the arrangement of their new bedroom, or even the entire apartment will be fun for both of you. After all, your child will be living there too, and this can make the transition more comfortable.

Double Locks

It can be scary for any parent when a child disappears. For an autism parent, it’s especially frightening, knowing that your child has difficulty communicating and could wander anywhere.

That’s why you need to make sure your home is safe and that they won’t leave without you or another trusted adult. Personally, I get double-sided locks for any door that leads outside. That way, my son won’t go outside, get interested in something, and go right after it. One thing can lead to another, and your child can end up lost.

If you own, you can do this without asking anyone for permission. If you rent your place, clear this with your landlord or manager. I have never had a problem with them agreeing to this.

Also, it’s easy to get the new lock rekeyed, so that the existing key for the door works on the new lock. Places like Home Depot can rekey your new locks for less than it costs to buy your own rekeying kit.

The New School

Moving a special needs child to a new school is more complicated than with a neurotypical child. Most children will simply get placed in a grade-appropriate classroom. Children with special needs must be placed in a class that accommodates their needs and learning style. Your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) goes to the new school and that school must follow it.

If you can get that going before the move, then things will go more smoothly when you arrive at your new place. Also, if you can, schedule a time shortly before your move to see the school with your child. I can tell you from experience that if your child sees the new class and likes it, that helps tremendously. Also, if there’s something that bothers you about the new class, you can address it. You can also let the teacher know ahead of time what your child’s needs are. For example, whenever we move, I ask my son’s new teacher to put a stop sign on the door, so that if my son wants to go outside, he’ll have a reminder that he needs to wait for an adult.

The Neighborhood

What’s in your immediate neighborhood? Do you live in an area with houses for blocks, and shopping at a distance? Is shopping really close? What about parks?

First, since people with autism tend to wander, you or a trusted adult need to be with your child whenever he or she goes out.

While a familiarity with home and school are most important, so is familiarity with the neighborhood. When you want to go somewhere, your child can suggest places to go based on what he or she knows is nearby. This sort of involvement can help your child to feel more settled in the area.

Picture Stories

Armed with the above knowledge, you can create something that will really help your autistic child mentally and emotionally prepare for the move.

You may have noticed in your child’s school or ABA therapy the use of pictures and words together. For example, in order to help your child understand it’s time to do math, the teacher may have a photograph of the child working on math, and print it with a caption that says, “Working on Math.” She could then show it to your son or daughter and say, “It’s time to do math,” which will make it clearer for your child.

These are also called social stories, and Autism Speaks has several helpful templates. Take photographs, and put together a picture book or a video that explains each step of the move.

It might go something like this.

  • We live in a nice house.

  • You have a great room!

  • In October, though, it’s time to move.

  • First, Mom, Dad, and friends will pack a truck.

  • Then, we’ll drive to our new city.

  • This is our new house! Isn’t it nice?

  • Here’s your new room! We’ll arrange it just right!

  • Here’s your new school!

  • Here’s your new class.

  • Mrs. Smith is your new teacher.

  • Here’s the nearby park.

  • You can go on the swings!

  • We’re all going to love living in our new home.

If your child is anything like mine, he or she will love watching the video and may want to talk about it. My son likes to repeat these sorts of things verbatim. When his school planned on a big field trip to see Santa Claus, they created a great social story book for all the kids. He enjoyed reading that, and he would come up to me and say, “First, we’re getting on the bus! Then, we’re going to the mall!” Social stories help to not only get children used to the idea of something new that’s coming up, but invested in it.

Your move with your autistic child does not have to be difficult. With the above advice, hopefully you can make it a lot more fun. If your child still has difficulties, that’s all right. Show patience and look back over the picture story. The important thing is that you’re doing what you can to make the move better for your child.

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Funny Fridays: 24-Hour Access by Kelly Kamowski Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:12:38 +0000 GuestBlogger werewolf Funny Fridays: 24 Hour Access by Kelly Kamowski

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The Pros and Cons of Sharing a Storage Unit Wed, 19 Oct 2016 22:04:42 +0000 Jon Fesmire So, you have things to store, but don’t have quite enough for a 5×5 unit. Or maybe your finances are tight and you want to save money per square foot on storage. You may live in a city where the price of self storage units is on the higher end.

One solution is to rent a unit with another person.

The Cons

If you’re considering sharing a self storage unit with someone, make sure it’s with someone you know and trust. There are many things that can go wrong when sharing a unit with someone.

Most self storage facilities only have leases for individuals. The renter can share keys with others and allow them access to the unit, but the primary renter is legally responsible for it. That means if your partner is supposed to pay half the rent, but doesn’t give you the money, you are still responsible for all of it.

What could go wrong?

For example, you and your friend could have a falling out. If they’re the one on the lease, they could easily prevent you from getting your things, and you won’t be allowed in if they change the lock. You would be looking at a legal battle. Or, you may pay them your half of the rent every month, but they may forget to pay the facility and ignore warning letters. The next thing you know, the unit is getting auctioned off with your stuff in it.

Your self storage partner will also have access to everything you store, and someone you don’t know well could take anything they wanted and skip town.

For these reasons, we discourage you from sharing a unit with a friend, or even your significant other, unless you are completely sure you can trust them. Really think about it. If you do have problems in the relationship in the future, do you want a shared storage unit to be another point of contention?

The Pros

Let’s say you’re in a situation in which you need storage, need to save money per square foot, and are sure you can trust your self storage roommate. What might that situation look like?

Your partner might be a friend you’ve known for years whom you’ve always been able to trust. They may be your spouse, or significant other in a healthy, long-term relationship. If you’re in college, they may be your present dormmate.

In fact, college is a likely time when you will need a roommate for self storage. Dorm rooms are generally pretty small, so students need some storage space. However, in college, it’s not uncommon to have a tight budget and to subsist on hot dogs and ramen noodles. That self storage unit might really cut into your budget, but by sharing a unit with one or two other students, you could save money.

What it all boils down to is this: You have to weigh the potential monetary savings versus how much you trust the other person.

Think it through, but also trust your gut. There are no guarantees, so just make the best decision you can.

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Avoid an Awful Roommate by Asking These Five Questions Mon, 17 Oct 2016 17:00:18 +0000 Krista Diamond The worst roommate in the world almost never starts off that way. At the initial meeting, the roommate seems pretty cool. He or she promises to clean regularly, pay the rent on time and be respectful of your space. You start thinking, hey, we might end up being friends or at least acquaintances who benefit from splitting the bills and don’t loathe the sight of one another. But then it happens. Without warning, that normal-seeming roommate undergoes some werewolf-on-a-full-moon transformation and turns into a total monster. Your once picturesque apartment becomes a toxic waste dump where the trash is always overflowing, things from your room are going missing and there’s always someone you don’t recognize crashing on your couch.

No one places a roommate ad with the hope of bringing a feral animal disguised as a human being into their home, but there are ways to avoid ending up with the roommate from hell in the first place. The following are five strategic questions that are expertly designed to help identify several different types of bad roommates, from the sloppy to the sketchy. Ask your potential new roommate each one before you add their name to your lease.

1. What are you looking for in a roommate?

Start the conversation by turning the tables. You already know what you want in a roommate, and while you should absolutely express that both in your ad and in person, you should also take the time to find out what might be expected from you. Is this person looking for a BFF or someone who won’t bother them? Make sure you both want the same relationship, that way your roommate doesn’t feel left out when not invited to the bar or annoyed with your attempts at friendship. If both of your answers to this question aren’t similar, you’re a bad fit.

2. What do you think acceptable cleaning rules are?

House rules might make you feel like you’re living with your parents again, but they’re necessary if you want to share a space with someone. How someone answers this question is a very good way to determine what your living environment will be like should you choose them as a roommate. Most people will try to give off the impression that they’re at least somewhat clean, even if that’s not true. A person who gives you a vague answer to this (Example: “I don’t know? Keep common areas clean?”) will possibly be messy. On the other hand, if someone is specific (Example: “Clean the bathroom once a week, wipe down surfaces every other day, run the dishwasher as soon as it’s full.”), you can count on them to do their share.

3. How long is an acceptable amount of time to have a guest stay for?

There’s nothing better than a roommate who starts dating someone and then unofficially moves in with them, unless of course, that unofficial living situation is your apartment. Nobody likes a third roommate who doesn’t pay rent, whether that third roommate is a significant other, a friend, or—gasp—several family members. That being said, you should both be able to have a date over to watch a movie without your roommate glaring at you from the kitchen. Using the words “how long” when asking this question will get you an accurate answer so you’ll know whether that friend from out of town will be staying for the weekend (acceptable) or indefinitely (run for your life).

4. How much do you have to spend on rent AND bills?

At the bare minimum, your roommate exists to split the cost of your shared apartment, so make sure said roommate has a reliable source of income and make sure that source of income can cover more than just the rent. Your roommate should also be able to pay half of any other bill that affects the entire household including electricity and cable. By asking this question, you’ll avoid living with someone who is going to use the wifi without paying for it or worse, get your power turned off.

5. What’s the worst roommate you’ve ever had?

Not just a fun conversation to have over drinks (though it certainly is that), this is the ultimate question to ask when determining whether a potential roommate is normal or a total weirdo. We all have our quirks, but we also all have a threshold for what we consider to be completely ridiculous behavior. Everyone has had a WTF moment with a former roommate who had a strange collection of something in their room, a creepy boyfriend or insisted you follow some bizarre rule like never keeping the shades drawn at all times. Asking someone this question before you invite them into your home will show you whether they’re a normal, nice person or a psycho who will watch you sleep. After all, when it comes to roommates, there is no in between.

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Funny Fridays: Climate Control by Kelly Kamowski Fri, 14 Oct 2016 17:25:28 +0000 GuestBlogger thumb StoreLocalDevil 1 1024 Funny Fridays: Climate Control by Kelly Kamowski

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8 Things You Should Look For When Choosing a New City Wed, 12 Oct 2016 17:00:01 +0000 Krista Diamond Searching for the right city to call home is a lot searching for love. In both cases, they say that when you’ve found the one, you just know. It’s a nice sentiment, but when it comes to choosing a city to call home, we’d rather rely on facts than romance. After, all, it’s far too easy to get swept up in the dreamy haze of your potential new hometown’s Instagram account and assume that living there will be a magical world of rooftop lounges with views of the skyline and afternoon strolls through pristine parks where everyone stops to say hello. While we’re totally in favor of getting after the dream of a new city, the last thing you want is to arrive and find out that said dream was just an illusion. Instead, guarantee your happiness in a new city by taking the time to research these eight things before you get there:

1. Affordability

This is number one on our list for a reason. If you have to work three jobs to afford that tiny studio apartment with five roommates, you’re not going to have the energy or the money to actually enjoy the city. Starting off somewhere new is always challenging, but it shouldn’t be so hard that you’re up at night stressing over how you’re going to afford electricity and food. To figure out whether or not a city is affordable, look for these key figures: the average cost of renting an apartment, the average cost of buying a home, the median income, what wages are like in your desired field and how much you’ll be paying in taxes. You can also look into the average cost of things like groceries, gas and anything that’s unique to your spending habits. For example, if you’re planning on joining a gym, find out the costs of gym membership options in the area. Remember, the concept of affordability means different things to different people, so consider your own budget and spending habits when doing this research.

2. Getting Around

Everyone has a preferred mode of transportation. If you’re someone who would rather walk, ride a bike or take public transportation than use a car, you might find yourself disappointed if you end up living in a driving city. If you like to go out a lot, you’ll want to know if the city has rideshare services like Uber and Lyft or if you’ll have the fork out the money for an old fashioned cab. And if you’re someone who considers gridlocked traffic a deal breaker, look up the city’s average commute time. You can use Google Maps to determine how easy it is to get around by your chosen mode of transportation; just select the car, bus, pedestrian, bicycle or rideshare icon to find out. Don’t automatically rule out a city that’s not super walkable; you’ll probably still be able to find a few neighborhoods where everything is accessible by foot. Websites like Walk Score can help you suss them out.

3. The Job Market

A city’s job market is a somewhat ambiguous concept that only really makes sense if you think about it in terms of how it’s going to affect you specifically. Approach it from the perspective of your desired field but keep an open mind too. Is there a major industry or company that accounts for the bulk of the jobs in town? Can you see yourself working there? Look on websites like Indeed and LinkedIn for job postings to get an idea of what’s out there, but also check out an online edition of the city’s local newspaper for listings as well.

4. Weather

Don’t assume you already know what the weather will be like. Some regions will surprise you. For example, if you’re moving to Seattle because you love the rain, you might be disappointed to find out that the city actually only receives 36 inches a year—one less than the national average. Look up how many inches of rain, how many inches of snow and how many days of sun the city gets per year. What is the average low for each month? What is the average high? Are there any unusual or extreme weather patterns (think tornadoes, flash floods and dust storms) that the city is affected by? Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you decide whether or not to pack that jacket.

5. Safety

So your friend who used to live there says it’s sketchy but your aunt who visited once says it’s safe. Who do you trust? No offense, but the answer is neither of them. Determining the safety of a city is a two step process. First, get a broad overview of general crime statistics in the city by using a website like NeighborhoodScout. This will give you an idea of what types of crime occur more often than others in the city. Next, use a website like CrimeMapping to hone in on specific areas. This is helpful if you already have a few apartment complexes or neighborhoods in mind, as you’ll be able to see a regularly updated map of specific crimes that have been reported nearby. Seeing a lot of disturbances of the peace near an apartment complex downtown? It could translate to drunken rowdiness on the weekends. Great news if you’re going to be out on the town yourself, bad news if you’re someone who needs eight hours of sleep a night. Seeing a lot of motor vehicle theft? You and your brand new ride may want to park your lives elsewhere.

6. Schools

If you have or are planning to have kids, choosing a city with a great school system is ideal. Besides looking at how good the schools are overall, look at the schools in the neighborhoods that appeal to you. Compare charter schools, speciality schools and private schools. Think about the future by keeping your eye on higher education options in the city as your children (or you) may want to take advantage of an in-state tuition rate at some point.

7. The Local Opinion

The best advice on deciding whether or not a city is right for you doesn’t come from a chamber of commerce website or a Wikipedia page. It comes from the people who already live there. If you can visit beforehand, take the time to talk to your Uber driver, your bartender, your Airbnb host and everyone else you meet. Ask them what they like about the city and what they don’t like about it. See what neighborhoods they recommend and which ones they think you should avoid. How would they describe their perfect weekend? If you can’t visit, search the Internet for a Reddit thread, a City Data forum or even a community Facebook group for that city where you can learn from locals.

8. Fun Stuff

You’re probably not moving to a new city just so you can work and pay bills and sleep. Unfortunately, that magical community where no one needs a job and everyone uses cupcakes as currency doesn’t exist yet (though there’s probably a startup working on it right now), so you’ll have to be somewhat responsible no matter where you live. Fortunately, if you choose the right city, your life can also be full of fun stuff like annual events and local traditions, restaurants and bars and parks and outdoor activities. Look for a city that offers things you’re into, whether it’s a strong arts scene, a ton of nearby hiking or an impressive array of museums. As an added bonus, a city that shares your interests will translate to new friends who share your interests, making you feel like a local before you know it.

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Get Into Gear: How to Store Your Bike Mon, 10 Oct 2016 17:00:18 +0000 Krista Diamond You and your bike have had some pretty wonderful adventures together. From speeding into the city to get to work on time, cruising to the farmers’ market on the weekend to riding through the mountains, your trusty steed has shown you a lot of love. That’s why it’s important that you show it some love in return when it comes to storing it. As tempting as it might be to leave it in your yard, doing so can result in it getting rusted, warped or worst of all, stolen. To ensure that your bike is with you for the long haul, follow these storage tips:

Clean It

Before storing your bike, take the time to clean it. This actually isn’t that complicated or expensive. In fact, you don’t even have to buy any special bike cleaning products. All you need is some mild dishwashing soap, a bucket, a large sponge and a toothbrush. Fill the bucket with warm water and head outside. Thoroughly wet the frame of the bike, then wet the sponge and apply a small amount of dishwashing soap. Clean thoroughly and then use the toothbrush to remove stubborn dirt from hard to reach areas. The key here is to be gentle. Never wash your bike with a high pressure hose or scrub it with anything overly abrasive. Once you’ve cleaned it and rinsed it, dry it with a towel and then keep it in a well ventilated area so that it can air dry the rest of the way.

Basic Maintenance

Unless you know what you’re doing, leave the heavy duty stuff to the pros. All you really have to do is a basic maintenance check. Make sure that your bike’s tires are filled and in good shape, use wax on the frame, seat post, fenders and lube up the chain. Take special care to look for areas on the frame where the paint is chipped and give these extra attention with the wax. Next, remove bike accessories like that wicker basket, bell, water bottle and any other attachments. These items may or may not do well in storage, and they’re simple enough to remove that it’s not worth taking the risk.

Choose the Right Storage Unit

Storing your bike in an actual storage facility will give it the maximum amount of protection, but don’t put it in any old storage unit. Opt for an inside unit over the convenience of a drive-up unit and choose a storage unit with climate control. This is especially important if you’re storing in an area that’s humid or near the ocean, as damp air (especially salty air) can do some serious damage on your bike. When choosing a facility, take the time to ask about security features. Whether you’re a professional cyclist or just a casual cruiser, your bike means a lot to you and you should be storing it at a facility that will keep it safe. A storage facility that takes security seriously will offer features like gated access, good lighting, surveillance cameras, on-site management and a fenced in property. Good locks are crucial too. Just as you’ve probably learned (hopefully not first hand) how easily a cable bike lock can be cut, it’s important that you know how easily padlocks can be cut. Make sure your unit is locked with a disc lock, as they’re basically the u-lock of the storage world.

Follow these steps, and your bike will be ready for you whenever it’s time to ride again!

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Funny Fridays: Self Storage for Vampires by Kelly Kamowski Fri, 07 Oct 2016 16:43:30 +0000 GuestBlogger thumb StoreLocalVampire 1 1024 Funny Fridays: Self Storage for Vampires by Kelly Kamowski

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Five Problems You’ll Have When You Move (And How to Solve Them) Wed, 05 Oct 2016 17:00:38 +0000 Krista Diamond The average person moves at least 10 times in a lifetime, so why aren’t we getting better at it? We’re willing to bet that it’s because moving is the worst, has always been the worst and always will be the worst. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if instead of trying to strap your mattress to the roof of your sedan you could focus on your awesome new place instead? Here are five problems you’ve definitely had moving in the past and how to solve them in the future:

1. You Don’t Have Any Moving Boxes

So you’ve run out of moving boxes (or you never had any to begin with) and now you’re shoving clothes into garbage bags or just grabbing piles of stuff and putting it all into your trunk. This method works in the sense that your belongings will get to your new place, however whether or not they get there in one piece is another story. Instead of leaving it to chance, go to a grocery store, liquor store or convenience store and ask for boxes. Because they’re just going to be recycling them anyway, they’ll give them to you for free. Another option is to search the free section of Craigslist. If you can’t find them for free, remember that you can buy them at a lot of storage facilities at prices that are much lower than major retailers.

2. You Have No Idea How to Move Your Cable/Wifi

Save yourself the 10,000 hours you’ll inevitably spend on hold with your cable provider’s tragically unhelpful customer service department and see if you can find their local office instead. That’s right; go there in person. The opportunity to actually deal with a real human who can tell you exactly what to do will simplify the process and more importantly save your sanity. Another option is to do it all on your online account and then look at YouTube tutorials that show exactly how to get your wifi up and running at your new apartment. Spoiler alert: It’s much easier than it sounds.

3. Your Furniture Won’t Fit in Your Car

Moving sure is a breeze when you own a truck, right? For the rest of us, moving the big stuff is a lot harder. First, disassemble anything that you can. If you’re struggling with a particular piece and you know who made it, contact them (or do a Google search) and get guidance. Second, hire a mover but only have them move the stuff that absolutely won’t fit in your car and plan on handling everything else yourself. Moving companies charge by the hour, so you’ll be surprised by how cheap it is to have them make just one trip, especially if you’re able to have everything outside and ready for them when they start the clock. If you’d prefer to avoid hiring a moving company, consider a portable storage unit. It gets delivered to you, you fill it up at your leisure and then it gets picked up and brought to your new place where you can unpack it on your own time.

4. None of Your Friends Want to Help You

If all the beer and pizza in the world won’t change their minds, it’s time to outsource the job. If you don’t need or want to pay for a moving truck, look to a moving company like Bellhops. Instead of hiring a crew and a truck, they let you hire just the crew, saving you about $180. If you’re planning on using self storage to help you move, consider looking for a facility that also rents moving trucks, as many will offer these up at no charge (or at least at a discounted rate) as a new tenant special.

5. Your Stuff Doesn’t Look Good in Your New Place

Your old apartment had hardwood floors and your new one has carpet, or the walls are a different color and your landlord won’t let you paint, or maybe there’s a fireplace where you were planning on putting your table. Don’t worry; you don’t have to throw out all of your old stuff and buy new stuff. Instead, change up less expensive accents like decorative pillows and throws to give furniture a fresh look. You can also consider temporary wallpaper that can easily be removed. Another option is to repurpose those pieces you own that don’t seem to quite fit with the layout of your new place. Nowhere to put that entertainment center in your living room? Move it to your bedroom and use it as a makeshift dresser. Can’t find a place for your bookshelf? Use it to display succulents on your patio. And if all else fails and you do have to get rid of some items, look for charities that will come to you and pick them up, or sell them online and use the profits to buy new stuff.

Happy moving!

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Preparing for Your Great American Road Trip Mon, 03 Oct 2016 17:00:05 +0000 Jon Fesmire Ever wanted to drive across the U.S. to see the sights and experience the sheer grandeur of this continent? Or do you just want to get away for a weekend or a week and head out on the open road?

Road trips are a long standing tradition, and everyone from new college graduates to families head out for some car travel now and then. These vacations can be a lot of fun and satisfy the need for adventure. However, you’ll want to be prepared before you go in order to avoid common pitfalls and to make sure everyone gets along. After all, you and your companions will be sitting in the close quarters of a vehicle for a long ride.

When heading out on an especially long road trip, you may have no permanent living arrangement for when you return home. If this is the case, make sure you have somewhere to stay temporarily when you get back, and also set aside enough money for a rental deposit.

While on your trip, you may also need a storage unit. A week or two before you head out should give you enough time to visit a nearby self storage facility, rent a unit, and put what you need in it for the short term. Storage facilities offer month-to-month rentals, so you’ll only need to rent a unit for as long as you need it.

Planning Ahead

With any large endeavor, it pays to plan ahead, especially when there may be high stress involved. As much as you probably love whomever you’re going with on your road trip, after long days of driving, people can get cranky.

You should make your initial plans well in advance, especially if you need to save money for the trip. It’s especially helpful to have a budget. Figure in accommodations, such as hotels and campgrounds, food, including dining out, events, souvenirs, gasoline, and have money set aside for emergencies.

Use a spreadsheet program, like Microsoft Excel, to keep track of your budget and spending. Also, think of ways you can save money. When you get snacks, remember that dollar stores often have brand names for less. Rather than eating at the hotel restaurant, bring food to your room. When making your plans, look for deals on event tickets. Want to go to a movie? See if the area you’re staying in has a budget theater. These are often great places to see movies that came out several months ago.

As for the logistics of traveling itself, start planning at least a week in advance. Who’s going on the trip? Is the car big enough? If there aren’t enough seats in the car for everyone, you may need to rent a vehicle for the duration of the trip.

How much room is in the trunk? Everyone should bring one suitcase and one travel bag or backpack.

There may be more to consider than you think, so here’s a helpful list.

  1. Make a list of occupants and figure each will bring one suitcase and one backpack. This will give you an idea of how many seats and how much space you’ll need.

  2. If your car will not accommodate the entire group, does someone else going on the trip have a car as well? You could make it a two-car trip, or rent one big vehicle. If you do the latter, make sure that everyone going gets listed on the car rental contract.

  3. Reserve your hotels and get your event tickets ahead of time! If you’re going to theme parks, concerts, and the like, it’s wise to get your tickets ahead of time.

  4. Get an accordion folder and designate one folder section per day. In each section, store your hotel booking information, tickets, and whatever paperwork you need for that day of your trip.

  5. Do you plan to go cycling on your trip? What about skiing? Consider saving space in your vehicle by renting what you need at your destination.

  6. Today, GPS is pretty reliable, but it can cut out for extended periods, and some areas may not have it. Get some good old road maps, just in case.

  7. Keep a first aid kit in each vehicle, just in case an accident happens.

  8. Vehicles need care, too! Hopefully you won’t need to use an automobile emergency kit, but have one, just in case. Any auto shop should be able to give you ideas of what you might need.

  9. Plan to stop every two hours or so to allow everyone to use the restroom and stretch. Get your body moving, get the blood flowing, and allow yourself a break from sitting.

  10. Whatever you do, do not drive tired! If you’re too tired to drive, stop for the night, even if it will change your plans, or ask a companion to drive.

Traveling in an RV

Traveling in an RV will be significantly different than traveling in a smaller vehicle.

An RV has much more space. You’ll need much of it for sleeping, but you may be able to bring more with you. You’ll stay at campgrounds rather than at hotels. Campgrounds tend to have more activities than hotels, and your RV trip will likely be more oriented toward enjoying the outdoors than a trip by car.

If you’re renting an RV, know that there are various sizes available, and the smaller ones are more fuel efficient. Stick to wider, less winding roads, and if you’re moving slower than traffic, stay in the right lane so others can pass.

Suitcases and Backpacks

What should you bring in your suitcases and backpacks? In your suitcase, you’ll bring your necessities. These include clothes, toiletries like soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and shampoo, plus jewelry, and medications.

Your backpack or travel bag is where you keep things to enjoy during the drive and when resting. This includes books, your smartphone and tablet, and any other small activities you can enjoy. I also suggest a charging stick to extend the battery life of your devices. Mp3 players are especially good for children and teens on a family trip, as they allow them to listen to their own music and not bother each other too much.

Everyone should have a travel journal. So many interesting things happen when traveling, it’s worth writing about what you did at the end of the day. Your journal entries can be as short or long as you like. The idea is to help you remember the places and stories from your journey.

Lastly, make sure to have some extra room in your suitcase. You’re bound to pick up some souvenirs on your trip and will need to put them somewhere.

Passenger Necessities

Two important things to have readily available are snacks, including drinks, and one or more garbage receptacles. If you have a van with a monitor so your kids can watch DVDs or Blu Ray videos, select some of their favorite movies to bring with you. Passengers might want sleeping masks and earplugs to make snoozing in the vehicle easier.

Road Rules

It’s a good idea to have a few rules of the road before you head out, even if it’s with other adult friends. For example, a good rule for a group of friends or a family is that everyone will dump their trash in a nearby garbage can at each stop. Another for friends or families is for people to organize their own things at each stop. This shouldn’t take any more than a minute or two.

With these ideas in mind, you’ll be ready to plan out your next great road trip. Without a doubt, you’ll come up with other ideas that will work for you and your group as you make your plans.

Now, get organized, and head out on your adventure!

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