Friday, September 7

A Guide to Using Self-Storage Whilst Traveling the Globe

You're going to be hitting the road for a few weeks, a few months or even a few years. Maybe it's too long a time to fall back on friends or family, or no one you know has space or you just don't feel like burdening anyone with all your stuff. Here's where a self-storage facility will come in handy, keeping your possessions safe while you're out roaming the world.

Choosing a Self-Storage Company

The first step will be choosing a self-storage company. Personal recommendations are best; if anyone you know has done something similar, talk to them and find out what their experiences were. Here are some things you should keep in mind when you're looking at different companies:

• How much does it cost? Is it easy to pay? Most companies, for example, will set up direct debits. You'll want something automatic so you won't need to worry about payment when you're out traveling.

• What's the security like? Are you satisfied with the level of security offered?

• Do you need a climate-controlled storage area?

• Do you want to use mobile storage, in which a container is brought to you, or will you take your things to the facility yourself?

• Is the company easy to communicate with? You may want to be reassured about the safety of all your worldly possessions from time to time.

• Is insurance available? What happens in the worst case scenario: your things are stolen or destroyed?

You'll find the answers to the above questions vary a lot from company to company, and only you can weigh the importance of the different factors. If cost is the difference between a three-month trip and a six-month trip, for example, you'll probably rate that factor higher than if you have money to spare and valuable possessions that need careful storage conditions.

Once you've narrowed down your options, pay a visit to all the self-storage companies you're considering. Don't hesitate to ask plenty of questions, examine the facilities and get a feel for the company and its employees.

Preparing Your Belongings for Self-Storage

Now it's time to pack your stuff. Give yourself enough time to sort your belongings thoroughly. This is a good time to get rid of a lot of your possessions. You'll pay less for a smaller unit.

When you've decided what you're going to keep, consider how you want your items stored. Research the best way to store items like books, clothing or whatever else you're keeping. The storage company itself may have tips. Avoid just slinging your possessions into random cardboard boxes. Get proper moving supplies. Pack your belongings carefully so they'll be in good shape when you return. Label your boxes. Your research on the best way to store items should include finding out what kinds of items should be stacked on top of others. When moving day comes, load your mobile storage unit, or drive your belongings to the storage facility. Based on the research you've done, pack your belongings efficiently and safely.

On the Road

Be sure to leave the storage company with one or two emergency backup contacts in case you can't be reached. These should be reliable people you can trust to pay your bill if the methods you've set up fail or who are able to deal with any other problems that might arise with the storage unit you've rented.

Keep in mind, though, that such scenarios are highly unlikely. If you took your time and made a good choice of storage company, you should have peace of mind on the road regarding the possessions you left behind. The whole point in taking off to travel the globe is to get yourself in a different head space, and that means not fretting too much about what might be happening back at home. Your belongings are safe, and they'll be there for you when you return again someday; having made a good self-storage selection based on the criteria that's most important to you, you're free to focus on your once-in-a-lifetime trip with your mind set at ease.

About our author: Lucy James is a full-time freelance writer representing