By Stephanie Hyland, Storage.com

College is as full of new adventures as your car is on the day you move in to your dorm. Storage.com can help you tackle your college career with helpful tips or by providing you a safe storage solution for summer breaks.

When preparing to study abroad, you have a lot of decisions to make. Where will you study? What will you study? What will happen to the belongings you leave behind? While we can’t answer the first two questions since those are up to you, we can certainly give you some advice on where to keep your things.

A self storage unit can be the answer for college students looking for a secure location to store personal belongings while they’re studying abroad. By keeping items in a storage unit, students don’t have to feel guilty about cluttering a parent or guardian’s home with boxes, nor will they have to worry about leaving a personal vehicle unattended for a long period of time.

How Self Storage Can Help During International Study

When preparing to study abroad, organization is key. With the amount of paperwork, research, and travel plans that need to be completed before you leave for foreign study, not having to worry about the items you’re leaving behind will help limit stressful situations.

Lindsey Fox, President of Passport Study Abroad, an organization that offers emergency passport services at a discount to students and teachers, says that preparing for international study can be an overwhelming process. Fox says she’s seen students rent a storage unit before they travel to not only make the transition easier when they get home but to also save money.

“[Renting a storage unit] is a much cheaper option than paying rent for an apartment they aren’t even living in while they’re away,” says Fox. “Everything is there for them when they return back to the United States and can begin the next academic semester comfortably after having to adjust from being away for so long. It’s also important to have their belongings safe and intact while they’re abroad.”

“A self storage unit would allow a student to pack up their dorm room and keep it all securely in one place so their belongings are waiting for them when they return from their adventure abroad.” -Linsay Evans, content copywriter for CEA Study Abroad

Linsay Evans, a content copywriter for CEA Study Abroad, which provides quality study abroad programs to thousands of international students in 12 countries, agrees with Fox that self storage can help students.

“A self storage unit would allow a student to pack up their dorm room and keep it all securely in one place so their belongings are waiting for them when they return from their adventure abroad,” says Evans. “Remaining organized throughout the process really helps reduce stress and enhance the experience.”

Fox adds that a storage unit really comes in handy for students who attend a university that’s not close to any family or friends who would consider housing their belongings while they’re gone.

“A majority of the time, students attend universities that aren’t within a quick driving distance from their homes and live-in dorms,” says Fox. “It can be a hassle to keep transferring their furniture and other belongings back and forth.”

ADDITIONAL SELF STORAGE PERKS
FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

Reserve Your Self Storage Unit Sooner Rather Than Later

Fox says that if you know that you want to study abroad, the sooner you can start preparing for your trip, the smoother the process will be. By reserving a mini storage unit a few days or weeks before you leave for your international study, you won’t run the risk of not being able to find an available unit that fits your travel timeline or preferred location and budget.

“When a student chooses to study abroad, there’s a lot of preparation that must go into planning the semester,” says Fox. “In order to have everything go over as smoothly as possible, our suggestion would be to start preparing to study abroad at the very beginning of the semester prior to leaving. Let’s say you were studying abroad in the spring semester. The best time to start getting all of the appropriate registration and travel plans in order would be the first couple of weeks of the fall semester.”

“In order to have everything go over as smoothly as possible, our suggestion would be to start preparing to study abroad at the very beginning of the semester prior to leaving.” -Lindsey Fox, President of Passport Study Abroad

Mark Allec, Vice President of Operations at Dollar Self Storage, says he sees a lot of students from the University of Arizona renting 5×5 or 5×10 units at their location in Tucson, Ariz. “It keeps the costs down from shipping belongings from one place to another.”

What to Look For When Renting a Self Storage Unit

Allec says students should make sure that the storage facility location they choose is safe and clean. He says it’s also important to find out if a manager is on the premises all day or lives on site. By reserving a unit at a facility that has a manager at the facility 24 hours, it adds an additional layer of protection and can offer peace of mind to those using the facility.

“[An on-site manager] offers extra security while you’re away or out of the country,” Allec says. “The mere presence of a management team living onsite deters criminal activity in most cases.”

“[Being able to pay online] or set up an auto-payment is important so they don’t run into issues while they’re out of the country.” -Linsay Evans, content copywriter for CEA Study Abroad

Besides finding a facility that offers a variety of unit sizes, Evans says it’s wise to consider what type of payment options the facility offers. She encourages students to look for facilities that offer automatic or online payment options so they don’t have to worry about payments while they’re away. “[Being able to pay online] or set up an auto-payment is important so they don’t run into issues while they’re out of the country.”

Storing a Vehicle While You’re Out of the Country

Besides storing dorm furniture, boxes, and other belongings, a vehicle is another item that needs special attention before students leave for foreign study programs.

If you plan to store a vehicle outdoors (instead of indoors or in covered parking) at a facility, Allec suggests storing personal belongings separate. “Rent a unit for valuables and a separate [space] for the car. [By leaving items inside the vehicle], it’s a target for theft when people can see items through the car windows.”

“Rent a unit for valuables and a separate [space] for the car. [By leaving items inside the vehicle], it’s a target for theft when people can see items through the car windows.” -Mark Allec, Vice President of Operations at Dollar Self Storage

Also, if your vehicle will be in storage over the winter, be sure to properly winterize your car before leaving it in storage, especially if you’ll be gone for several months.

If you want to protect belongings with self storage while you study abroad, there are plenty of storage facilities that can help! Some of them may even offer student discounts!