By Logan Livers, Storage.com

There are many things that men and women serving in our nation’s military sacrifice during their service. Leaving family and friends behind while heading overseas is hard enough, but it can be equally as hard to part from prized possessions, such as a car or truck.

Trying to transport a personal vehicle overseas is often expensive and inconvenient. Not to mention, there’s no guarantee that the car or truck can be kept on base in another country. That’s why many military members choose to store their cars at a secure storage facility while they’re away.

On-Base Storage Is An Option, But Is It Worth It?

Kent Jensen, who writes for GuidetoMilitaryTravel.com, is an active duty service member in the U.S. Air Force who’s had to leave a vehicle behind on multiple deployments. With Jensen’s vehicle, he opted for storage provided by his military bases, which was free of charge. However, this free storage didn’t come without challenges.

“I’ve had batteries discharge and a tire go flat on separate occasions while gone during the winter, [which required] a jump or a tire change upon return,” Jensen explains. “It would have been nice to have a service that would have started my car every week and saw those issues developing instead of the secure but unmonitored free parking lot.”

Jensen mentions that another issue he encountered was that the free vehicle storage parking was usually packed. “There were a couple times where the long-term parking lots on base were full, and I had to scramble at the last minute to identify a usable parking lot that wouldn’t result in my car being towed,” says Jensen.

Though his car wasn’t of very high value and he wasn’t worried about weather damage or theft, Jensen says that valuable cars or trucks should be kept in a more closely monitored storage area that provides protection from the elements. In this case, a local storage facility near the base is a better option.

ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF MILITARY STORAGE

Why You Should Use Local Self Storage for Vehicle Storage

There are a lot of reasons why someone in the military would choose a local self storage facility to look after their vehicle, says Jessica Brunson, property manager at American Flag Storage in Fayetteville, N.C., which is located about two minutes away from the U.S. Army’s Fort Bragg. Of those reasons, flexibility and security seem to be the most important.

Most self storage facilities close to military bases offer month-to-month rental agreements because they know active military have varying storage needs. For those heading overseas, a deployment could be anywhere from nine months to a couple years, which means having the ability to rent storage for as little or as long as needed is helpful.

On top of this flexibility, active military don’t have to worry about needing to find a last-minute solution for their vehicles because of an overfilled parking lot. Once a reservation is made with a storage facility, the vehicle just has to be dropped off. It’s that easy.

But there’s also additional security with a self storage facility. “Some don’t feel comfortable storing on [base],” says Brunson, adding that vehicles are often left alone in a parking lot on base while service men and women are deployed. “We have a secure gate and on-site management so there’s constant monitoring, and we have a video surveillance system.”

Brunson believes that security is the best feature that a storage facility can offer when it comes to outdoor vehicle parking. “A lot [of military members] go to deployment for a year, and they like to call and say, ‘This is my parking number. Can you check on my car for me?'” she says. In fact, American Flag Storage makes it a point to check on the vehicles stored at their facility every day. “We look to ensure the car is fine and hasn’t been tampered with.”

While most vehicles stored at American Flag Storage are kept outside, there are a few military members who want another layer of protection for their vehicles—protection that only an indoor unit can provide.

With a 10×20 or 10×30 storage unit, a car or truck can be stored indoors at a storage facility. “Most of the time, it’s a nicer vehicle that they store indoors,” says Brunson. “We experience all seasons [in North Carolina], so for a nice vehicle or luxury vehicle, they do want to store indoors because the weather here is unpredictable.”

With the option to store your vehicle in a secure outdoor lot or in an indoor storage unit at a nearby storage facility, you can easily find a solution that matches your budget and puts your storage concerns at ease. If you’re heading overseas for some time, you should definitely take a look into local self storage instead of on-base storage. There’s more flexibility and security, and you can rest easy knowing that your vehicle will be in good shape when you return home from duty.