Studying abroad allows college students to pursue their education in a foreign country. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that can open new doors and expand your understanding of the world, but what are you supposed to do with all of your belongings back home? Students studying abroad typically go for one semester and then return to college to finish their studies and graduate. So, where will you store your items if you decide to take this adventure? To help you better understand the logistics of this decision, here’s what you need to know about storage solutions while studying abroad.
Benefits of Using a Self-Storage Unit When Studying Abroad
Student housing is a convenient part of higher education, but it’s usually reserved for individuals taking classes on campus. If you’re going to be gone for an entire semester, chances are the school will ask you to vacate your room during that time. This can save you rent, but it also creates a dilemma—where will all your stuff go? Self-storage provides an easy solution that students may want to consider. Some of the benefits self-storage units offer include the following:
- Creates a Backup Plan — although many study abroad programs are only for six months, you never know what will happen. Flexible leasing options at self-storage facilities give you a backup plan that maximizes your mobility, so you don’t have to turn down any amazing opportunities that come your way. Just make sure you discuss leasing options with your facility ahead of time and look to see whether they offer an online account for easy management.
- Eliminates Rent for a Dorm Room — while many campuses may offer some type of student storage during the summer, you likely won’t be able to keep your things on campus free of charge. Additionally, unless you’re paying rent for an apartment or a dorm room, you’ll probably need to vacate your belongings at the start of a new semester to make room for someone else. Self-storage can help reduce your overhead cost, as you won’t need to pay for a room you aren’t living in.
- Provides Security and Peace of Mind — self-storage units are a great way to safeguard your things and make sure your belongings are safe while you’re away. This can give you peace of mind to fully enjoy your time abroad.
- Simplifies Your Transition Back — upon your return to the United States, your storage unit will have all your stuff neatly organized and waiting. This can make the transition much easier, as you won’t need to sort through excess clutter before school starts.
- Reduces Strain on Friends and Family — going to college means you finally move out of your parent’s house, so do you really want to take a step back and move your stuff home again? A self-storage unit is a suitable storage option that helps reduce strain on any nearby friends and family.
How to Store Your Belongings in Self-Storage
Renting a storage unit is a great option for students who don’t have family nearby or space in their parent’s home. As you get ready for one of the most exciting experiences of your life in a new country, take the time to prioritize packing and organization. To get started, follow these easy steps.
Declutter and Organize
The first step will be the hardest, but it can reduce the hassle of moving things back and forth. Go through your things and try to get rid of anything you don’t use or no longer need. You can donate old school supplies or textbooks or try making a few extra dollars selling them online. The less you have, the easier everything else becomes.
Start Packing for Your Semester Abroad
Next, create a list of what you’ll need to bring abroad. Avoid bringing things you won’t need, as they’ll only take up valuable space. Overpacking is not worth the hassle and cost of hauling things halfway across the world and back. Typically, students don’t bring more than a few bags, so be intentional with your packing list. Some key things to include are:
- Underwear and socks
- Everyday tops
- Pants or shorts
- Sweater or sweatshirt
- Workout clothes
- A few nicer outfits
- Coat or jacket (depending on the season and country)
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Dress shoes
- Flip flops
- Prescription medications (for the duration of the trip)
- Glasses or contact lenses (for the duration of the trip)
- Any preferred makeup or toiletries
- Padlock for traveling
- Quick-dry towel
- Ear plugs
- Travel Journal
Remember, if you’re going to Europe, you’ll have access to plenty of places to purchase toiletries, makeup, skincare, and even new clothes. Pack your favorites or the essentials and have fun exploring European products when you need to re-up your supply. Bringing six months’ worth of your favorite shampoo will only take up space. You should also pack a carry-on with important documents. This will keep your belongings safe if anything happens with your checked bag. In your carry-on, some essentials include:
- Passport and visa
- Driver’s license or photo ID
- Plane tickets
- Insurance cards
- Debit/credit cards
- Camera (if you want to bring one)
- Emergency outfit (in case of delays)
- A few travel-size toiletries
- Reusable water bottle
Pack Personal Belongings in Boxes
Things you can’t bring with you need to be put into storage containers or boxes. Make sure you wrap any fragile items to keep them safe and secure and try to pack similar things together. For example, create one or two boxes for your bathroom necessities, a box for your kitchen or cooking things, etc. You should also load heavier items into boxes first, then top them with lighter things. Knowing your belongings are packed in a logistical manner can make things easier to find once you return home.
Research Self-Storage Sizes
When you start putting things into boxes, you’ll get a better idea of what size storage unit you’ll need to get. Choosing the right size can help you save money and avoid paying for space you don’t need, but it’s important to get something big enough that accommodates everything comfortably. If you have furniture, you’ll want to rent a unit that allows for storage without excessive stacking. You can find more about choosing the right size here. You can also visit nearby storage units and ask questions to help you find the best option for your needs.
Find a Storage Facility Near You
Once you understand your storage needs, it’s time to research self-storage facilities near your school in the US. This way, you’ll be able to store items in a convenient location so you can begin the next academic semester without having to worry about moving long distances. Look for cost-effective options that provide peace of mind so you won’t have to worry about the safety of your items while you’re gone. Secure storage options can help make embarking on your journey less stressful. Reserving a unit can often be done online, but if you want to visit the facility to see it first, that’s okay, too.
Move Into Your Storage Unit
Finally, it’s time to move your things into your new storage unit. The most important storage advice is to avoid cramming everything into your unit without a plan. Put larger, heavier items or appliances first, and avoid stacking boxes too tall. This will reduce the risk that things topple over while you’re gone. Learn more about how to organize your storage unit here.
Traveling abroad is an exciting opportunity that can open new doors and introduce you to new cultures, but that doesn’t mean you should take all your possessions. To give you peace of mind when exploring new places, utilize the self-storage solutions at The Lock Up Self Storage. We offer flexible leasing options alongside various sizing options to fit everyone’s budget and needs. All our units are temperature-controlled and climate-controlled to keep your things in the best condition possible, regardless of how long you’re away. To give you even more peace of mind, all our locations have top-of-the-line security features, such as controlled gate access, motion-sensor lighting, 24-hour camera monitoring, and perimeter alarms. To find a self-storage unit while studying abroad this summer, contact one of the representatives at The Lock Up Self Storage. Give us a call at 1-866-327-LOCK or browse available units online today.