If you’re studying abroad or just leaving town for some R&R at home, you’re going to need self-storage to house the belongings you don’t have room for in your suitcase. In preparation for your summer plans, we’ve made a list of the top five things to look for in a facility for student self-storage.

1. Promotional prices. Summer is a competitive season for self-storage facilities, and many will be offering short-term promotions to attract students like you. Shop online for storage unit prices and discounts, and don’t forget to check the social networks for coupons and contests.

2. Pre-paid contracts. Your self-storage tenure may be short-lived, but you have better things to do this summer than worry about monthly rent payments. Some facilities offer contracts that can be paid in full at the beginning of the summer,  so your only responsibility is to sign out when you leave. That said, if you opt for the insurance provided by the facility, be sure to read and understand the terms surrounding it. There’s nothing worse than to assume your valuables are covered when the fine print says otherwise, and there’s little you can do once you’ve signed off on a pre-paid lease.

3. Transparent policies. A good facility has employees and policies that can be held accountable. Check with multiple facilities to ensure their pricing info and lease terms are consistent, and that the manager has a close enough familiarity with company policies to be able to explain them to you clearly. A facility that doesn’t publicly post its rates doesn’t necessarily have something to hide, but it’s always good to know exactly where you stand when you trust your belongings to a storage facility.

4. A decent website. Many facilities offer a range of services through their website, from reserving a unit to bill payment. A good website is invaluable if your travel plans won’t allow you to be in direct contact with your storage facility in case of an emergency. Plus, a website with a useful array of photos, pricing info, and other services will help you make a better decision.

5. Customer service. In the storage world, there is nothing more important than a manager who cares for and understands a tenant’s needs. A manager must be reliable, knowledgeable, and will patiently work with you if complications arise. That said, you also have a responsibility as a tenant to understand the rental process and ask questions when you’re confused. While you’re entrusting your stuff to the facility, the facility needs to be able to trust you to hold up your end of the rental agreement.

If you’re packing away an entire dorm room before galavanting across the globe for the summer, other features to keep an eye out for include on-site moving trucks and packing supplies like boxes and tape. Some facilities provide their own truck for free with your move-in, while others have deals with U-Haul or other moving companies. Plan your move before beginning your storage search, so you know exactly what to look for when exploring the options. The more prepared you are beforehand, the sooner you can stop worrying about your stuff and focus on the important things, like how much sunblock to pack and how many nude beaches you can visit before sundown.



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