Life without the ties of bricks and mortar or a mortgage often appears enticing, especially after a period such as we’ve just had, in lockdown.
In reality, it requires a lot of planning, and what kind of ‘on the road’ you plan to be. For example, ‘snowbirds’ temporarily move to better climates in the colder months. Some travellers may choose to live in boats, buses or vans while they tour. Backpackers want the adventure of experiencing other countries (or indeed their own) on the move, and usually also on a budget. And, sadly, none of these are as easy as just ‘hit the open road’.
Whether living on the road is a permanent or temporary arrangement, self-storage can open up options, moving from a large to small space without having to give up cherished items (think children’s first paintings or wedding presents) or seasonal goods (Hallowe’en paraphernalia, Christmas decorations.)
It can be a lot cheaper than you think. (easyStorage is around half the price of traditional self-storage.) But what should be stored and what needs to go ‘on the road’ with you?
The vagaries of weather mean that it’s always wise to have at least a couple of lightweight ‘hoodies, jackets, jumpers or sweatshirts with you, and a kagoule/lightweight waterproof of some sort, whatever weather you expect.
But for the most part, it makes sense to have the majority of your clothes suited for where you’re headed. There’s nothing stopping you changing over at a later stage to meet a different location or different season. By streamlining your wardrobe, you’ll have less to move around with you.
This doesn’t mean throwing out what you’re not taking. Store the clothes you love. The rest can be given away to friends, neighbours, families and charity shops. When you come back or swap wardrobes for a new season, you’ll have only clothes that you genuinely like and want.
As a handy hint when travelling, I always have a swimsuit in my hand luggage. Easy to wash and quick to dry, they make great spare underwear if you find yourself separated from your baggage or without proper washing facilities. If you’re on long haul flights, there are sometimes even places to swim at stopovers.
Discuss how you are going to manage prescriptions and health (and any injections needed to travel) with your NHS doctor or health insurance provider.
Post Brexit, rules regarding medicines have changed, and it is no longer permitted for someone to forward them for you by post.
Don’t store medications in a self-storage unit without good reason.
If you’re in the UK travelling, things are unlikely to change much.
Overseas, however, you’ll need to understand what is accepted locally in places you’re visiting. Whilst cards are great, if there’s no ATM and you need cash, you’ll find yourself with problems.
Cash isn’t easily replaceable, and a seemingly large amount can attract casual thieves.
It’s a balancing act that travellers learn with time. If you come across other travellers, they are usually very willing to share their advice and experience based on where you are.
It’s hard to think of many cases, unless you’re a coin collector, that you’d want to put cash into a self storage unit. However, you might want to store old paper statements, or cheque books safely whilst you are away.
Although most banks now encourage banking through an app on a phone, if you bank online, make sure you have any access gadgets with you,
This is all well and good until you can’t find a place for phone charging. Make sure you have adaptors for wherever you’re going, and chargers. Try to streamline whatever you are lugging around. The batteries on vehicles and boats run down too, so keeping power use to a minimum is not just good for the planet, it can be the difference between being stuck somewhere with nothing and making the best of your time there.
If more than one of you is travelling together, co-ordinate, but don’t scrimp on phone chargers. Many seem to develop loose connection at precisely the wrong moment.
Most self-storage units will allow electronics you don’t take to be stored, with limitations on certain types of batteries. Check with your provider.
Personally, I have had a very mobile lifestyle, even as a parent, and from the heart can say I wish I’d swallowed the cost of storage rather than start again, having given away, over the years, some fabulous, much loved furniture.
Don’t be tempted to sell or give everything away. You’ll end up starting with nothing twice and you can always sell later when and if your feet return to solid ground.
If you’re on the move, furniture is likely to either be a fixture or need to be bought to make the most of the small living spaces in vans, boats etc.
Having your own bed linen with you, by contrast, can prove a reassuring comfort. So research, take what you need and pop the rest into storage, selling off any pieces you don’t like.
If taking bedding with you, and have the space, plan for “one on, one off, and one in the wash”. Even barges with washing machines occasionally get into spots where they can’t be used.
If you’re backpacking, taking interior liners for sleeping bags will prove easier than taking duplicate sleeping bags, which are bulky, and even if they pack down to the size of a tin in a shop, sometimes out on the road tiredness, damp or simply Murphy’s Law make getting them back in almost impossible.
Personally I find it harder to live without music than to live without television, and travelling abroad often means that you’ll be places where you can neither access nor understand the TV.
Remember that TV will gobble batteries in vans or on boats.
Part of the adventure is to get used to living with less. Take your favourite ‘tunes’ digitised. Whilst you’ll doubtless add to your repertoire along the way, the joy and familiarity of favourite music can help make even tough times fun. And if you play guitar and can take it with you, fabulous. (Friends of mine have a piano on their barge. It eats space but provides hours of fun!)
Packs of cards are great, with endless possibilities for games, and they take very little space. On a boat or in a van ‘on the road’, board games are often easy to find space for.
For everything else, self storage is there to store things until you’re ready.
Depending on how you travel, and where to, you’ll need a first aid kit, but might also want spares/repairs for vehicles. And a shovel and warm blanket or two (doubles as a picnic blanket).
Baby wipes are your friend, and can usually be purchased on the move. (Some shower spots and toilet facilities can be a little hit and miss.)
Plastic bags are always useful for transporting, for dirty clothes or for garbage as well as being packing aids.
Hand sanitiser and masks have become essential accessories in the current environment.
We hope you’ll enjoy your time on the road, and are always here to help with any self-storage requirements. (You can get a free, no-obligation quote here, even if it’s simply to create a budget for your adventure: https://book.easystorage.com/
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Our storage packages have the added benefit of free removal of your items, saving you up to £1,000. All you need to do is pack your items (or we can pack for you, supplying boxes and packing material) and we’ll pick-up your items and store them in our safe and secure easyStorage facility. Then when you are ready, we’ll deliver them wherever you need us to. You just need to give us two working days’ notice. Perfect if you are moving house, running out of space, or just need somewhere to store your stuff.
Our storage plans provide you with a cost-effective alternative to renting your own lock-up storage space as we’ll only charge you for the storage space you need, making it cheaper for you.