Sooner or later, most grey nomads find they need to find a secure and affordable place to store their belongings or their vehicle.
Whether travellers have sold their house to live full-time on the road, or they’re renting out for a few months or a few years, they commonly need a place to store at least some of their worldly goods. Even nomads who have housesitters in their properties sometimes like to store particularly personal items in a more secure environment.
Along with the grey nomad lifestyle, the self-storage industry in Australia has exploded in popularity in recent years. For open-ended travellers, self-storage offers flexible terms so that they only pay for the time they are using the unit. They also have the only key to the unit, so no-one else has access to it.
Storage facilities should obviously be flood-free, waterproof, ventilated, rodent-secure and be sprayed to prevent insect infestation. Storage units may range in size from 1×1 metre lockers to 6×9 metre sheds.
As well as price, storage-seeking grey nomads should also have a good look at security arrangements. Many storage operations have CCTV cameras and coded keypad entry to the compound itself, as well as personal padlock protection for individual units.
Most storage companies will offer insurance as an extra cost, although some will include a small insurance cover as a part of the rental rates.
Travellers likely to be using a facility for an extended period should try to negotiate a long-term rate, perhaps a discount of 5%-25% or maybe a ‘pay-for-5-months-and- get-1-month-free’ type of deal.
Vehicle storage is another facility that is a Godsend to many grey nomads. Those wishing to take a break from the rigours of the road to fly overseas for a few weeks, or to fly back home for a family event, like to do so confident in the knowledge that their caravans or motorhomes are stored securely. Most operators offer everything from fully enclosed garage spaces to secure outdoor storage for vehicles.
Travellers who don’t have space for their ‘rig’ at their homes and who don’t travel year-round may also need to longer-term vehicle storage options.
There can be a significant variation in storage charges depending on what is being stored, where, and for how long. Unsurprisingly, storage in the capital cities tends to be more expensive than those in regional and rural areas. A survey conducted a year or two ago found that country storage rates were commonly 25% cheaper than their city-based equivalents
As the self-storage industry has grown, so too has the number of people seeking to provide the service. These range from the entrepreneurial farmer with a bit of spare land to nationwide chains. While prices can vary between chains and independents, so too can the level of service offered.
The Self Storage Association of Australasia says more than 85% of storage operators belong to the organisation. All its members use the industry standard storage agreements which ensure the storer and the storage business receives suitable legal protection.