Are you planning on spending a year abroad before entering the world of employment? Gap years can be great for self-discovery, to explore new cultures or to work out what you want to do once you’re back in ‘real life’. After studying hard for so long, it’s natural to want to celebrate your success by taking time for yourself.

Travelling can be a great way to do this!

At Smart Storage, we’re having a look at how you can plan the perfect gap year, from staying safe to storing your belongings – after all, you want to get the most out of the year and make the most of the amazing opportunities that are sure to come your way.

Long-Term Storage for Your Belongings

First of all, once you decide that you really do want to have this one-year adventure, you’ll need to figure out how to store your stuff safely. The last thing you want is to worry about the safety of your dresser or your TV; having to stress about things like “what if someone steals my stuff?” is no fun at all.

But what can you do about it? Cheekily asking your parents to store everything you accumulated from your time living at Uni may not be the best solution. They may not have the space – or the inclination – to keep your BMX or your huge collection of books at their house, especially if they need to get rid of their things to make room for yours!

But don’t worry. Here at Smart Storage, we have been helping out students in your position for a long time, so we know exactly what to do.

Our friendly stores offer many unit sizes, so we can store pretty much anything. Need storage for bulky winter clothes that you don’t know where to put? Check. Run out of space to keep your ever-growing collection of Pop Vinyls? Check. Or maybe you need somewhere to keep that brand-new sofa you don’t want to get rid of? Check.

No matter what you need to store, we’ve got you covered! We’ve even got all the boxes and packaging you need to move your stuff into our units. Enjoy your gap year without having to stress about a thing, as our secure units have 24/7 CCTV as well as round-the-clock alarm systems. Begin the new chapter in your life with confidence and peace of mind.

Talk to us and we’ll get you student storage in Preston, student storage in Liverpool, student storage in the Wirral, student storage in Widnes student storage in Warrington or student storage in Altrincham.

smart storage - moving boxes in

Where Do You Want to Go?

Choose your adventure next. If you’re having trouble narrowing down the list of countries to decide which will be your home for a year, consider what you’re looking to achieve from this experience. Do you want to be involved in a charity organisation? Would you like to learn more about yourself? Do you want to explore nature? Do you simply want to see as much as you can of the country?

Once you’ve decided what you want to achieve in your gap year, you will find it easier to pick the right country too. A backpacking experience through Asia will be very different from being involved in a local school-building project in an African country or from camping out in the Canadian wilderness, for example.

Packing Well is Important

Now that storage is settled and your belongings are safe, and you know where you’re going, you’ll want to move on to packing. It’s not as simple as throwing a bunch of clothes into a bag and heading off without a care in the world. On the contrary, packing properly will save you a world of hassle in the long run. First of all, you shouldn’t leave it until the last minute. A lot of people do because they’re used to going on holiday for a week or two, at most, and may not consider that a gap year is, well, a year-long…

Packing for twelve months is a completely different matter and needs your time and attention – organisation is key, so start by making a list of everything you’ll need. The clothes you take will depend on the country you’re travelling to, so keep that in mind. You don’t want to end up lugging a cumbersome puffy coat around if you’re going to Thailand or Bali. So, plan your wardrobe around your trip.

Don’t overpack either. Bringing ten shirts may seem like a smart idea when you’re packing but it will only slow you down and take up space. Do you really need five of everything? Do you absolutely have to bring multiple electronics with you as well? This will depend on what you want to get out of the experience – if you want to take loads of pictures or start a travel blog, then you may have to take your camera or laptop with you.

Don’t forget, leave enough space to bring something back from your travels as well.

Preparation travel luggage

Staying Safe

Knowing what to expect before you go will help you stay safe. Get to know the country’s rules, legislation and understand the country’s cultural expectations most importantly, consider the healthcare system abroad. Not all countries have a similar system to our NHS, so it’s crucial that you get travel insurance which covers everything, from health to theft of valuables and the type of activities you plan to enjoy. Make sure to get all of your vaccinations in order before you go as well.

Learn a Bit of the Language

Becoming fluent in another language is easier when you’re immersed in it, so you don’t need to study in-depth before you go. Learn the basics, such as ‘hello’, ‘thank you’, ‘how are you?’ and ‘how much does this cost?’ You can pick up a lot as you go, so try to plunge head-first into the culture of the country you’re visiting, be it trying out the food to visiting more remote places where people may not speak as much English.

Of course, try to speak as much of the language as you can instead of relying on English; you may feel embarrassed at first, but we promise you that no one will be laughing. On the contrary, people will see your efforts and appreciate them – and they may even help you as well!


Whilst you explore a new country and get to learn more about its culture, you can be confident that your belongings are safe with Smart Storage. Don’t let your stuff stand in your way – talk to us today to see how we can help.