No matter how excited you are about moving to Spain, there is very little that can distract you from the daunting process of packing up your whole life to move abroad.
In our article How To Calculate the Cost of Moving to Spain, we provided you with a free online calculator to work out your own personal costs when planning your relocation. In this article, we are going to show you how to save money by using removal companies who will make the packing process a lot less stressful.
This guide of tips compiled by award-winning removal comparison company, Compare My Move. They’ve put together a few hints and tips on what to leave behind, what to donate to charity and how to help the removal company.
Step 1 – Have a Clear Out
Moving to a new house in the UK is a great way to have a thorough clear out of the rubbish you’ve built up over the years – but when you’re moving the items that make up your life overseas, you become brutal with what you must get rid of. Packing up and moving to Spain is the perfect opportunity to go through everything you own from clothes, hats, shoes to books, kitchen appliances and cutlery and decide if you really need it.
Most of your stuff can go to charity shops, be sold on eBay/Gumtree or pass on to a friend or family. You could even have an American style ‘yard sale’ for your neighbours, friends and family to truly give your unwanted items to a good home. Alternatively, any unwanted toiletries, towels or shoes can be put to beneficial use in a local women’s shelter or a homeless organization.
‘Flamingos Vintage Kilo’ in Malaga is an opportunity for you to replace the clothes you donated or sold with the chance to grab some bargains as you’ll be charged per kilo, not per item. ‘La Señora Henderson’ in Valencia is another affordable vintage, second-hand clothing shop.
- TIP – Let the removal company know any additional services you wish to use such as packing services or dismantling/reassembling furniture and the number of items you’re taking, for an accurate quote.
Step 2 – Plan Your Move
It’s highly recommended to hire a removal company to help get your items to Spain quickly and safely. Most companies offer a packing and unpacking service designed to make your life easier.
After you’ve figured out what’s going to charity and what’s coming with you that’s when you can arrange your move to Spain. You can tell the removal company exactly what they can expect to be packing and unpacking. If you don’t choose a dismantling/reassembling service, make sure you dismantle all the furniture you plan on taking abroad.
We understand it can be awkward to take every item of furniture with you. It could be useful to keep some of it in storage, which is a service widely offered by removal companies. The idea could be that these items could be sent over to you in Spain once you’ve settled in, giving you a bit of time to put aside money for the second removal delivery.
If you’re worried about not taking enough furniture with you, then the money you make from donating and selling your unwanted items gives you the opportunity to buy second-hand furniture from charity shops or local upcycling businesses once you’ve moved to Spain.
Like Martha’s Homestore and Cow and Ghost Vintage, both independent shops selling upcycled furniture and vintage homewares in Wales, ‘Mercat del Encants’ in Barcelona offers you the chance to help furnish your new house with over 500 stalls to get stuck into.
- TIP – Don’t surprise the removal company on the day with an extra item you decided to pack, this will only delay the process, cost more money and most likely annoy them.
Step 3 – Hire a Removal Company
A removal company will do most of the hard work for you to ensure you have everything covered for your move to Spain, but you should know in advance if there’s anything they don’t cover.
International movers will pack your items professionally for a safe arrival in Spain, offering high quality and strong packing materials. Most companies also offer a dismantling/reassembling service for your furniture, saving you a lot of work.
However, when getting a quote for your move, it’s essential you check the optional add-ons the company provides. International Removals Insurance is a specialist type of insurance that will cover your belongings during transit when moving from one country to another. It’s vital you have this insurance as it covers any damages your items could face travelling via sea freight etc.
Questions to Ask –
- Communicate with the removal company on what exactly you can and can’t take, this will make packing easier for both you and the removal firm.
- If you’re planning on taking your pet with you, find out if the removal company will provide a service for this.
- Find out exactly what you’re paying for. Ask how much each additional service is and avoid any hidden fees.
Step 4 – Leave Behind
- Toaster, kettle, microwave, TV etc. Don’t take up space by packing kitchen appliances that could likely already be in your new house in Spain if it’s furnished.
- Furniture. You can sell most of your furniture and start fresh in Spain with new items.
- Consider putting items into storage such as wardrobe, bed, sofa, heavy and bulky furniture, photo albums/personal keepsakes.
- Books, DVDs, old birthday cards that you’ve kept over the years shouldn’t all be coming with you to Spain.
Step 5 – Don’t Forget to Pack
Important Documents – driving licence, birth certificate, marriage certificate, tax documents, payslips, details for your new home, a map of the area in Spain, passport, credit and debit cards, mixture of pounds and euros.
- TIP – These should all be kept together in one folder and in your hand luggage in case they get misplaced during the move.
Essentials – tablets or medication, sun cream, plug adapters until you sort out appliances and sunglasses.
- TIP – Don’t worry about packing toiletries like shower gel, shampoo or soap. These are all things that are widely available in most shops in Spain and will take up unnecessary room.
Travel Bag – deodorant, face and body wipes, toothbrush, tissues, pain killers, phone and laptop along with the chargers, and all the important documents stated above.
- TIP – It’s always a good idea to pack a travel bag separate from your items that are with the removal company to reassure yourself you know where they are if you need easy access.
Clothes – moving abroad is a good chance to donate a lot of your unworn clothes to charity.
- TIP – vacuum pack the clothes you wish to take to Spain so you’re not taking up too much space.
Furniture – if your personal belongings are moving via airfreight, your items need to be professionally packed.
- TIP – Don’t forget to dismantle furniture if you’re not opting for a dismantling/reassembling service
Get a Quote Now!
This guest post was written by Martha Lott. Martha is a content writer for UK house removal comparison website Compare My Move. Last year, Compare My Move helped more than 65,000 movers save time and money on their house removals costs.
I’d decided when was the best time to switch to bilingual education in Spain. Or so I thought …
I cannot believe that it is almost two years since I started writing this post. This is what happens when I want to write about something that is so important to me. That something is our children’s bilingual education in Spain.
March is decision time. In Spain, school enrollment starts in March for intake in September of that year (read more here).
Both our children have enjoyed Spanish state education in primary ( infantil) and junior (primaria). And I must say that we have been extremely happy with the education provided at CEIP San Sebastián in Mijas Pueblo. Francesca, in particular, has had a few inspiring teachers who have helped her grow and develop in a beautiful way ( Thank you Ruba, Marie Tere, Encarni and last but in no way least Carolina).
Our decision to switch to a private international school in secondary education (ESO) was made based, almost entirely, on language alone. Despite the fact that our children have always spoken English at home, they have only been educated in Spanish. Hence our decision to opt for a change to bilingual education in Spain.
In the year they turn twelve, in Spain, the children move from primary to secondary school. This often means a physical change of school and consequently a division of classes and school friends. An ideal time to make a change without to harsh an impact … or so we thought!
I am writing this post having just been to speak to the director at Joshua’s bilingual school. The meeting was to help me decide whether Francesca’s decision ( yep, you read that correctly!) was the best one.
Mis niños 🙂
Our strong-willed and determined little ten year old had decided, last summer, that starting her new school one year earlier than we had planned was the best idea. Not only did she have her reasoning clear in her head, but she also informed her best friend that that was what was going to happen.
You can imagine my surprise when her best friend’s mum asked me if it was true that Francesa would be changing schools before the end of the course. I am not saying I was disappointed. I was genuinely surprised and very impressed. My little shy girl is growing … in many beautiful ways.
Factors I considered when deciding if bilingual education in Spain was the best option for our children…
- Which subjects are taught in which language?
- Majority language in the school
- Other languages
(I will expand on these points in a later post.)
This Wednesday we are attending the initial interview and entrance tests at Josh’s school. I will report back and complete this post …
Questions I am often asked these days are:
- What is paddle tennis?
- How do you play it?
- Why do you love it so much?
If you follow our Instagram feed you will see why these questions arise …
In this article, I am going to answer these questions and welcome you to the wonderful world of padel.
WARNING: This sport can seriously change your life,
help you get in shape and make you lots of new friends.
What is paddle tennis (padel)?
Padel is a racket sport that combines the elements of tennis, squash and badminton. It is only played in doubles and is practiced outdoors as much as indoors.
The game was invented by Enrique Corcuera of Mexico, who created the first padel club in Marbella in 1974. The sport became very popular in Spain, which has been the professional circuit host of the World Padel Tour where it has been played since 2005. Over the course of the past 10 years, padel has begun to spread rapidly to the rest of Europe and the United States.
Padel is played by over 10 million players and has become the fastest growing sport in the world. #padel
How do you play paddle tennis (padel)?
About the padel court… (La pista de padel)
- Dimensions: 200m² (10x20m)
- A net divides the court into two sides
- Glass walls and netted steel fence surround the court
- The back of the court and the beginning of the sides are made of window glass surmounted by a steel fence (height: 4m)
- Access to the court is on each side of the net
- There are no doors
About the padel rules … (Las reglas)
The game starts with a serve which must be hit diagonally to the opponent on the other side of the net. The ball must bounce within the opponents serving “square”.
The serve is underhanded, with 2 attempts allowed
If the ball hits the net and bounces in the box, it is a let (as in tennis).
During the game:
The ball must bounce on the ground before touching any external walls. If the ball hits an external wall before first bouncing on the floor it is out.
A ball can be returned once it has hit the floor and/or any glass walls. However, it cannot bounce twice.
Volleys are also permitted.
Scoring is the same as tennis, except matches are usually made up of the best of 3 sets (male and female). Six games are needed to win a set and the pair who wins two sets wins the match.
Players will play a 7 points tie-breaker if the score reaches 6/6
About the padel racquet: (La pala)
A padel racquet is solid with no strings and is perforated. It is smaller and more compact than a tennis racquet which makes it very easy to handle.
It weighs between 340g and 370g, slightly heavier than a tennis racquet.
The racquet cannot be more than 45,5cm long, 26cm wide and 38mm thick.
The padel racquet is usually covered by plastic or carbon depending on the quality level. The inside of the racquet is made of ethylene-vinyl acetate which looks like a foam.
Padel balls are similar to tennis balls but have less pressure in order to adapt to the small size of the court but also to the game with the fence.
Why do we love paddle tennis (padel)? This is our story …
In April 2016, I (Lisa) was looking for a sport to enjoy with Joshua, our eldest child.
Joshua has played football in Spain for many years A new school year had begun, a move to secondary education, resulting in a change of school for him and consequent team changes and the inevitable departure of many of his friends. Joshua decided that football was no longer for him.
I must admit that I wasn’t disappointed. We have spent many a wonderful weekend supporting our local CD Mijas team on the pitch. However, as the children grow up and testosterone levels rise, so do conflict and often aggression on the pitch. And let’s not even start about the parents! Not the fun it used to be.
So, it was time for a change.
Reasons why we love paddle tennis (padel):
More time spent in the open air
Great for fitness and flexibility
A quick sport to learn
Age, fitness, strength are not essential requirements to enjoy the game
More time spent together playing sport
Great for integration and making friends
Padel courts are all over Spain
By complete chance, we came across a local padel club and signed up for lessons.
And that my friends was that.
The start of our love affair with this sport…
Eighteen months later and our lives have changed for the better. We have many new friends, mainly Spanish but also other nationalities. We play at least 3 or 4 times a week. That is a total of at least ten hours a week. Not bad hey!
As a work from home mum, (this is my business website) I could never have believed that I would ever find an activity that took up 10 to 15 hours per week of my time that was not work nor child related. It is totally “me” time. I love it.
I also love the fact that my teenage son wants to share a court with me. There are no barriers in this sport …. unless you create them yourself.
Francesca is also taking padel classes but this year she is focusing on her rhythmic gymnastics, as she starts competitions this year. That doesn’t stop us packing four padel racquets whenever we travel though!
So, what are you waiting for?
Do you have any questions about this sport? Have you tried it? Feel free to ask us anything! We’d love to hear from you …
Many people dream of buying in Spain – flights are generally economical and take a little more than two hours, the quality of life (and the wine!) is very good, plus property prices are very reasonable compared to much of the UK. But while some dream, others turn it into a reality. You may be surprised to find that a second home in sun-drenched Spain could be within your reach.
While living the UK has its high points, the weather and the warm beer aren’t among them. This could explain why there are more than 2.5 million online searches for property in Spain from British residents each and every month, according to Rightmove’s research. These property seekers are looking for a balance between affordable plane fares and short flight times so they can enjoy a long weekend away or a permanent move but be able to head back to the UK at short notice for work or to see family and friends.
The top destination for British property-seekers is – sunny Spain! The average price of property these bargain-hunting Brits are seeking is €156,940, which won’t get you much – if anything at all – in many parts of the UK. Rightmove has also found that the most popular locations for Brits seeking holiday homes abroad tend to be in the top holiday hotspots too. So which is the most popular destination? Alicante and the Costa Blanca resorts of course.
Alicante has the most of those 2,513,374 enquiries a month with people searching for an average price per property of €126,054. Mallorca is second with an average price search of €397,813 while Malaga comes in third where the average enquiry price is €191,830.
What’s so attractive about Alicante?
With about 320 days of sun each year and an average temperature of 29oC in August and 11o in January, it’s no wonder the Alicante region is so appealing. Plus many budget airlines such as Ryanair, EasyJet, Monarch and Norwegian fly into Alicante airport, which is the fifth busiest airport in Spain, so it’s easy to get to.
Alicante province includes the attractive Costa Blanca resorts with hundreds of kilometres of sandy beaches to soak up the sun or try watersports. This is a fabulous area for sports such as:
- cycling along the same routes you’ve seen in the Vuelta de España
- sailing in the same waters as the Volvo Ocean Race round-the-world yacht teams
- playing tennis on the same courts as David Ferrer
- playing golf on competition courses
- or simply sampling yoga on the beach; horse-riding in the mountains; paragliding; rock climbing; stand-up paddle and so much more.
It’s a paradise for food lovers too. You can visit the markets to buy the finest selection of fresh shellfish and fish, such as the special Denia red prawn, or head to the restaurants to sample some of the many rice dishes including paella and arroz a banda (rice cooked in fish stock).
With vast beaches, super theme parks, great nightlife, glorious mountains, traditional little Spanish villages and bustling cities, there are so many reasons to buy property in Alicante.
What’s magnificent about Malaga?
Malaga is Spain’s fourth busiest airport since it serves the city and the entire Costa del Sol resorts. It’s another favourite with budget airlines so you can enjoy an affordable flight to your chosen destination. The Costa del Sol is a long favourite with British expats and holidaymakers who can choose from the `fun in the sun’ resort of Fuengirola to the chic Marbella resorts and everything in between.
With endless sunny days, an average temperature of 26oC in August and a lovely 12oC in January, it’s no wonder that so many people head to the Costa del Sol throughout the year. As well as topping up the tan, people love the region for its countless golf courses to test all handicaps as well as amazing water sports facilities, particularly around Marbella and the swanky Puerto Banus.
Many people are also fascinated to learn there are impressive ski resorts in the region. It takes about 90 minutes to drive to the Sierra Nevada for skiing or snowboarding. It seems incredible that you could be skiing in the snow in the morning and then one hour later be having lunch on the beach – but it’s absolutely true!
Food lovers can sample fresh fish or shellfood straight from the sea; or try the cold gazpacho or salmorejo soups to beat the summer heat; migas made with bread, garlic and olive oil; or rabo de toro (oxtail). Simply delicious!
With its selection of beach resorts, mountains, white villages, historic cities, culture and friendly welcome, it’s no wonder so many people are looking for property in Malaga and its surrounding district.
Your next move?
If you are looking for property in Malaga or Alicante, please take a look at the Move to Malaga website for further information. Our contact details are there so you can get in touch to let us help you make your move to Spain.
Tell me how you can help me save time and money on my purchase …
What is the Cost of Living in Barcelona?
We continue with our series of How To Calculate The Cost Of Living in Spain For You and Your Family! Today, we consider Barcelona …
Barcelona is an incredible city with an amazing vibe, which explains why so many people want to live in the Catalan capital. In the latest of our Cost of Living in Spain series, we will be taking a look at Barcelona. This will compare Barcelona with other major European cities as well as look at how much it costs to buy or rent property, everyday living expenses and other financial outgoings to help you decide whether moving to Barcelona is right for you.
Barcelona has long been a top destination for artists but the city is also making a name for itself in the world of entrepreneurs. According to EU startups, Barcelona is the fifth top innovation hub in Europe, beating Madrid which is sixth.
Be warned though, Barcelona is a tourist destination all year which makes it expensive for buying or renting property as well as going out in the city centre. If you want to be in the thick of things and you have a big budget, this won’t be a problem. Otherwise, you may want to look at the suburbs such as Nou Barris, Horta-Guinardo or Sarria-Sant Gervasi, all north of Barcelona and in easy commuting distance of the city centre.
Even though Barcelona is more expensive than other major Spanish cities, it is still much cheaper than London. Figures from numbeo.com show consumer prices are 26.65% lower in Barcelona, rent prices are 61.52% lower and restaurant prices are 35% lower. The average monthly salary is lower too though. The average London wage after tax is €2,553 while it is just €1,407 in Barcelona.
Shopping in Barcelona
Everyday grocery shopping is certainly affordable as Barcelona has a good selection of supermarkets, including Lidl and Aldi, and markets. You can get a loaf of bread for about €0.80, 1kg of rice for €0.68, 12 eggs for €1.20, 1kg of chicken breasts from €4.50, a bottle of decent wine from €3.00 (you can buy cheaper but a half-decent Rioja is €3-plus) and a 0.5l bottle of beer from €0.70. You can also pick up fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fresh fish from the daily markets. It’s best to avoid La Boqueria on the Rambla, as it’s rammed with tourists but Santa Caterina or the Mercat de la Concepcio are good alternatives.
For fashion, you can find everything from designer clothes to market-stall bargains. For high-end fashion head to Passeig de Gracia for Cartier, Emporio Armani and Jimmy Choo among others while 40kms from Barcelona is La Roca Village, which is a Chic Outlet Shopping village with discounts of up to 60% on the recommended retail price. Even clothes you can buy in the UK can be cheaper in Spain. For example a pair of Zara jeans are £29.95 in the UK but €29.95 in Barcelona (about £4 cheaper).
Obviously it can be more expensive to eat in the tourist areas and around La Rambla but you can still get a three course lunch-time set menu (menu del dia) for about €10 even in the tourist hotspots. A decent mid-range three-course meal for two will set you back about €30-€50. Half a lager will be around €2.50 at a bar (at least) and a glass of wine about €2.50 too.
Buying or renting property in Barcelona
Compared to much of northern Europe, property rents seem low in Barcelona. However, the tourist hotspots will be expensive. The city also recorded the highest increases in rents in Spain with a rise of 66% in five years to 2017 while other tourist destinations such as Mallorca rose 40% and Madrid was up 20%.
It is possible to rent a small studio by Barceloneta beach for €500 a month but a decent three-bedroom apartment in central Barcelona, such as near La Rambla, will be closer to €1,500 a month.
The average price of a property is €189,973 but one-bedroom flats in central Barcelona are selling for €260,000 with the best properties in top locations changing hands for millions.
On top of the rental price or mortgage, your average monthly bills for electricity, water, garbage collection and internet will add another €155 a month at least to your outgoings. Based on a two to three-bed apartment, costs will be:
- Electricity – €100
- Water – €20
- Internet – €35
Getting out and about in Barcelona
Public transport is the best way to get around in Barcelona as driving can be hectic and parking difficult to find.
You can get a range of tickets at low prices:
- Single metro or bus ticket is €2.15
- Single metro journey between the airport and the rest of the metro network for one zone is €4.50
- Special ticket for the football bus is €3
- A T-10 travel card for 10 bus and metro journeys in one zone is €9.95
- A T-50/30 card allowing 50 trips over 30 days in one zone is €42.50
- A T-Mes monthly travel card allowing unlimited journeys in one zone is €52.75
When you consider parking costs from €2-€3 an hour, then public transport is the cheaper option, particularly when you add the cost of petrol which is €1.279 for unleaded 95.
International schools in Barcelona
As you would expect from Spain’s second largest city, there is a good range of international schools in the city centre. Tuition fees can be from €10,000 per year for nursery children up to €20,500 a year for sixth form students plus additional fees for uniforms, travel, lunches and matriculation. Some of the best known international schools in Barcelona are:
- The Benjamin Franklin International School following the American curriculum.
- St George’s British School teaching a wide range of subjects from the British curriculum and, in addition, Spanish language, humanities and Catalan.
- Kensington School following the English curriculum
- Princess Margaret school, recognised by the International Baccalaureate Organisation to implement its programme,
- The American School of Barcelona teaching the American system and the IP diploma programme
- St Paul’s School offering the Spanish curriculum
- St Peter’s School which has a broad curriculum following the Spanish system but taught in English
(tables from https://www.numbeo.com)