Moving to Spain isn’t always plain sailing! It’s not surprising as when moving abroad, not everything is going to go smoothly. There are many mistakes people make when moving to Spain, some big and some small, and most expats will have made a few during their relocation.
If you’re currently planning a move to Spain, it might be a good idea to have a read of this post so that you can try to avoid these common mistakes. And if you’ve already relocated, maybe it will make you feel better to know that a lot of people make similar mistakes…
Not researching the paperwork
If you think that you can just pack up and move to Spain without worrying about paperwork and bureaucracy, then you definitely haven’t done enough research! Anyone foreigners moving to Spain will need to sort an NIE number, open a Spanish bank account, organise healthcare, and apply for residency. Post-Brexit anyone from the UK will also need to look into visas and work permits. Make sure you take the time to do your research way in advance so you can get all your paperwork and documentation in order.
Not making the effort to learn Spanish
You might think that you’ll soon learn Spanish once you live in Spain, and so don’t make a proper effort to learn the language before your move. Unfortunately, this isn’t likely to happen! You will need a fairly decent level of Spanish from day one in order to book appointments, open bank accounts, buy a car, talk to electricians or plumbers, and so much more. Start learning Spanish as soon as you start thinking of moving, so you can easily have these kind of conversations when you arrive.
Being in permanent ‘holiday mode’
It’s hard not to be in holiday mode when you’re living in the sun, surrounded by palm trees, but living like this for too long will make your move to Spain more difficult. Living like you’re on holiday will soon drain your finances if you spend lots of time in bars, eating out, or visiting tourist attractions. You might find it hard to intergrate with the local community, and you’re physical health may suffer if you’re drinking and eating as much as you would on a two week holiday.
Sticking with other expats
Moving to another country is scary, and making friends with fellow expats can often make you feel more ‘at home’. However, only sticking with other Brits is one of the most common mistakes people make when moving to Spain. You’ll miss out on integrating with the local community, making Spanish friends, and learning about your new home country. After all, what’s the point in moving to Spain if you are just going to feel like you’re in the UK but with sun?
Not saving enough money before you move
Any move is very costly, an none more so than a move abroad. You will need a lot of savings if you’re planning on buying a property in Spain, as there are a lot of taxes involved. If you’re going to be searching for a job in Spain, it may take longer than planned which could eat away at your savings. For those moving to Spain after Brexit, you’ll also need to prove that you have enough money to support your family when you apply for permanent residency.
Thinking all of Spain is the same
You’ve visited one part of Spain on holiday in the past, so you know what to expect right? Wrong! If you’re moving to a part of Spain you’ve never visited before, don’t make the mistake of thinking it will be the same as a region you’ve been to before. The climate, terrain, cultures and traditions, and even the language varies massively across the country. You could end up in the North and be very surprised at how cold it gets in the winter, or you could end up in the countryside where you’re only neighbours are farmers who speak in a dialect you can hardly understand! Make sure you do plenty of research on the different regions before making a decision on where to move to.
Not adapting to a slower pace of life
To say people are laid back in Spain is an understatement! The Spanish will be late for appointments without thinking anything of it. Businesses will often close in the middle of the day, and for the whole of the summer in some cases. There is absolutely no urgency when it comes to customer service, and no body rushes around. It can be really nice to have a more relaxed lifestyle after the busyness of the UK, but if you don’t embrace it you can end up getting very stressed out by it!
Don’t let these things scare you though, if you’re well prepared you shouldn’t make too many mistakes! If you’ve already made the move, do any of these common mistakes people make when moving to Spain sound familiar?
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