Jun 17, 2014

Posted by in Tips | Comments Off on Expat Checklist: Essentials For Living The Good Life In Spain

Expat Checklist: Essentials For Living The Good Life In Spain

Expat Checklist: Essentials For Living The Good Life In Spain

If you’re all set for a new life in Spain, well done you…you’re in for a treat! I chose the coastal city of Valencia, principally because it’s sun-kissed and offers a modest cost of living compared to the more popular expat stop-offs of Madrid and Barcelona.

Valencia is Spain’s third largest city, but does not have the rigours of everyday life usually associated with large cities. As a matter of fact, Valencia is incredibly relaxing. If there’s one thing the locals know here, it’s how to enjoy the simple things and live a calm, healthy and happy life. However, if you don’t know the in-and-outs of living in Spain, it can be stressful, so here are a few tips to make sure you have a smooth move.

Getting there

There are several low-cost airways jetting to Valencia from the UK. RyanAir profess to be the cheapest, and whilst it’s true they offer the best prices they have hidden charges that bump up the price. Sports and musical equipment cost extra and every kilo over 20kg in your hold luggage is an additional £10. Also, if you don’t check in your hold luggage before flying – a £25 charge online – you have to pay £60 at the airport!


The usual essential such as high-factor sunscreen and high-quality eyewear like my Tom Ford sunglasses are a given, but there are other essentials you may not realize. Mosquito repellent for example. Oh yes, sorry, they have the little blighters here, but that shouldn’t really surprise you considering the south coast of England get them these days too. You may want to bring a twin-pin adaptor socket, but they are cheaper in Spain – unlike clothes which are surprisingly less expensive in the UK, so you may want to pack a few extra garments.

A phone plan

If you expect to have a mobile over here, it’s best to come prepared. Mobile contracts are more expensive in Spain so you might want to consider other options like an unlocked phone so you can buy a local pay-as-you-go SIM card.

At least a little Spanish

There aren’t a great deal of English-speakers in Valencia and if you don’t know any Spanish you could experience some difficulties, especially buying transport tickets and in the post office. The locals are also friendlier and warm if you at least try to speak Spanish. Furthermore the natives are itching to learn English as the education system lets them down, so it helps you and them if you can at least converse in “Spanglish”.

Legal requirements

Spanish tax laws are complicated for expats. If you spend more than 183 days in Spain during any calendar year (1 January to 31 December), you become a tax resident – whether you have formal residency or not. This means you become liable for Spanish income tax after six months in Spain. You also need to apply for residency as an EU citizen staying in Spain if you are in the country for three months. It’s worth getting legal advice from an accountant or tax advisor with detailed and up-to-date knowledge on UK and Spanish tax law.

Living in Spain does give you a better quality of life than in the UK, but it is not without its complications if you are not prepared.




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