Moving to Spain

Moving up the road is trying. Moving across the country is stressful. Moving to a different country… well that can be a nightmare. Things will get forgotten if you don’t organise yourself and your time. It’s inevitable. So here’s a handy Make Sure guide to help you out:

Make sure you buy your tickets (you won’t get far without them) and make any necessary reservations. By all means shop around for the best price, but don’t wait until the last minute in the hope of getting a better deal.

Make sure to pay off all outstanding bills and loans before you leave the country, debt doesn’t just disappear. Same goes for money owed to friends.

Make sure to tell the tax authorities you’re leaving.

Make sure to cancel utilities in advance. Just not so far in advance that you spend six months without water.

Make sure to close any bank accounts you’re not going to use.

Make sure to check whether you need an international driving license.

Make sure to arrange travel and health insurance abroad for the whole family.

Are your pension contributions recognized in Spain? Oh you don’t know? Well make sure!

Make sure to cancel or redirect any subscriptions.

Make sure to redirect your mail.

You’ll probably need copies of up to date medical/dental checks so make sure you do!

If you’re living in rented accommodation make sure to tell your landlord you’re leaving. You might be contractually obligated to give several months notice, or he might get concerned if you suddenly disappear…

Professional Removal Companies

Unless you’re leaving everything behind (or are very strong) you’ll probably need a removal company for your move to Spain. Don’t rush into picking a removal company though – prices and services can vary greatly.

First things first: see how many belongings you have, and be realistic about what you need to take. Everything you move will cost you money – would it be cheaper just to replace it abroad? Once you’ve established that you will be requiring the help of a removal company ask around, get recommendations, make enquires and get quotes. Check what services the company will actually offer. Do they provide you with boxes? Or do they literally just load and unload your things? To be on the safe side make sure the removal company you go with is accredited by an industry association.

Prices are often calculated based on the type and size of the load, the distance that has to be covered and the amount of people the job will need. If you want an exact quote you’ll have to give the removal company as much detail as possible which means taking measurements and doing a thorough inventory. This might be time consuming and frustrating but remember it’s in your benefit too. Firstly, if you need to make an insurance claim you’ll be able to prove that the removal company was carrying the damaged/missing goods. And secondly, cataloguing your possessions makes it hard to ignore how much of your stuff is junk, it should inspire you to chuck useless items. You also have to make the removal company aware of any difficulties they might encounter on the job, such as numerous stairs, narrow roads or small doors. In return, make sure that they give you the maximum shipping time in writing.

Be aware that some companies offer a ‘groupage service’. This is where your possessions are allocated space in containers whenever there is any. This option is cheaper but it can take weeks or even months before your things get to their destination.


It’s always a good idea to insure your items, particularly if they’re valuable or fragile. Take date marked photographs encase you need to prove condition later. Most insurance companies will cover your things if the removal company packed them. The cost of the insurance is usually of 1% or 2% of the load’s total worth. DON’T insure your things with the same company responsible for transporting them, you might find it very difficult to make a successful claim.