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Support for British expats on the Costa del Sol

If you’re a Brit living on the Costa del Sol, you need to know where to look for the right support, help and advice to make your move a success. Here are our recommendations on organisations and businesses there to help you.

  1. The British Embassy – We have just got a new British Ambassador to Spain, with Hugh Elliot taking up his post in Madrid this month and meeting with the Spanish King to present his credentials. Hugh and his team are available to help British expats in Spain and they have been working hard to offer information and advice ahead of Brexit on the 31st of October. They have an excellent web page which is regularly updated with official advice and practical steps on what you should do regarding Brexit and other aspects of living in Spain. Visit the Living in Spain Guide or join the Brits in Spain community on Facebook.

 

  1. Town Hall Foreign Residents Departments – Every Town Hall along the Costa del Sol has an “extranjeros” department, who are dedicated to helping foreign residents with the official aspects of their life in Spain. They can offer practical assistance with items such as getting your NIE number and registering for schools and usually have multilingual staff who can speak your language and make the settling in process a lot easier.

 

  1. Networking and Business Organisations – The official voice of British businesses in Spain is the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain. They are very active in the big cities and have a group operating on the Costa del Sol as well, with regular networking and training events in Marbella and Malaga. This is just one of many excellent networking and business groups operating on the Costa del Sol, which provide a highly valuable support network and fellow professionals that you can look to for advice and collaborations to grow your fledgling business. CADE in Marbella is another place to look if you’re setting up a business on the Costa del Sol. It is a centre for entrepreneurship and is set up for international business people and can give practical help and support with everything from registering your business to sourcing investment and partnering with other businesses.

 

  1. Citizens Advice Bureau Spain – This charity has been set up to provide independent advice, information and support for anyone living in Spain. They have an excellent website and social media pages with lots of useful information for expats.

 

  1. HomeRentalontheWeb – We are here to help Brits moving over to Spain to find their perfect long-term rental and also to put everything in place to start their life here as they mean to go on. Our experienced team have lived and worked in the area for many years and we’ve all been through what you’re going through. This experience, our language skills, contacts and of course our excellent portfolio of long-term rentals on the Costa del Sol makes us perfectly placed to support you before you arrive and as you get established.

For more helpful information read our guide to living in Spain and our overview of education and healthcare on the Costa del Sol, or contact us.

How to enjoy August on the Costa del Sol

August is here and with it come the crowds and the heat, but also an amazing atmosphere and loads of fantastic events and things to do.

Those living on the Costa del Sol full time are in two camps about August –

  1. One group thinks they are super lucky to be able to be in a holiday destination at peak time without the expense
  2. The other group just wants the people to leave and the weather to cool down so they can get back to normal.

Which camp are you in?

At HomeRentalontheWeb we love living on the Costa del Sol and feel really lucky to live in this beautiful place. Although it can be tricky to park in August, we love the atmosphere, the ferias and welcoming people to our stunning stretch of coastline.

Here are a few tips for enjoying your summer and minimising the disruption too.

Make the most of the summer fun

  • The key to making the most of the summer here is to be plugged in to the grapevine so you know what’s going on, where and when, so you can enjoy all the great free activities. Follow your local Town Hall on social media, and look out for posters and flyers in your town or village. There are always great things being organised all along the coast, from free concerts and performances, to free kids’ activities and family days, so make sure you look out for them.
  • Try to work shorter days so you can head to the beach or hang out at the pool and pretend you’re on holiday.
  • Look out for special offers for residents, such as at the water park Aquamijas where adults can save 8€ per ticket, or see if there are specific days of the week or times where it is either free or pay what you can for attractions such as museums and galleries.

Leave extra travel time or think of alternatives

There’s no getting away from the fact that the traffic is heavier this time of year, so either leave extra time so you don’t stress, use the toll roads or even try a moped so you can weave through the jams and park almost anywhere!

Handling the heat

Some of us suffer in the hottest months of the year, but there are some tricks to keeping your long term rental and yourself cool.

The most important thing is to keep your blinds down during the day to stop the sun heating up the property during the day, then when the sun is no longer shining into the rooms open all the doors and windows and catch the breeze without costing you money on air con. Get yourself a fan and make sure you have cool water with you at all times. Enjoy a cooling dip in the pool or the sea when it gets too much! For more tips on keeping cool, check out our list of ways to survive the summer heat and let us know if you have any tips or tricks too.

Find out more about renting long term with HomeRentalontheWeb by reading the frequently asked questions about long term rentals on our website, or contact us and let us help you choose the right option for you.

Things to do on the Costa del Sol this summer

Even if you’re living here and renting long term, you can still make the most of the amazing tourist activities and events taking place at this time of year. It’s one of the many benefits of living here! Take some time off work, or make the most of the summer holidays with the kids or grandkids and go to places you’ve never been before!

Here are our recommendations for making sure you don’t miss out on a thing –

Enjoy the amazing events

There’s so much going on over the summer and as a local you can join in the fun all summer long. Don’t miss the local ferias in your village and town and head to Malaga for the biggest feria of them all to see how it’s done! Check out the concerts at Starlite and Puente Romano in Marbella and Marenostrum Festival Fuengirola. To find out more about what’s going on, read our guide to summer concerts and festivals on the Costa del Sol on our sister site HolidayRentalontheWeb.

Make the most of our amazing beaches

The easiest, and we think one of the nicest things, about living on the Costa del Sol is being able to soak up the sun on the beach. Of course they are busier over the summer months, but the atmosphere is great and there are often special things like inflatable play parks in the sea and events on the beach. Thankfully, experts are predicting fewer jellyfish this year, so we will be able to make the most of our stunning coastline. Check out our tips for enjoying the beaches to the maximum.

Take a day trip

When you live here it’s easy to stop exploring, as daily life gets in the way, but there’s so much to see. We challenge you to go somewhere you’ve never been before and experience the incredible diversity that we have on the Costa del Sol.

Head along the coast to Nerja, a beautiful area famous for its coves, crystal clear water, buzzing Old Town and incredible caves. During the summer, there’s a programme of concerts in the caves themselves, as part of the annual Nerja Caves Music and Dance Festival and this is an amazing experience.

Another idea is to explore inland and enjoy the beautiful countryside and history of Antequera. This area contains ancient dolmens ruins and the extraordinary El Torcal National Park. In the summer, they hold special events such as stargazing in the park, sunset tours of the dolmens and tours of the old town, as part of the Luz de la Luna festival.

Whatever you plan to do this summer, enjoy the many benefits of renting long term on the Costa del Sol and feel smug that you’re paying so much less for your accommodation than the holiday makers! If you discover any new areas and are thinking about moving, we can advise you on long-term rental options which are available after the summer, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Long-term rentals for International students moving to the Costa del Sol

After graduating from high school, many students decide to broaden their horizons by moving to another country to continue their education. This offers opportunities to become more independent, learn new languages and explore another country and culture. Spain is very popular for international students and because of its cosmopolitan culture and global brand, the Costa del Sol and Marbella in particular are very appealing.

However, it is daunting for a student moving abroad for the first time and there’s a lot to sort out before you arrive. Fortunately, in this era of modern technology, you can learn many things about your new place of residence far in advance of moving there.

The first and most important step, once you’ve been accepted into university, is to find a convenient place to live. Some universities and colleges will advise you on where to live, others will leave you to your own devices. A long-term rental apartment or villa is a good choice, as it is affordable and offers a comfortable base where you can settle and make yourself at home before your course begins.

Here is our advice on things to think about before choosing a long-term rental:

  • Do you want to share an apartment with a roommate and get a bigger one, or do you feel more comfortable living alone in a studio?
  • How far away is it from your university? Is there a shuttle or public transport options to get you there and back home easily and quickly? If you have a car, would you spend a lot on fuel?
  • Where is the closest shop or supermarket? This is particularly important if you don’t have a car.
  • Is there a good community around you?
  • Does the community feel secure and does it have the facilities you want to make the most of your time in Spain?
  • Is it located within walking distance of the beach? This is important if you want to enjoy the long hot summers here by popping to the beach after class.
  • Does the apartment have AC and heating? Due to the structure of most houses in Spain they are more suitable for the summer, and in winter it gets cold inside the apartment, so heating is important.

Once you have considered these points and decided where you want to be, please get in touch with the experts here at HomeRentalontheWeb. We can send you a list of long-term rental properties in your chosen area and also advise you on other places that you may not have considered. Our team of rental experts have all lived and worked here on the Costa del Sol for many years and know the area like the back of their hands. We can inform you about the best places to go out and enjoy your free time, as well as the best places to shop and eat and how your choice of long-term rental needs to fit with all your lifestyle needs, as well as your university. Please call us if you have any questions, or check out the information on living in Spain and renting long-term on our website.

It’s important to do your research and learn as much as you can about where you’re moving before you arrive. This makes you feel more comfortable ahead of the move and also allows you to make informed decisions about where you’ll live, how much money you’ll need to live etc. A great way to get to know the surroundings and the atmosphere of the place you are moving to is by contacting locals, or expats from your own country, who live there. Nowadays there are plenty of ways to do that; for example, you can search for different forums, like this one https://www.costadelsolforum.com/ where you can ask any questions you may have obtain useful information regarding moving to the Costa del Sol, or renting a place. Another good source of information and opportunity to ask questions are Facebook groups. There are groups for different nationalities, and others for specific areas and people are very helpful. Just search for your area and nationality and you will find plenty of options.  

 If you are concerned about whether you will “fit in” – there is nothing to worry about. Andalusians are famous for welcoming you and making you feel right at home (regardless of language barriers). Also, the percentage of expats living in the Costa Del Sol is extremely high, so no matter where you come from, there is a high chance of meeting someone from your homeland who speaks your language.

Best of luck with making the move over to the Costa del Sol for the new term in September. Please contact us if you need help finding a long-term rental and securing it before the summer starts in earnest.

Protect yourself from the sun

This month the British Association of Dermatologists are working hard to raise awareness of skin cancer and how to look after your skin in the sun. We’ve been inspired by Sun Awareness Week and the hot and sunny weather to share some tips on how to protect yourself from the sun. Many thanks to the British Association of Dermatologists for all the useful information – find out more here

Sun damage explained

A tan is actually a sign that the skin has been damaged and is trying to protect itself. We need to protect ourselves against UVA and UVB radiation from the sun, by using good quality sunscreen and limiting our sun exposure. You should use a minimum of SPF 30, plus sunscreen with high protection against UVA radiation, apply generously and reapply when required. 

Sun burn significantly increases your risk of developing skin cancer and also prematurely ages the skin. Those most at risk of developing skin cancer are people with pale skin who are prone to burning, those who have suffered severe sunburn, those with a high number of moles and a family history of melanoma.

How to protect against sun damage

It’s easy to protect yourself against sun damage and reduce your risk of skin cancer, but many of us living in Spain seek out the sun and stay in it for much too long.

Protect yourself with clothing such as light shirts or trousers, wear a hat and use sunglasses with high UV protection.

Seek out shade, particularly between 11am and 3pm.

Use a high protection SPF sunscreen which also blocks UVA rays, put it on 15 minutes before going into the sun and apply every 2 hours.

Signs of skin cancer

You should check yourself regularly to make sure skin cancer is caught early. Look out for –

  • Scabs or sores that won’t heal
  • Scaly or crusty patch of skin which is red or inflamed
  • Flesh coloured lump that won’t go away
  • A lump on the skin which is getting bigger and could be scabby
  • A growth with a pearly rim surrounding a central crater

Those of us who have relocated to the Costa del Sol and are renting long term, have often moved here for the sunshine and tend to spend more time in the sun. This can make you more at risk of skin cancer. If you spot any of these signs, or changes in moles or your skin in general, go and see your doctor as soon as possible. The sooner it is diagnosed the easier it is to treat.

Find out more about the sun awareness campaign and download leaflets and guides on the British Association of Dermatologists website. 

Support for expat parents on the Costa del Sol

If you are a parent, thinking about moving to the Costa del Sol, a big factor will be your kids and their education. The Costa del Sol is a total paradise for families, offering an excellent lifestyle for everyone and lots of opportunities for kids of all ages. Check out our 5 reasons to live on the Costa del Sol to see why we love it so much!

However, if you don’t speak the language, some things can be a little daunting and Mums in particular can stress a lot about getting it right for their kids. So in this post, we wanted to share a few excellent sources of advice and support for expat parents before and after your move. Don’t worry, you are not alone!

International and Bilingual Schools on the Costa del Sol

The easiest option is to enrol your children in one of the many, excellent international schools on the Costa del Sol. Many of these teach in English, following either the UK curriculum of the International Baccalaureate. There are also schools which teach in German, Swedish and French and follow their curriculum, so you’re likely to find a good option for you. These schools offer parents lots of advice and support on moving over, know how to cater for international students and of course speak your language, so it’s very easy to fit straight in and get started.

Alternatively, there are a number of bilingual schools, such as Colegio Atalaya and San Jose in Estepona, which give kids a strong base in Spanish, but teach a lot of classes in English. There has been a move to increase bilingual schools in the state system as well, so research the areas well, to make sure that you have access to these specialist schools, if you want to be able to communicate well with the teachers and make it easier for kids to settle in.

Spanish Public Schools

If you want your kids to be totally bilingual, then immersion in a Spanish school is a great way to do it. Younger children find it easiest to make this move, but we’ve seen even older ones cope very well with good preparation before they arrive and some extra tutoring. Some schools are more set up to handle expat parents than others, so ask around and see if there is a more internationally minded school near to where you want to be.

Kids are amazing with learning a new language and will get to grips with everything quickly. In fact, it tends to be the parents that struggle more in the Spanish state system. This is being recognised, which is why we were so pleased to see that the Estepona Town Hall has introduced a network of volunteer interpreters in schools to help parents. These interpreters speak 10 different languages, and are available to communicate better with teachers and school staff. This is a pioneering scheme, which only launched last year, but hopefully if it is a success, more towns with large numbers of international parents will follow suit and give expat parents a helping hand.

Online support

On the Costa del Sol there is a great network of expat parents who help each other out. Take a look on Facebook for groups such as Costa Mums & Little Ones, Marbella Mums and Dads and Schools Noticeboard. These are really excellent resources where you can post your questions, learn about events and avoid mistakes by reading about other people’s experiences.

We hope this has been helpful for you and allayed some of your fears. You can read more information about education in Spain on our website and also read our tips for moving children to the Costa del Sol.

To get you and your family settled, you can count on us to find a perfect long term rental property for you all. Let us know if you want a pool, or garden, how old your children are, how many bedrooms you need and if you have any preferred areas and we can send you a list of properties that would fit the bill. Alternatively, you can browse long term rental properties on our website.

Best of luck with the move!

Relocating to the Costa del Sol in 2019

Relocating to the Costa del Sol in 2019

If your New Year’s resolution was to leave behind the cold and rain in the UK, Ireland, Germany or Scandinavia and start a better life in Spain, we can help you make it happen.

If Brexit is holding you back, we’ve been receiving reassurances from both Spain, Gibraltar and the UK that expats living in Spain will be protected. In October, Spain’s minister for Foreign Affairs visited Málaga and reassured British people resident in Spain that the Brexit process will not affect us at all. The Chief Minister of Gibraltar is prepared to make a deal with Spain if there’s a no-deal to ensure that those working in Gibraltar but living in Spain will not face any issues. The recommendations are to make sure you are properly registered and follow all the legal processes correctly, to ensure that your rights are fully protected and that you won’t face any issues after March. Here is some information on relocating to Spain and what you will need to do to register and start off your wonderful new life the right way.

The first step in making your dream a reality is to think about job options and how you’ll earn enough to have a great life here in Spain. As an English speaker, Gibraltar offers a lot of great employment opportunities, with competitive salaries and no concerns with language. There are also many expat companies looking for English speaking employees, or freelancers, so while it’s beneficial to speak Spanish and a good level of language will increase your opportunities, it is not essential. Many people come to Spain to set up their own business, whether it be a bar, restaurant, B&B, or company which provides services for foreign residents. If you’re dreaming of working for yourself, you’ll be pleased to hear that there have been improvements to the system to make it easier and cheaper to become self-employed. Many people also come to the Costa del Sol as digital nomads, continuing their job remotely and flying  back occasionally for meetings and this is another excellent option. Read our article on the Benefits of living abroad and how to make it happen for more information.

Once you’ve decided what you’re going to do for a job, the next step is to find a place to live! Renting long term is the most sensible choice when you first arrive. It is significantly cheaper than renting a holiday let or staying in a hotel, and gives you the real experience of living in the Costa del Sol. There’s much less commitment than buying, so you can try a few different long term rental properties in different areas before you take the plunge and buy.  

We are Costa del Sol long term rental specialists and have been helping people relocate to this stunning area for more than a decade. We can support you with choosing the right area, as well as the right property, guide you through the process of signing contracts and ensuring safeguards are in place to protect your tenant’s rights. Our Helpline means you can ring our office and report any problems with the property to us. We can then talk to the landlord and get the issue resolved on your behalf.

Using HomeRentalontheWeb reduces the stress of renting long term, as well as giving you access to lots of fantastic long term rental properties. Read our tenants FAQs to answer your questions, or get in touch with us to discuss your long term rental needs. You can also browse a selection of our properties online by clicking on your preferred area on the map.

Best of luck with the move – we’re here to help!

A guide to December on the Costa del Sol

A guide to December on the Costa del Sol

With the switching on of the Christmas lights in towns and villages along the Costa del Sol on the 30th of November, Christmas has definitely arrived and there’s loads to see and do this month. As Costa del Sol long-term rental specialists, we love the winter here and are delighted to see so many great things happening outside the summer period. To help you to make the most of this great time of year, here are seven of our highlights.

  1. Go to a Christmas Market – There are loads of lovely Christmas markets to go to where you can buy gifts, support local businesses and get in the Christmas spirit, here’s a nice rundown of Christmas markets to look forward to
  2. See a show or listen to a concert – There are some great new shows popping up along the coast. Posidonia in Puerto Banus are launching a dinner show this month, with music, dance and entertainment, which you can see on the 15th and 22nd of December, as well as part of a New Year’s Eve special. There are also some nice concerts by choirs and bands which will get you in the mood for Christmas.
  3. Visit Santa – Santa should now be installed in his grotto in the main squares of the towns along the Costa del Sol and visiting him is an essential for any of you with families. He is also making an appearance at a lot of the Christmas markets and can be found at the La Cañada shopping centre too.
  4. Learn a new skill – There are some nice workshops on how to make Christmas decorations, and Christmas cooking classes, which are a really nice way to learn something new and get prepared for Christmas. Food Room in San Pedro is offering a number of Christmas cooking classes for kids and adults this month that look a lot of fun.
  5. Go to Malaga to see the lights – There is an annual exodus to see the amazing lights in Calle Larios and their daily light and music show. This is an essential component of a Costa del Sol Christmas.
  6. Tour the Nativity Scenes – The Spanish love a good nativity scene and there are 8 in Marbella alone. A nice Christmas activity is to follow the route and tour these scenes and see if you can find the pooing boy!
  7. Join a Christmas Party – All the social and business organizations on the coast have Christmas parties and these are a great way to make friends and useful contacts for the year to come.

We hope that whatever you do this month that you have a wonderful time and enjoy the Christmas period here on the Costa del Sol.

If you’re looking for a change of scene in 2019, we have an excellent selection of long-term rental properties with availability for next year, so please contact us for more information.

What kind of expat are you?

What kind of expat are you

Many people dream of living in a hot and sunny climate, but few people actually make it happen. We find it takes a certain type of person to start a new life under sunnier skies. Ideally, you should love adventure, change and making new friends. You should be flexible, dynamic and prepared to try new things, learn a new language, be positive, resourceful and always ready for a challenge. If you fit this profile, you should be able to survive the challenges of expat life and really thrive, creating a great new life for you and your family.

As expats ourselves, who have all lived and worked on the Costa del Sol for many years, we were interested to see the results of the Expat Insider survey, which identified 6 types of expats. The most common across all their expat hotspots was the “Go-Getter”, someone who found a job or started a business and pursued their career in the new country. 

Following swiftly behind is what they call The Optimizer – those people who move for a better quality of life. I would say that most people moving to the Costa del Sol would fit into this category, although then they might become a “go-getter” to ensure they can stay for the long term. The quality of life that you can experience here, no matter your age is really a huge benefit. We see all kinds of people move over here, from youngsters looking for adventure and working in the bars and clubs in Marbella and Puerto Banus, young families wanting a wonderful place to bring up their children and help them become bilingual, to retirees wanting to live well for less, stay active and enjoy the sun. There’s something on the Costa del Sol for everyone, including “The Explorer”, someone who is looking for an adventure and a challenge.

The category which 10% of the respondents identified with is “The Foreign Assignee”, where they get sent abroad by their company. You may not think this applies much to the holiday area of the Costa del Sol, but you’d be wrong. This is most common for international companies based in Gibraltar. Most people working in Gibraltar actually live on the Western Costa del Sol, or Cadiz province, as rents are much lower and the quality of life is much better. We find most of our long-term rental clients who work in Gibraltar choose Manilva and Sotogrande to live and then commute from there. 

Last but not least, are two categories which are quite similar in their motivation – The Romantic (12%) where people join their partner back in their home country, and the Travelling Spouse (8%) where the family follows the main bread-winner and sets up a new life abroad. The Costa del Sol is very well set up for these movers, with excellent international education options, where kids can study UK, German, French or Swedish curriculums, or even do the IB to keep their options open, while enjoying an amazing quality of life. Find out more about education on the Costa del Sol  

Whatever profile you fit into, there’s something for you here on the Costa del Sol. There’s also a well developed long-term rental market which can give you a comfortable, affordable, yet flexible base to start your new adventure. Compared to a holiday rental or hotel, they offer you excellent value for money and a home-from-home where you can settle, explore the area and decide what’s best for you in the long term. Many expats will try a few long-term rentals in different areas before they make a decision to buy, to keep their options open while they settle into jobs and the kids settle into schools. This flexibility combined with value, makes renting long-term the perfect solution for all 6 types of expats and we can advise you on the best location and property to suit your individual needs. Contact us and let us help you find your perfect base for expat life on the Costa del Sol.    

Spain recognised for amazing quality of life

Spain recognised for amazing quality of life

 

Spain was ranked in third place out of 68 destinations for its exceptional quality of life in the Expat Insider 2018 survey.  This survey was completed by over 18,000 expats living abroad and offers great insights into the merits of different countries for expat living.

The Quality of Life Index ranked countries based on leisure, health and well-being, safety and security, personal happiness, travel and transportation and digital life. Spain did well in all these aspects, doing particularly well in the aspects of peacefulness (90%) and personal safety (93%). It achieved the top position for leisure options (93%) and climate and weather (96%).

We’re proud to see Spain scoring so highly, but not surprised, as the amazing lifestyle here is one of the biggest reasons we moved here and have chosen to stay and make it our home. “Lifestyle” is a hard thing to define, as it includes so many things, such as weather, culture, activities, food and attitude, but for us the Costa del Sol really has it all and this survey shows we’re not alone.

When we find our clients a quality long-term rental, it’s so exciting to offer them access to this enviable way of life. It’s clear that many of our clients have been dreaming of a life in the sun for so long and that making the commitment to rent long-term, is the first step to making that a reality.

Many of our properties have facilities which are emblematic of the Costa del Sol lifestyle – a pool, tennis courts, terraces and lush tropical gardens. Showing these properties to expats who are fresh off the plane from colder climates is a real pleasure. It’s even better when expats see how much they can get for their money here. The affordable living costs is one important aspect of life on the Costa del Sol, which makes the quality of life even better. You can have a lovely time very cheaply here if you know where to look. When the sun is out, everything is a pleasure and a stroll on the beach is free! Eat and drink where the Spanish do for the best bargains. There are still many places where you can buy a coffee or a small beer for a Euro and a 3-course lunch menu for under 10€ – amazing really, in such a cosmopolitan area.  

For more on why we think the Costa del Sol offers expats an amazing place to call home, read our 5 reasons to live on the Costa del Sol. If you’d like us to help you make the dream of being an expat in Spain a reality, please get in touch. As well as a range of quality long term rental properties on the Costa del Sol, we are happy to share our insider knowledge about what to do and where to go to start to feel at home right away and to make the move as easy as possible. Get in touch today and take the first step to living here and enjoying the third best lifestyle in the whole world!