If you’re considering a move to Spain, a scouting trip is an invaluable step in your adventure. This trip isn’t just any vacation; it’s a practical exploration designed to immerse you in the Spanish way of life. As you contemplate swapping your lifestyle for Spain’s vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and rich history, a scouting trip allows you to experience firsthand what your new life could look like. Explore neighborhoods and speak to professionals and Expats who have made a move.
This trip is about more than sightseeing—it’s about making an informed decision on whether the Spanish way of life aligns with your aspirations and needs. Join us in transforming the daunting task of international relocation into an exciting and informed journey to your new home in Spain.
What Should You Include in Your Spain Scouting Trip?
You need to plan to cover eleven areas to make the most of your journey and give yourself the best tools to make your decision.
- Housing and Real Estate Market: Explore various neighborhoods in Spanish cities or towns you’re considering. Look into the housing market, including rental or purchase prices, particularly in popular Expat areas like Costa del Sol, Barcelona, or Madrid or smaller towns that appeal to you.
- Visa and Residency Requirements for Spain: Get precise information on the different types of visas and residency permits available for moving to Spain, including the non-lucrative visa, golden visa, or work permits.
- Healthcare System in Spain: Familiarize yourself with Spain’s healthcare system. Investigate public healthcare options and private insurance plans and visit local clinics and hospitals to gauge healthcare quality.
- Financial Planning and Tax Implications: Understand the cost of living in different Spanish regions and plan your finances accordingly. Research tax obligations for Expats in Spain, including income tax, wealth tax, and potential double taxation agreements between Spain and your home country. It’s advisable to consult with a financial advisor experienced in cross-border financial planning and an Expat taxation specialist.
- Employment and Business Opportunities: If you plan to work in Spain, research job markets in your field. For entrepreneurs, understand the local business environment and specific regulations for foreign business owners.
- Cultural Integration: Immerse yourself in Spanish culture. Attend local events, try the cuisine, and engage with locals to understand social norms and lifestyle.
- Language Proficiency: While many Spaniards speak English, knowing Spanish can be crucial for integration. Evaluate your language skills and look into language courses or immersion programs. Evaluate the English-language level of the areas you are considering.
- Transportation and Infrastructure: Check out how to get around in Spain and in your area. Try out the public transportation systems. Consider if you’ll need a car in the areas you are considering.
- Education System (if applicable): If moving with children, explore local and international schools. Understand the education system in Spain and where your children might fit best. Make an appointment to visit a few of the schools.
- Expat Community and Support: Connect with Expat communities in Spain. These groups can provide support, advice, and friendship as you transition to your new life. You can find Expat events through Facebook groups in the towns/cities that you are looking at. Fitting in a community event will help you to ask loads of questions to Expats that live in that town or city.
- Climate and Geography: Spain has diverse environments and geography. Experiencing the regional differences, from the Mediterranean coast to the central plateau, will help you determine which area aligns with your preferences and lifestyle.
Group Scouting Tours to Spain
We asked our good friend Jen from Expatsi to tell us about the advantages of group scouting trips. Jen organizes scouting trips to Spain and loves the dynamic of helping people make the move.
One of the biggest advantages of taking a group trip is that you can split costs for accommodations. We recommend apartment rentals like Airbnb and VRBO because you can get a better feel for Spanish neighborhood life than you can in a touristy hotel, and we’ll help make introductions so you can find roommates.
We also offer sessions with local Spanish relocation, tax, and immigration experts on our group trips, which can be expensive if booked one-on-one.
Planning & Research Are Done For You
Taking a group tour makes it easy if you need help figuring out where to start planning your trip to Spain. We take care of research and planning, so you don’t have to start from scratch learning everything about Spain you need to know: the best cities, neighborhoods, or resources.
“For me, a group trip is a great option because much of the homework is already done. I love traveling, but I don’t like all the planning. Having a general itinerary, with suggestions but also with the freedom to pick & choose activities & do my own thing, is the perfect balance for me. Also – being able to regroup & ‘share notes’ is really valuable”— Z.K.
“I typically play a heavy role in planning group trips so I’m relieved that that work is being handled by someone who does it joyfully! I also like the idea of exchanging insights and being able to process with a group of people with the same goal in mind.”— I.M.
“Completely agree about avoiding the overwhelming task of doing all the research and planning. Also, joining a group like this will introduce a lot of ideas for locations, outings, activities, etc. that I might never have considered if I was planning the whole thing by myself — both from the hosts and the other members.”— A.S.
Traveling with others is already a great way to make new friends, but now you’ll also spend time with people who could be your new neighbors. The group all have a shared interest in making Spain their new home. This community can make the trip more enjoyable and memorable and help you build a support network in Spain before moving.
“One of the big reasons for doing the group trip, for me, at least, is having an opportunity to pre-build a little bit of community. Even though I’ll be moving with my husband when we do move, I know that loneliness can be a risk for me. So knowing that I will always have these connections, makes it less lonely.”—S.S.
When traveling with others, you can learn a lot from each other. You can share your experiences and insights and get different perspectives on Spain and Spanish culture. These interactions can help you better understand what it would be like to live in Spain and help you decide whether it’s the right place for you.
“I think in this particular group instance the knowledge sharing can be invaluable. Instead of having to figure it all out on our own, we have resources amongst ourselves that can be shared and built on. There are things I don’t know that I don’t know. Things I might have researched that will make it easier for someone else. The connection in the unknown is comforting.”— M.G.
Other Benefits of a Group Scouting Trip to Spain
- Safety: Spain is, on the whole, an incredibly safe country. However, there’s always the risk of petty crime or scams. Traveling with others can be safer than traveling alone, especially if you’re visiting areas you’re not familiar with.
- Support: If you get sick or have any problems while you’re traveling, you’ll have the support of your group members and organizers.
- Fun: Traveling with other people can be fun! If you want to check out a market, find a local park, or linger over coffee or wine, there’s always someone excited to keep you company.
“This group trip is ideal for two reasons: safety and the ability to travel solo. I’ve been to at least 5 countries and many states, but I’ve never had the courage to go solo traveling in a new country. This group gives me the opportunity to do it without knowing any family or friends there, but with the ability to make so many as we go. I like the idea of having moments of being alone exploring, but at the end of the day knowing someone is looking out for me. If I go missing there’s a group of people who will know and be concerned about it!”— T.M.
How to Choose a Group Trip
Here are a few tips for choosing a group trip that will help you gain the insights you need:
- It’s not a vacation. Your scouting trip to Spain should be light on tourist traps and incorporate practical tours of neighborhoods, markets, and transportation instead.
- Meet local experts. Your trip should offer opportunities to ask about Spanish healthcare, real estate, and visa options from people who provide those services or have used them themselves.
- It is customized to you. Your trip should include meetups and activities that match your interests so you can assess how you’ll like living there and meet folks who can help you acclimate.
- Flexible schedule. The best system for scouting trips is a hop-on/hop-off itinerary so you can come and go as you please. Don’t get stuck on endless bus tours and meeting schedules that don’t accommodate your needs.
A Group Trip we recommend
If you are considering a Group Scouting Trip, Expatsi is organizing a Spain and Portugal Trip in March 2024. We will be your hosts for one day in a gorgeous restaurant in the old part of Barcelona. We will educate you on Visas, Housing, Schools, Lifestyle, and more. You will also get to ask us anything about Moving to Spain and Living in Spain while you enjoy tasting Catalan tapas and local wine.
Pros and Cons of a Solo Scouting Trip to Spain
For exploring a new life in Spain, you can go it alone. A solo scouting trip can be a good option, though it has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- Flexibility and Personalization: Craft an itinerary that resonates with your interests, whether it’s exploring the vibrant neighborhoods of Madrid, the historic streets of Seville, or the tranquil beaches of Costa Brava. This approach allows you to focus on areas crucial to your potential new life in Spain, from flamenco schools to bustling mercados.
- Authentic Spanish Experience: Solo travel in Spain opens doors to spontaneous adventures and deeper cultural immersion. You can meander through lesser-known barrios, engage in lively conversations at local tapas bars, and genuinely live a day in the life of a Spaniard.
- Focused Research on Spanish Living: With no group itinerary structure, you can 100% dive deep into your personal research. This could mean meetings with local real estate agents in Valencia, exploring international schools in Barcelona, or networking within your professional field in Bilbao.
- Planning and Logistics, Spanish Style: Organizing a solo trip across Spain’s diverse landscapes requires considerable effort. The logistics can be complex, from booking accomadation in different regions to navigating the nuances of Spanish public transport.
- Navigating Spain’s Rich Tapestry Without a Guide: Without the insights of a local guide or structured tour, you might miss out on the subtleties of Spanish culture and local know-how, from understanding regional dialects to navigating local bureaucracy.
- Potential to Miss Key Spanish Nuances: You might overlook crucial aspects of settling in Spain, like specific legal procedures for Expats or the unspoken etiquettes of Spanish life.
- Elevated Costs in Solo Spanish Exploration: Venturing solo often means higher expenses, as you won’t benefit from group discounts. The costs of individual accommodations, internal travel, and unique experiences can accumulate.
- Limited Support and Networking Opportunities: Traveling solo can also mean missing out on the networking opportunities and support systems organized groups or Expat communities provide. These connections can be invaluable for gaining insights, sharing experiences, and establishing a support network in Spain.
Are You Ready to Plan Your Spain Scouting Trip?
The journey of planning a scouting trip to Spain is not just a step towards a new home but a leap into a lifestyle celebrated by Expats from around the globe. This exploration is your key to unlocking the essence of Spanish Exapt living, a blend of historical richness, cultural vibrancy, and relaxed Mediterranean charm. Through your scouting trip, you’ll experience firsthand the leisurely pace of life that defines Spain. The insights you gain from visiting potential neighborhoods, understanding the local healthcare and education systems, and connecting with the Expat community will paint a vivid picture of your future life here. Spain offers more than just scenic landscapes and urban wonders; it provides a community where Expats thrive.
If you want to come over next year on a scouting trip, learn more about the Expatsi Group Tour here.