Moving to Spain: FAQ’s

People have so many questions and it’s so interesting to hear everyone’s curiosities. I wanted to put together a list of FAQs so that inquiring minds could know. It’s also a lot to explain many times over in casual conversation, so it’s better said in writing so when I see you in person, we can talk about real things like “This Is Us” and GOT.

The only question I don’t answer here is “What city?” because we are taking a trip next week to figure that out – we’re between Málaga and Valencia and we’ll keep you posted.

1. What do the kids think? Do they know?!

Yes, our kids know!! We have been talking about this as a family for over a year. We have dreamt about it together, gushed over pictures online, watched House Hunter’s International, and researched hot European “fútbol” players for Max as he chooses his new home team. They are super excited and we’ve been 100% real with them. It’s been really encouraging for me to see them supersede my expectations.

Just yesterday I overheard Max upstairs as Sam was looking for something: “It’s not here Sam, Mom sold it, but you won’t need it in Spain.”  “Oh yeah!” was her reply. ha! They’re just fine. At least so far…

2. How can you afford this?

I’m putting this at the top because it’s what a lot of people are thinking so let’s just get on with it: Our life in Spain will cost us the same amount as our life in Nashville. huh? Yes. Think about it:

We wont’ have cars or car insurance!!! +$800/month, our furnished Spanish apartment is less than a mortgage +$600/month, we will have NO space for home goods/clothes +$150/month, our health insurance is cheaper +$150.

We will spend this “excess” on travel, public transport, stateside storage, managed treasury for our business ($50/month) but that will really be a break-even.

The expensive part of the process is the start up. The visa is going to cost about $1,000 and the tickets to get to Spain, scouting trip, and realtor fees are going to probably run us about $5,000. After that initial cost, we’ll be back to breaking even with our life in the US. Fun fact: Eating out in Spain is cheaper than cooking. PRAISE HIM.

If you think you can’t live somewhere because of the money – do your research, don’t assume, and pretty please don’t let this be your barrier to travel.

3. Will you keep your business?

YES!! We’ve worked so hard to “fill the funnel” and we’re excited to continue to do digital marketing and build websites. We will have to let go of speaking appearances and we’ll be slightly limited for phone call hours because of the time change, but that’s about it. We look forward to spending our energies wisely and that will no longer include a commute. We also believe that we’ve established strong client relationships and we deliver a quality and affordable product so I don’t think people will care that we can’t sit in on a meeting. I guess we’ll see.

4. Are you selling your house?

Yep. And about 70% of what’s in it. We looked into renting our home but it’s not something that we want to deal with. We know that we don’t want to move back to this exact subdivision, so bye. I’m not at all phased by this as you can tell. A house is wherever my 3 people are. We will store our family antiques and some special pieces that my brothers made.

5. What about the kids schools?

There are 3 types of schools in Spain: concertado, private, and state schools. Concertado is comprable to charter schools in the US, they are often affiliated with a church and they cost to attend. Private schools are impossible to get in unless you’re a diplomat’s kid. I know because I tried all 4 in Valencia and was rejected. I really REALLY struggled with this part of the move as the schools dictate the city and neighborhood and vise versa.

All said, we’ve decided to put our kids in state schools. Our #1 priority for this move was for the kids to speak Spanish and private schools are conducted in English. Also, the Spanish siesta is REAL and our kids might be coming home in the middle of the day for 2-3 hours so we needed our school to be in our neighborhood. I will write a blog later about schools. I read books on this, sent dozens of emails, and hours of research – it remains the most important part of the move.

6. Why Spain?

  1. It’s pretty warm year round – sorta like Florida.
  2. Europe means we’ll be able to weekend in Paris, Mallorca, Croatia, Vienna, and a million other places we’re dying to see.
  3. Spanish!
  4. It’s affordable.
  5. Rich culture and great people.
  6. Sangria and the beach.

7. What did your family say?

They are so sad to miss the kids but they understand that this is an amazing opportunity. This was easily the worst and hardest part of the process for me for sure. I put this off until we were 1,000% sure that we were all systems go and I had a gnarly stomach ache for months before breaking the news in tears. It hurts to disappoint the ones you love but I think that regret hurts more.

8. How long will you live there? Will you move back here?

Not sure. We know that we love Nashville and lots of our family is here. We think that 1 year in Spain is the absolute minimum for all of the work and $ we’ve put in. Right now, 12-24 months is the plan. The other plan:

Have no plan.

9. Is your blog to make money?

From whom?! No. Blogging doesn’t work that way unless you’re established and drive lots of web traffic. So, unless you Venmo me rn – I’m doing this for pure fun, to help others, and to document the process.

10. How does the Visa work?

I am almost there with our visas!! It’s a tough process and I’ll blog on the dirty details later. We are going to apply for a “non-lucrative” visa and it is valid for a year. We will re-apply in Spain after 12 months. This type of visa is not a fit for everyone but after lots of research, it works for us. Each country requires a different visa and the processes are drastically different so don’t  use my experience as a barometer unless you are moving specifically to Spain.

Also, should you move with a company, au pair program, school, the military, etc., they usually handle the lion share of the application process – so again, don’t let this freak your freak. Plus, call me – I’ll help you out with a pep talk or a wallowing and wine session.


Hope I answered all of your questions. If I missed a something you’d like to know, please comment and I’ll answer. If you have experience with any of this or really any thought at all – I’d love to hear it. I’ll be blogging about once a week so check back! Thank you SO much for reading and visiting our site and please Pin if you’re a Pinterest person;)

14 replies
  1. Chiara Amoddio
    Chiara Amoddio says:

    I’m so excited to read everything about your new adventure!! Love everything about this website and can’t wait to read more.
    I feel like Spain is a perfect place for you and your family, and I really admire you for taking such a hard decision, so inspiring.
    Please feel free to come visit Italy ????????
    Ps: I’ve been to both Malaga and Valencia, both are so beautiful so it’ll be a tough decision to make, but I’m sure you’ll choose the one perfect for you all!!

    • Kate Hickey
      Kate Hickey says:

      You’re so sweet! I miss you!! Thanks for reading and for your kind words. Where are you living? I want to come visit you!!!

  2. Gayla Timm
    Gayla Timm says:

    I’ll leave a reply! (Saw your IG feed ????). So you don’t need a work visa, right (since your business is stateside)? Is it hard to get a visa to live in EU? Is Spain easier than other countries?

    • Kate Hickey
      Kate Hickey says:

      Thanks for throwin me a bone!! haha We don’t need a work visa. We are applying for a “non-lucrative visa” meaning that we will not work there. Every country is drastically different and Spain is famous for being a paper work, bureaucratic nightmare. It has a bad reputation and so far it’s living up to it! haha I’m writing a blog right now on the visa process but lets just say it involves color coded folders, copy machines, notaries, and tears. HA Thanks for reading Gayla – hugs to Craig and the kids! xo

  3. Jen Gaulke
    Jen Gaulke says:

    I think you’re giving your family an amazing opportunity!! Excited to follow your journey! Addy wants to be pen pals with Max and Sam!

  4. Rachel Mitchell
    Rachel Mitchell says:

    This is fascinating!!! I’m in total awe!! You guys are so brave and adventurous. I can’t wait to read more. And I didn’t realize you have your own business?!?! Do you have a business website? Can’t wait to read more! I always thought you were a super cool chic ????????????

  5. Peggy
    Peggy says:

    Fantastic website. Lots of helpful info here. I¡¦m sending it to several buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks to your effort!


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