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Preparing for a Move of Epic Proportions - THE PLAN, man!

When you start planning to move a family of seven overseas, everything sounds fun and exciting and, well, fun. It's like being a kid on Christmas morning, waking up at the butt-crack of dawn and jumping on your parents' bed so you can rip into the presents under the tree the second they open their not-yet-caffeinated eyeballs. 😄😄😄

Then the excitement starts to transfer into the planning stages of things, and if you are an A-type personality with an uncharacteristically strong penchant for people pleasing, like me, this can quickly become a rabbit hole. Just avoid anything that says 'Drink Me' during this phase, and don't cry....everything's gonna work out. (If you didn't get that joke, you might not have kids, you've possibly landed at the wrong blog, and there's TONS more corny mom stuff where that came from...you've been forewarned.)

So first you need a plan. The first step of any plan this large is to break your trip/move/escapade (too Janet Jackson?) into phases. I did mine in the following large phases, and broke those down accordingly:

1. Passports (a fairly easy one to break ourselves in)
2. Research
3. Visas (this was massive &took several months to gather everything necessary)
4. Moving Stuff / Selling House (this one is more subjective to each family's circumstances)
5. Getting there - the initial overseas trip
6. Destination City - apartment hunting, NIE Card, etc.
7. Enjoy life!

In case you're not bored reading yet, here's is a generic run through of what these phases have entailed for us. Keep in mind yours may be a bit different, because real life. 🤣🤣🤣😆 

1. Passports
Getting passports was fairly straight forward. Most cities have an office where you can take your passport application (available online) and pay the fee. You will need to get passport photos done before you submit your applications, and there are precise rules for how they need to be taken. Be sure to follow the instructions for the passport and the photos. You can also get passport photos taken and printed on the spot at any Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, etc.

*Tip: Our kids have BIG heads, so we learned to make sure their heads fit into the outline on the example photo template they have at the photo counter. 😉 A few of our pics didn't make it through the first time.

2. Research

This is one of the funnest parts of the whole thing, because at this phase there is nothing off-limits and anything is possible. I have a separate post explaining how we researched and narrowed down where we wanted to go and what our criteria ultimately was, but this is different for everyone. Basically, this is the part where you guys get to decide what you want your life to look like, and where you want to make that happen.

3. Visas

There will be many, many posts about the various phases of the VISA process, because it is long, drawn out and complicated, but we applied for the Non-Lucrative Visa. You can get a list of the general necessary documents and find out more information about that here.

4. Moving Stuff / Selling House

Not everyone will need to sell their house, and of course you know what I'm going to say (like a broken record now) subjective, subjective, subjective! LOL.... But really, it is.

So for this phase of the plan we needed to get a realtor, prepare our house to sell (which included some updating to the house) and list our house. Plus of course the selling and closing. But the equity of our house was an integral part of making this trip happen, because we are regular people with a limited budget and not a lot of money in the bank.

Second to the plan, or simultaneously in our case since I'm cray and like to stress myself out with strict timelines of circumstances, I was calling and emailing moving companies to get quotes, researching company reviews and narrowing down who I felt most comfortable moving my stuff half-way across the world at a semi-reasonable (pssshtt, please) rate.

I will be posting more about the moving quote process soon, because getting quotes and learning what to watch out for was a doozy!

5. Getting there - the initial overseas trip

Our initial overseas trip was planned to be part getting to Spain, part European vacation. This is also a pretty fun part of planning, because you get to shop for plane tickets (Apps like Skyscanner and Hopper are HUGE money savers here!), choose between an AirBnB or hotel for your initial stay, and hopefully do a little sightseeing. We will have a few separate posts going into detail about tips and tricks, because this post is already crazy long!!

6. Destination City - apartment hunting, NIE Card, etc.

This is the MOST stressful part. Seriously. You will spend about the first month running around the city like a madman. Apartment hunting, signing a lease, setting up bank accounts and utilities, getting your NIE card (essentially your foreign ID card). If you're moving to a country where you aren't quite fluent in their language, this can be intense. We hired an AMAZING company, called Moving To Valencia, where they helped us do ALL of our initial setup- even getting the kids enrolled in schools! They seriously prevented me some gray hair. 😉 There's a few other companies like this as well, but we found they were geared more towards the bougie clientele, and we wanted someone familiar with struggles for the everyday Jones- like a firm budget and realistic bathroom requirements. LOL!

7. Enjoy life!