Have you ever wondered what would happen if you moved to Spain on a whim? Well we did exactly that, so read on to find out.
The following post was written by me in January 2013, but is almost as relevant today as it was then. Although Brexit has changed the names of some of the forms, and some of the residency criteria have changed.
I woke up early and more than a little excited, looked out of the window to see a full on snow blizzard. I immediately reached for the iPad to check for flight disruption and at that time all was well in Newcastle Airport.
- 1 No Airport Disruption, Our Spanish Adventure Begins
- 2 There were Snowstorms at the Airport
- 3 A Quick Well Done to Easyjet
- 4 Car Rental in Spain
- 5 The Insurance Upgrade or Extortionate Deposit Sting
- 6 The Payment for a Full Tank of Fuel Upfront Sting
- 7 The Smaller Car than the one you Ordered Sting
- 8 What about Driving on the Right in Spain?
- 9 The Hidden Hotel Saga
No Airport Disruption, Our Spanish Adventure Begins
It’s the 22nd January 2013. Time for some last minute packing
Time to pack it is then. As we have become more and more accustomed to travelling, we have become far later and more minimalist packers and unbelievably we normally still have things in our bags that we haven’t used when we return.
In all, it probably took us around 2 hours to pack for an indefinite period for 2 adults and a 9 year old girl (including toys and teddies).
We carried out a few last minute checks, passports, flight email confirmations, address of accommodation (we had booked 2 nights earlier in our familiar last minute style), driving licence, EHIC, all were good to go.
There were Snowstorms at the Airport
My brother who is a taxi driver kindly offered to take us to the airport. We said our goodbyes and set off in the heavy snow. By the time we reached the airport visibility was down to around 10 metres and we were getting more concerned about our flight. In the end we had a one hour delay and that was only due to a maintenance issue.
A Quick Well Done to Easyjet
Our flight was excellent both in value (£188 total between all 3 of us one way) and as an experience. We even got in 20 minutes ahead of our new schedule.
Car Rental in Spain
We had pre-ordered a car for a one month hire so that we could take in as many Spanish towns and cities in that time as possible on our quest for that one perfect place to settle down (more on that in further posts).
A friend of the family had suggested we try rentalcars.com as he had used them and they were extremely competitive and above board. We were absolutely amazed to procure a Ford Fusion (or similar class of car) for 24 days at an amazing £97 in total, just over £4/day.
They sent me the details online and as they are a broker they arranged my contract with Gold Car Hire. There were however small print conditions that I didn’t bother reading until we were signing for the car in Alicante Airport (silly me, novice mistake). None of them however were unreasonable or deal breakers.
The Insurance Upgrade or Extortionate Deposit Sting
Upon signing for the car we were asked what insurance we wanted to take out with them. I misunderstood that it was included, and it was of course pointed out to me in the small print that only minimal third party and accident cover was included. If I didn’t take out further insurance at around 10 Euros/day I would have to leave a £300 Euro deposit (I paid the deposit on Credit Card). Note: This had to be paid Cash or on a Credit Card, Debit Cards were not acceptable for this transaction!
The Payment for a Full Tank of Fuel Upfront Sting
The second issue is that you must pay for a “Full” tank of fuel before you have the car (again in Cash or the same Credit Card as the Deposit, they must have something against Debit Cards!). This is charged at a bearable but much higher rate than filling it yourself to reflect their labour charges for filling up etc. Again not a show stopper, it was probably 40% more than we would have paid at the garage and came to 92 Euros.
The car is meant to be handed back empty by all accounts, a difficult task if you were to have the car for 3-4 days but not a problem on a long term rental such as ours ( I can almost guarantee that I will be free wheeling it in to the depot on fumes. lol). With the price of fuel so high, I am guessing that all these half to three quarter tanks of fuel being handed back by short term renters who were unable to use it all soon adds up to a nice little earner for the hire companies.
The Smaller Car than the one you Ordered Sting
We ended up with a Seat Ibiza, far smaller than the Ford Fusion we had wanted, but it was Diesel rather than the Unleaded we had ordered, so I suppose it is a fair trade off if you can do without the space. We were far to late and tired by then to mess around trying to change it, which they may have been counting on. Who knows?
I will update on the success or failure of using the rentalcars.com hire system when we have handed the car back.
What about Driving on the Right in Spain?
It has been a while since I drove on the right side of the road and the first hour or so was a little bewildering to say the least. Indicating with your wipers is not quite as effective as indicating with indicators, as a few irritated Spanish drivers will testify. The brain is pretty adaptable though, and within a short time I was zipping on the roads about like a local.
The Hidden Hotel Saga
Our first stop on our exploration was El Campello, or should I say a small town about 5km outside of it, up a hill, through a tunnel and up another hill to a small hidden enclave on the edge of a cliff.
The Pueblo Acantilado Apartments isn’t the easiest place in the world to find at 1030 at night in the pitch black without a map. However, we got there in the end and were delighted with the accommodation. We were all quite worn out by then and were not long out of our beds. Mission Successful!
You can see the review of Pueblo Acantilado Apartments by clicking here (coming soon).