How much does it ACTUALLY cost to move abroad?

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Where do I start!?!?! I can tell you now this post is not what I expected it to be and as soon as I started typing I realised that the cost of moving abroad was a lot higher than I had originally thought.


When we first considered moving to Gibraltar we had looked at the cost of living, rent, water, electric and council tax and made sure everything was realistic. Now don’t get me wrong; Gibraltar comes with a lot of cost savings, one of the main ones being TAX!! But at the same time the rental market is worlds apart from what we are paying on our mortgage – lets just say that we are paying three times as much for a smaller place, but we love it! The costs that we didn’t consider were “What is the actual cost to move abroad?”

I would put the costs into three buckets: Financial, Time & Emotional.

The “Financial” Cost of moving abroad

Financially the costs that came from moving abroad included:

  • Removal companies
  • One way flights
  • Arranging pet travel
  • Redecorating our house ready to be let out
  • Residency
  • Deposits & 1st month’s rent on new home
  • Exchange fees for utilities
  • Settling any financial agreements before leaving the country
  • Buying a new car / import tax for car

The list goes on and on, and just when you feel you have sorted everything another cost comes in. Now don’t get me wrong, like most employees immigrating, you will get a relocation allowance, but if you’re moving anything more than one person then realistically, it doesn’t even touch the sides.  Although we have always looked at this from a “we’ll trial it for a year” point of view, you have to look at the costs of moving abroad as an investment into a better life or whatever your reasons are – plain and simple, it is an investment.

The “Time” Cost of moving abroad

When it comes to the “Time” cost you are looking at a truly unquantifiable measurement. Nikki and I have done nothing but talk about the move over the last three months and sometimes that takes the shine out of the whole idea (but will save that part for later) We had to be very strict about how we organised ourselves, and that’s where our project management board came from.  Every weekend was engulfed with 90% sorting, packing, dump runs, storage runs, decorating… with the other 10% booking in family and friends visits before you leave.  What was near on impossible was having a single evening to stop and just have time for ourselves without a mention or thought of Gibraltar.  I think if you take any advice from this post it would be that organisation is KEY!

The “Emotional” Cost of moving abroad

Sounds crazy doesn’t it but here we are nearly 27 days before we leave the UK, which I have never been fond of and have been gently hinting for a move for a long time, and there has been a couple of times where I have wanted to pull the plug!  The only thing that has kept me going is the promise of everything that I have built up Gibraltar to be – a better quality of life and more family time.

I am a party of one when I speak of the emotional drain of moving abroad as, at this stage, Nikki, Jayden & Elliott do not realise the blog exists as it’s a Christmas/moving present. However, my view is that the emotional triggers for me so far have been around family and time that the move has taken away from us.

For me, I know that family means everything to Nikki and she has a bond with her mum and brother that most people would be jealous of. Knowing and constantly reminding myself that I am taking her away from 50% of her family isn’t easy and I do end up second guessing myself and wondering whether this move is just a selfish act. But deep down I know that it is not, and Nikki, as always, is my rock and reminds me why we wanted to do this.  We have tried to make the transition as easy as possible and mum is actually flying out with us and staying with us for a week and who knows as she comes out more (especially in the sun) she might throw in the towel and join us!!

Another part of the emotional cost is realising that moving anywhere is classed as one of the most stressful situations in a persons life. Well we put a magnifying glass on that and decided to move to another country with two boys who in school in the UK.  The thoughts that have run through our head are things like:

  • “Can we have one hour to ourselves without talking, planning or even thinking about this pissing move!”
  • “Should we be taking the boys out of school when they are doing so well?”
  • “Will the boys settle into their new schools alright?”
  • “How do we feel about childcare, when we have never had to consider that before?”
  • “Have we spent too much money, when we have spent nearly as much to put another deposit on another house?”

The list goes on and stops you sleeping as your mind races, but only time will tell if it is all worth it – don’t worry we will make sure we keep you up to date.


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