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How Did You Pick a City?




How we picked Spain


Before we decided to move to a different country, we listed out these 5 questions:


  1. Can we do this?
  2. Should we do this?
  3. Where should we go?
  4. Go Scouting, Apply For Visa
  5. How To Manage Current Assets


Once we decided we wanted to get out of the dodge, the whole world was our oyster. We could pick from Mexico, Italy, France or anywhere. It can be overwhelming to pick from these amazing options, but picking the right city was a priority so here we are, sharing with you our journey of how we decided on Spain.


Marking The Priorities


We want our kids to learn Spanish. And with this in mind, we had Central and South America as the options along with Equatorial Guinea and Spain.


America was out of the picture, and since we have no clue where Equatorial Guinea is, it was easier to settle on Spain.


  • Our first priority, like any other family was picking a place that is safe and has a family centric environment. Having lived in the suburbs, we want to experience the city life now. All this while on our journey to picking a city and moving out, I have emphasised that the city we move in should be safe so we don’t have to worry about the safety of our family.
  • The second priority was – Pick a city which offers a lot of travel options in its close proximity. And clearly, Spain is the winner here.
  • Our third priority was – the weather. We were now looking for a city that has a pleasant, snug weather that is not too cold, not too hot. Hence, we included cities like Malaga, Marbella, Valencia on our list along with all that came in between this region.


Remember: Not setting any goals/priorities can trouble you later, and you might not get the most out of your decision to move.

Prioritizing these things has helped us choose the best possible neighborhoods and schools.


The Cities In Spain


Once we zeroed on Spain, it was time to pick the perfect city, and Madrid was one of the options. This city shares its latitude with New York and is one of the largest, centrally located cities in Spain that is bustling with tourists all year long. After learning these 2 facts, we weren’t as excited about Madrid anymore. Not looking forward to the chilly weather and an otherwise crowded city!


The next option was Barcelona, another coastal city with a huge tourist attraction, and an equally huge population. Hence, no!


Also, did you know? The language in the city was going to be a problem, with the city still speaking Catalan clubbed with the Castilian Spanish. You will be surprised to know that this language is actually different from the Spanish dialect.


Since the language was not exactly Spanish, and is highly encouraged in the schools curriculums, plus the overwhelming tourism culture of the city, we thought to pass on Barcelona too.


The Wagoners Were A Big Help


With our priorities aligned, we arrived on a final few cities that we absolutely had to pick from. Once we made a list of these, thus began the madness of collecting all the relevant information. We rang up several re-location companies, got in touch with families who moved to Spain from America. One of those families was the Wagoners, a family of 4 who are originally from San Francisco. They have been living in Spain for about 5 years now. We discovered them through their blog The Wagoner’s Abroad, which was a big help.


We got on a call with Heidi to get some real help on how they arrived to the city. She was a great aid as she answered some of the most important question for me about the schools, the costs involved, and how did they pick the city they were living in. Their story wasn’t just helpful but equally motivating for us to move to Spain.


The Research Begins


After having researched through the internet thoroughly, I got in touch with 2 moving companies, one in Malaga and one in Valencia. They helped us with a lot of thorough information and we used their services for a city tour on our scouting trips to both these places.

An important incident that actually plays a major role in helping us pick the city was me calling Adam, my cousin from Texas. The conversation we had actually made it easier for me to make up my mind. He had put me in touch with a family with a story similar to ours. You can read more about them on their blog  The Big Burton Bon Voyage. They were also on this episode of the show ‘House Hunters International’. We got so much important information on the visa through them.

Once we arrived at the city, we scheduled a scouting trip and narrowed it to Valencia or Malaga. We’ll share more details on the scouting trips soon.

Pro tip: Do not rely on the internet research solely. Go out, meet the locals or people who have done this, get in touch with them and gather all the first hand information.

We have posted another blog on a super crucial  travel checklist so do check that out. And hey, don’t forget to leave your comments and share your travel stories with us.



This blog post is part of a blog collaboration between The Spanish Group and Kate Hickey of the travel blog ‘Hickeys Everywhere.’ Thanks for reading.