Preparations

 

  I get asked what practical planing went into this adventure. So if your planning this type of thing then this might be of help

   POST

    Importantly you do need a forwarding address, a relative or good friend. You will have trouble getting Insurance for van, car etc if you don't have a 'fixed' UK address. You don't need to be on the electoral register of the forwarding address. I gave them my daughters address. I also contacted the post office and had my mail redirected to her for a year. The cost was only something like £45. The only stipulation is that any mail they forward must have your name on it, they won't forward anything that doesn't. So, thankfully, junk mail doesn’t get redirected.

    UTILITIES

    Electric, gas, telephone, local council (rates) and water board. The great thing with these bods is that you don't actually have to do anything until you are ready to leave. In fact I rang them on the very morning we were leaving. They all made my final bill up over the phone and I paid them via credit card. Most will still ask for a forwarding address. An issue with renting out your home is that you are ultimately responsible for the gas and electricity used. So if your tenant runs up a bill and then buggers off, that bill will land on your mat. My advice is not to tell them you own the house, but that's up to you. Importantly whenever paying these peeps over the phone get a reference number from them at the time.

We also cancelled any subscriptions, catalogues and magazines etc, again this can be done, in most cases over the phone and some on the internet.

    TAX

    Because Hazel retired and I, on paper, retired early we had to notify the inland revenue and exchange our National ins numbers for a tax reference number. You can download the forms from the Gov tax web site, print them off, fill them in and post them. It took three weeks. We now pay our income tax once a year, which is self assessment and again done on line.

    PROPERTY

    Because we decided to rent out our home we got a property management company to look after the house, cost about £80 a month. You will need Public liability home insurance. This I got from Simple Ins an online company costing us around £200. This covers the house and covers us against any claims the tenant might make against us. We also took out rent Guarantee insurance, should a tenant fail to pay the rent, this was less than a £100.

    VEHICLES

    Vehicle Breakdown insurance for your car is an awkward one. Few, if any, offer 365 days European cover. Lots offer 90, 180, 270 days cover. You want annual cover, that’s the important thing. The trick is understanding the cover offered by these people. How many times they are prepared to rescue you in any 90, 180, or 270 day period. While the cover starts from the day you take it out, in the case of 90 days it doesn't run out 90 days later. Provided you are using a reliable car it shouldn't be an issue. In the forty years I've been driving I've called out a rescue service eight times. That’s once every five years and most of my cars were heaps. The other thing to remember about breakdowns is that there is no shortage of garages in Europe, all happy to take your money if you need a repair. Interestingly in Spain, at least around here, the going garage hourly rate is only £22, a third of what it is in the UK.

    Caravan insurance is not a legal requirement. Pulling it you are covered by your car insurance, but not against theft or other damage.

    HEALTH

    You need to get an E111, this can again be done on line, takes a couple of weeks to get them New ones, I believe, now last ten years. It is also worth getting other health insurance, we have some with our bank account. Here in Spain for emergency care you only need to produce your passport and E111 to get the care you need and even private care is a reasonable price.

    INTERNATIONAL DRIVING LICENCE

    These you get at the post office, though throughout most of the EU a standard licence is fine.

    MONEY

    We use a credit card for all purchases. There's no extra charge, provided you settle at the end of the month. We then use our debit card to draw cash out, our bank makes a charge of £2.25 for ever 100 Euros we drawn out.

    FINALLY

Get yourself the Acsi book of discounted camp sites, we find it the best. There no-one on this site that doesn’t have a copy. It contains detailed info on around 2500 camp sites all over Europe that offer off season discounts. Now hook up the car and point it toward a ferry port and you are on your way.

 

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