Carrie Frais, originally from Harrow, north west London, moved to Spain with her husband to start a family. She runs a business helping British families move abroad.

Carrie Frais met her husband Tom Maidment at a wedding in London in 2002. They quickly discovered a shared love for travelling the world and both dreamed of living and working in Spain.

“We were both feeling disillusioned with our jobs in London at the time – commuting on the tube, the wet weather, the expense,” says Carrie, 42. “We both discovered we had a mutual love of Spain, so a year after we got together, I challenged Tom to start a new life by moving to Barcelona with me. And he said yes.”

Less than a year later, the couple had moved to Cabrils in Maresme, just north of Barcelona. They married after three years and within five years had two children, Poppy, now 8, and Bertie, 6. The family has lived in Spain for 12 years.

“Our quality of life is incomparable to what it was before. We have the sea and mountains on our doorstep, while Barcelona, with its superb gastronomy, architecture and culture, is just 20 minutes away.

“Everyday life is also much cheaper, most of our family shopping is done in local food markets and the weather is much better. So on weekends you don’t need to spend vast amounts entertaining the children indoors. It is possible to survive on €1,000 a month, something that you couldn’t do if you were living in London.”

After moving to Barcelona, Carrie launched a website to support international families living in, holidaying or thinking of relocating to Spain, called MumsAbroad. It now encompasses France, Italy and Germany and she is currently building a version for the Middle East. Meanwhile, her husband Tom set up an international property company called Lucas Fox International Properties with two former lawyers.

The couple plan to stay in Spain for the time being, and certainly won’t be returning to England soon. “We never had considered living elsewhere,” says Carrie. “Spain suited our temperament and the lifestyle we wanted. We absolutely do not regret moving to Spain and would encourage anyone else who is after a great quality of life to do so.”

If you’re thinking of moving abroad, here’s a checklist of things to consider:

  • Do your homework before you leave by finding out as much as you can about the area of the country you’re moving to, including local transport provision and amenities, as well as the customs, traditions and way of life.
  • Think carefully before buying a property abroad and don’t be rushed into the decision. Seek independent legal advice, particularly if you’re applying for a mortgage in your new country.
  • Make sure you’re familiar with the laws and customs of the country you’re moving to before you leave, and seek specialist advice if you’re thinking of setting up your own business.

How can Barclays help?

If you are thinking of buying a home abroad, Barclays can help. To help manage your wealth in multiple currencies, you can open an international bank account with Barclays International. Available to clients who maintain at least £25,000 (or currency equivalent) in savings and investments, or open an account in order to apply for an international mortgage with us. Clients who hold at least £100,000 (or equivalent in another currency or currencies) have the option of a dedicated Barclays Relationship Manager to help your plan for your financial goals.

For more information, call us on +44 (0) 1624 684316*

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