Category Archives: Blog

The 5 Best Worldwide Locations for Valentine’s Day

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

 

Angela, Heart

Angela, Heart

Valentine’s Day on February 14 is a chance to celebrate love. Whether you’re married, with a partner, or admiring someone from a far, it’s an opportunity to gush about the way you feel – and hopefully get together with the object of your affection for a special date.

If you really want to push the boat out, consider a trip to one of the most romantic places in the world. Either romantic in the dreamy, Hollywood sense; or in a way that’s personal to you. Here are 5 places we recommend for a memorable Valentine’s getaway:

Paris: Our list simply had to include Paris, considered by many to be the most romantic city in the world. This graceful city is glamorous and cosmopolitan, yet steeped in history. Full of mysterious nooks and surprises, it’s the perfect place for loved-up couples. You can laze in beautiful gardens, get intimate in candlelit wine bars, or wander the bank of the Seine arm-in-arm at sunset. 

Don’t miss climbing the twinkling Eiffel Tower after dark to enjoy panoramic views of the city’s bright lights from the top-floor champagne bar. Other romantic spots include Montmartre, the gardens of the Palais Royal and the Canal St Martin.

Venice: What a breathtaking place this is, with streets and canals lined with majestic palazzi, historic monuments and churches. Venice’s other-worldly grandeur has attracted lovers, artists and poets throughout its colourful history. As you stroll hand in hand with your love, following meandering pathways and crossing bridges, you will be enchanted by the classic Venetian scenes you encounter.

Sightseeing musts include St. Mark’s Square, home to the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) and St. Mark’s Basilica. And no romantic trip would be complete without being sung to by a gondolier as you glide down the waterways.

London: London is an inviting city for so many people. For lovers, the city offers a blend of cool, spectacular and charming things to do and see. Impress your date with panoramic views of London during Valentine’s Day dinner at Aqua Shard, catch a West End show, take a stroll through cobbled streets, snuggle up in a cosy pub, or soak up some history and culture at one of the city’s many galleries and museums.

There really is something for all tastes in London: cocktails in a Soho bar, a stroll through manicured parks and fine palaces, shopping at Selfridges or Harvey Nicks, or tea at the Ritz. Planning a getaway that’s personal to you should be a breeze.

Florence: An art-lovers’ paradise, the historic centre of Florence is full of eye-popping masterpieces. As you take to the streets, you can walk through the whole history of the city, from the ‘Roman quadrilateral’ in the Piazza della Repubblica area, to the narrow streets of the medieval city, onward to the splendours of the 16th-century Pitti Palace.

It’s worth taking a short taxi ride to the 15th century Belmond Villa St Michele, which boasts a facade designed by Michelangelo. Lunch at the restaurant here is rather special, with sweeping views of Florence. Take drinks outside to the “Lover’s Corner” in the garden – a perfect spot for a proposal or declaration of love!

Amsterdam: With great food, night spots, history and culture, Amsterdam is a vibrant city for a getaway. Its romance is best enjoyed by taking a walk along the waterways, weaving throughout the old city centre. The backdrop of centuries-old stately structures towering, and in some cases teetering precariously, over a network of slowly flowing canals, is both captivating and calming.

If you are an early riser, it’s fun to explore in the stillness of the early hours, when a soft light washes over the buildings. But if you’re a night owl, it’s also magical to take a stroll at sunset and watch as an orange glow descends on the canals. Even the least romantic soul can’t fail to be touched by this breathtaking scene.

If you are considering a move abroad PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company, which has specialised in international removals for over 34 years. We are committed to providing a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move for all our customers. Whether you’re sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle, we will ensure that you receive the highest level of care and attention. 

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.

Where To Reap The Rewards As A Career Expat

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

 

 

Corporate Traveller, Business People

Corporate Traveller, Business People

Moving around the world, to further career prospects is one of the main reasons people leave home and start a new life in another country.

A new global survey by HSBC, Expat Explorer Achieving ambitions abroad talked to 27,000 expats in 190 countries and territories. Their subsequent report, which has just been published, produces some key findings about jobs and careers around the world. So if you’re thinking of changing jobs and countries this year, take a look at the information below to find out what your best options are:

Singapore comes tops as the best country to live, work and bring up children.

Of those surveyed:

- 73% of expats in Singapore feel confident about the local economy

- 62% of expats living in Singapore say they are earning more than they would in their home country.

- 60% of expats living in Singapore say they can save more money than they did in their home country.

- 62% say it’s a great place to progress their careers and 58% say it’s a good place to start a business.

- Expats living in Singapore are also likely to enjoy higher incomes: USD139,000 per year on average, compared to the global average of USD97,000.

London and New York are attractive to expats looking to boost their careers

Of those surveyed 71% of expats working in the two cities say it will boost their careers and improve their job prospects when they go home.

Expats in Hong Kong, Dubai, Zurich and Shanghai enjoy the best financial rewards

65% of expats moving to Dubai or 68% of those from Hong Kong say their disposable income has risen, compared with 56% globally.

.. that said, if you want to earn the most money… move to Zurich

Head to Switzerland where 44% earn more than USD200,000 per year, compared with a global average of 11%. Shanghai expats also have good salaries, with 30% reporting an income of over USD200,000.

Millennials want to change careers and move abroad to do it

22% of expat millennials (aged 18-34) move to find a purpose for their career. Those heading to Japan (22%), Taiwan (22%) and UAE (20%) were the most popular destination for those searching for a better career purpose.

…. they also embrace the lifestyle to improve their career prospects with 37% saying this was a reason to move. 49% say they earn more in their host country and 45% say job security is better.

Expat finances thrive in the Middle East

If you’re hoping to increase your salary as well as your career prospects head to the Middle East. The report found that the highest levels of disposable income were in Qatar, Bahrain and UAE. This allowed expats to save the most money.

-  77% in Saudi Arabia, 70% in Oman and 65% in Bahrain say they are able to save more than at home, compared to the global average of 53%.

If you are considering a moving abroad PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receives a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 34 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance of ensuring our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

 

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.

What You Need To Know About Living In Switzerland

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

 

Viktar Palstsiuk, Geneva

Viktar Palstsiuk, Geneva

Switzerland is in western-central Europe. It is land locked. Italy sits to its south, France to the west, Germany is in the north whilst Austria and Liechtenstein are to the east. The capital city (or federal centre) is Bern but the most powerful economic centres are Geneva and Zurich. Both of the latter cities have helped put Switzerland in the top ten of Mercer Quality of Living Survey 2016. 

Switzerland is an expensive country to live in but also one of the most developed in the world with the highest nominal wealth per adult.

So what else can you expect from a life in Switzerland? Read our guide below to find out.

Language: Switzerland has four official languages. German (spoken by 63.3% of the population in 2014); French (22.7%) in the west; Italian (8.1%) in the south and Romansh (0.5%).

Currency: The Swiss Franc is the currency of Switzerland.

Accommodation: It is incredibly common for people to rent properties in Switzerland. This makes it difficult for locals, and expats alike, to find somewhere to live. As in all competitive markets, being organised and ready to move is key, especially in the large cities of Geneva and Zurich. You may be asked for a great deal of information in order register with a landlord or leasing agency, so be prepared and plan in advance. You’re most likely to rent an apartment for a period of 12 months. You may need to give three months notice before leaving.

Healthcare: Unsurprisingly health care provision in Switzerland is outstanding. Individuals pay through health insurances schemes, which in law they are required to have. This can be an expensive business but it is essential for citizens and expats alike. There are varying rates for adults, children and babies but you will receive a high level of care for everything from GP appointments to major operations. You will need to take your insurance card with you every time you visit a medical institution.

Employment: According to the OECD Better Life Index, 80% of people aged 15-64 in Switzerland have a paid job. This is one of the highest rates in the OECD. 85% of men are in paid work, compared with 75% of women. EU citizens have the same working rights as those in Switzerland. You’ll need to think about languages however if you wish to work in Switzerland. Some large international companies may not require you to speak a native language but in smaller nationals might. The good news is that you’ll be paid well. The average entry level salary is £66,671 in Switzerland compared to £27,199 in the UK.

Climate: You might think that Switzerland is very cold and covered in snow. Of course, in some regions you’ll find snow-capped peaks over the Alps but much is governed by mild maritime air from the Atlantic. In low areas such as Lake Geneva, the Rhone Valley and Ticino you’ll find Mediterranean weather in the summer. 

Education: Swiss kids are very smart. The average student scored 518 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is higher than the OECD average of 497. Children begin at Kindergarten, then move onto Volksschule (Elementary school), Gymnasium (Secondary school), Universität (University) and Fachhochschule (University of applied sciences). Most children go to pulbic schools as private institutions are very expensive.

Transport: You’ll find a vast network of public transport in Switzerland with trains, trams, buses and boats covering the entire country. You’ll be able to drive easily around the country but if cycling is your preferred option, the routes are easy to find and use. Swiss Federal Railways run the train system. You’ll need to make sure you buy a ticket before boarding, otherwise you’ll be fined steeply.

If you are considering a move to Switzerland PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receives a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 34 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance of ensuring our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

 

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.

A restaurant tour of Sydney

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

 

Nicki Mannix, Vivid

Nicki Mannix, Vivid

Sydney is a foodie haven. From a delicious smashed avocado breakfast, to a Thai lunch and Korean supper, there is something for everyone of varying tastes and budgets.

Time Out has listed its top 50 Sydney restaurants here, but if you want a quick guide to the best brunch, pizzas, cocktails and gourmet dining read on.

A good brunch with excellent coffee is not hard to find in Sydney. Think poached eggs, sourdough and a bit of rocket on the side and you won’t be disappointed. If you like the idea of some baked ricotta and Baba ganoush thrown in you may have found your food nirvana. Check out legendary chef, Bill Granger who has his own restaurant Bill’s at Bondi. The full Aussie breakfast includes scrambled eggs, cumin roast tomatoes, miso mushrooms and pork, chili and fennel sausage.

If you’re lucky enough to hit Sydney at the height of summer (and even if you’re not) the best place to get a good view, and a good meal is on the waterfront. Freshly cooked fish and chips at The Avalon on The Beach – The Kiosk and direct access to Avalon Beach is certainly a good way to spend a couple of hours, after an obligatory surfing lesson or attempt to cruise the waves. Pizza is always a great way to stave off any hunger pangs before dinner and Pizzaperta based in Pyrmont offers great tasting Italian street food and al fresco dining. Think authentic pizzas with a twist. The Waterfront Cafe at Church Point offers seafood to die for with buckets of prawns, oysters and calamari dominating the menu. The cocktail menu offering Mojitos, Bellinis and Martinis doesn’t look too shabby either.

A truly unique way to spend the day exploring Sydney’s greatest foodie destinations is an all-inclusive Taste of the Opera House tour, which takes place throughout 2017. You’ll get masterclasses in sushi and cocktail making, as well as a specially prepared lunch from Portside Sydney’s ‘hatted’ head chef Lauren Murdoch. A great one-off experience.

Unable to last between lunch and dinner, then you’ll be pleased to know that there are a variety of high tea options. A number of the luxury hotels including The Langham Sydney, The Westin Sydney and Park Hyatt offer a varying array of delicious cakes and finger sandwiches. For a more low key, but no less delicious, alternative The Gunners Barracks Tea Room offers spectacular views, peach flavoured white tea, samosas and creamy mango pudding.

Dining out in Sydney offers everything from Cantonese delights at Mr Wong’s , Middle Eastern food such as halloumi, egg plant and warm hummus at Kepos & Co and roast barramundi, ricotta ravioli and fennel salami at low-key Italian joint Sagra. Thai and Chinese restaurants feature heavily too but Time Out voted French influenced Hubert, the best of the Sydney bunch. Eating takes place in a number of different areas. So you can have a Normandy burger at the bar or share a chicken or a Riverine rib-eye in the main restaurant. All offer an excellent culinary experience.

If you are considering a move to Sydney PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receives a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 34 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance of ensuring our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

 

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.

How To Make 2017 The Year To Move Abroad

18861238246_583b9219b8_z

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

We can all make resolutions to lose weight or learn a new language on December 31st only to break them by January 2nd. But what if you want to do something really major like move to a new country and start a new life? It’s a huge commitment and one that takes some planning.

If 2017 is the year you want to realise your dream of settling abroad, we’ve listed the basic necessities to help it become a reality.

-  Check out the visa situation:

A visa is your gateway into many countries and essential if you want to emigrate and work in countries such as America, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Other places such as the UAE allow you to enter with a three month working permit, before applying for a longer stay during that time period. In Hong Kong you will need a work visa and permit before securing employment. The UK government has more advice here.

-  Take stock of the jobs on offer:

One of the biggest issues faced by those looking to move abroad is finding work. In many countries, it’s imperative you have a job offer before you can even get certain types of visas. EU residents can work within other EU countries with relative ease but in other locations it’s not so straightforward and you’ll need to check out the roles on offer before deciding to relocate. See here for New Zealand, here for Canada and here for Australia.

- Research the country to where you’d like to move:

You may like the idea of Danish ‘hygge’ or a life drinking Manhattans in New York but in reality what do you know what living in your chosen country? Do your research. Look at expat blogs, expat forums and a number of books dedicated to residing in a new country. Be fully informed about where you’re going and what you can expect from a life living there.

- List what is important to you:

Where you decide to relocate to can be as much dependent upon the lifestyle on offer as the jobs available. For many, the lure of a better climate, shorter working hours or a quality education system are right up there on the checklist. Making a list of the pros and cons of staying or leaving can help you focus on what you need and what you can live without.

-  Think about your property home and away:

You might like to hang onto your own property in the UK or you could choose to rent it out. In another instance you might sell up and put all of your finances into a new home abroad. Both will need careful planning and some thought must be given to financial and tax obligations. Check out some international estate agent websites and see what you can afford in your new locations too. You may be pleasantly surprised – or disappointed – about the cost.

-  Talk to an international removals company:

Last but not least, contact a removals company such as PSS International Removals about your options for transporting your belongings. You may want to take just a few boxes or the entire contents of your house and the removals company will be able to give your guidance and pricing for both. They can also give you advice about customs.

If you are considering a move abroad PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receives a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 34 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance of ensuring our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.

Photo credit: New York City Sunrise, by Anthony Quintano https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

How The World Celebrates New Year’s Eve

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

 

mandalaybus, Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

mandalaybus, Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

 

The 31st of December is for many the chance to celebrate the end of one year and welcome in another. It can either be a time for quiet reflection or riotous parties, dependent upon your mood or location.

With 39 different local times in use, it takes 26 hours for the New Year to be seen in around the world. First to say goodbye to 2016 and hello 2017 will be Tonga in the South Pacific, before moving across countries including New Zealand, Australia, Japan, India, Moscow, United Kingdom, Canada and America.

If you find yourself in a new country for the first time, you may not know what to expect from New Year’s Eve, so here’s a PSS guide to that all important night.

Australia: New Year is lively in Australia. The main hubs for huge firework displays are Sydney and Melbourne. The familiar site of 80,000 fireworks going off over Sydney Harbour Bridge is one most won’t forget. Melbourne too throws huge parties on the 31st and more information about events can be found here.

Japan: It’s a much quieter affair in Japan over New Year but some traditions revolve around TV and buckwheat noodles. On New Year’s Eve families sit down to view Kohaku Uta Gassen, a four-and-a-half hour TV programme involving the most successful musical artists of the year. Food served will include Toshikoshi soba which heralds good luck and long life. At midnight temple bells will ring 108 times and crowds will begin to visit the shrines and celebrate the New Year.

New Zealand: The Auckland Sky Tower is one of the best places to catch the midnight fireworks in Auckland. If you’re in Queenstown head to Earnslaw Park from 7:30pm for views of the festivities. Take a picnic and chill out listening to live music in the capital Wellington where all the action takes place at Frank Kitts Park.

Moscow: Take in the Christmas tree in Red Square, which acts as the centre point to Moscow’s New Year celebrations. You probably won’t find more spectacular sights than fireworks going off around the statues of Lenin and iconic buildings such as the Kremlin Tower (which shows the final minutes before New Year’s Eve). The New Year holiday lasts from 1st-5th January. Families serve delicious appetizers, sparkling wine and Oliver salad (known as a Russian salad elsewhere!).

Sweden: Swedes like to spend December 31st with their friends and it’s a very lavish affair. Expect beautifully laid tables, delicious lobster meals and well-dressed guests.  In Stockholm the countdown takes place at Skansen open air museum, where a bell chimes and Tennyson’s poem Ring Out, Wild Bells is read.  All over Sweden church bells will ring too.

Hong Kong: For a truly spectacular display of fireworks and celebrations head to Victoria Harbour on Hong Kong’s waterfront for 10 minutes of pyromusical displays. Stay until January 28th (Chinese New Year’s Day) and you’ll see an amazing New Year Night Parade complete with floats marching bands and costumed characters. The Year of the Rooster will certainly get off to a flying start.

If you are considering a move abroad PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receives a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 34 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance of ensuring our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.

Travelling With Small Children At Christmas

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

f1uffster (Jeanie) MSH0410 *Airport*

f1uffster (Jeanie) MSH0410 *Airport*

 

Christmas is for many a time for being with family, and if you’re living abroad that means there is the likelihood you’ll be hopping on a plane or jumping in a car to get home in time for the festive season.

This in itself isn’t an issue, in fact it’s usually a time of great excitement. However, add in a young – or a number of – young children, and the journey could be full of highs and lows. Travelling with small children can be exhausting, with time differences, boredom, lack of sleep and inadequate food, only adding to the heady mix of tension.

Experts recommend that the only way to survive the journey with your sanity in tact, is to be prepared. We’ve prepared a list below of ideas to keep the children – and you – happy.

1. Load up on apps: You may not be the biggest fan of technology but using it whilst on the move could save you a lot of anguish. Flight delays and traffic jams may well be inevitable over the festive period so load up on the best tech has to offer. You can always limit their access over time, but if you’re in need of some peace and quiet, they will be the way to go. See here for a list of the best apps for your children from toddlers to teens.

2. Be prepared: Many years ago you may have travelled without much thought given to time zones and stopovers. But if you now have a toddler in tow this relaxed attitude to travelling will probably be best avoided. Plan your flights in advance to keep waiting around at the airport to a minimum. The quickest route will be the safest. Skyscanner has a great list of flights across a number of airlines.

3. Make sure you have all the correct documentation: You may need special insurance or documents if you’re travelling with a child who has recently had an operation, or one that has been adopted. Visas will also be needed for children so make sure you have these to hand if this is something you require.

4. Pack a bag for each child: A favourite toy, colouring book or game could help while away the hours. Pack them in a separate rucksack to everyone else’s gear to avoid the hassle of finding it when you really need it. No one wants to hunt for hours for a nappy! Older kids could pack their own, but don’t let small children do it. You’ll probably end up with nothing useful. Trunki’s are still big favourites for small children.

5. Keep it simple: You can’t possibly load the car or your hand luggage with everything you may need. Kids like simple things too. A game of eye spy at the airport can keep a child very happy, especially if it involves moving around and spotting interesting things. Stuck in a car? A game of Top Trumps can easily alleviate boredom.

6. Plan your meals: Hungry children are inevitably miserable children. And who can blame them? If you are travelling through the night, you might be lucky enough to avoid too many food extras, but it is best to be prepared. Favourite snacks such as bread sticks or rice cakes, small sandwiches and treats can help fight hunger and tiredness in even the weariest travellers. However, check restrictions on what can and can’t be taken in hand luggage.

7. Keep to a routine: Most kids like to know what’s going to happen, and when. This is tricky when you’re travelling but if you bring out familiar items at certain times of the day, you’ll be one step ahead. Carry a toothbrush, PJ’s and a pillow for night-time journeys and during the day, attempt a midday nap with a snuggle and their favourite toy.

If you are considering a move abroad PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receives a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 34 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance of ensuring our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.

A City Guide To Vancouver

15070603679_a559ea18a2_z

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

Vancouver is a coastal sea port on Canada’s south west coast on the mainland of British Columbia. It has over 600,000 residents and is the largest city in British Columbia.

Weather:

Vancouver has one of the warmest climates in the country. You’ll find relatively mild winters – with temperatures staying above freezing and a distinct lack of snow, and in the summer the heady highs will be around the mid 20s. That said, you haven’t found a weather nirvana. It rains, and rains a lot, in Vancouver It will rain for 17 days a month through the winter, so you’ll need a raincoat! Due to its location it may also be quote foggy and windy. Given the fact that much of Canada is under inches of snow, you’ll get off lightly in Vancouver.

Housing:

The most recent reports show that house prices in Vancouver are going down. The average home price is $1.1 million (£656,767), which is a 24.5% on the three months prior to the survey. This might still be quite steep in terms of costings for many Brits so it’s worth thinking about this before you move. Due to its location, locked in by mountains and sea, much of the accommodation is high rise apartments. There are great suburbs of Burnaby, Langley and Surrey. Renting is always an option. Check out both options on online.

Schools:

There is a good array of co-ed free schools in Vancouver. To find out more about the school system, see here. All districts have catchment areas for certain schools so it’s worth considering this if you definitely want your child to go to a particular one. Your child cannot attend school unless you have a Confirmation of Landing or Permanent Residency. The school year runs from September – June and if you’re moving within these months, it’s worth remembering you may not get a place in your favourite school.

Parks:

Stanley Park is Vancouver’s largest park, covering 400-hectares of the natural West Coast rainforest as well as wonderful views, mountains and historical landmarks. There’s an aquarium, swimming pool, the Stanley Park train, tour buses and plenty of walking and cycling tracks. Not to be missed are the First Nations art at the Brockton Point Visitor Centre and the nine Totem poles. A true oasis in the heart of the city.

Museums:

There are a large number of public art trails around Vancouver and more information can be found here. The Museum of Vancouver and Vancouver Art Gallery has a wide range of exhibitions and family event. Also, look out for Science World British Columbia, UBC Museum of Anthropology and the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

Restaurants and Bars:

There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy really good, fresh and sustainable food in Vancouver. Everything from five-star cuisine to food trucks offer great options to diners. Wild salmon, spot prawns and mussels are just some of the delicious ingredients available. Be prepared for international cuisine with chefs taking their influences from places such as Japan, Germany and India. If you want to find out more about where to eat and what to eat and when, see here.

If you are considering a move abroad PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receives a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 34 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance of ensuring our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.

Image: Coal Harbor, Vancouver by tdlucas5000 published under creative commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

 

How To Celebrate Your First Christmas Abroad

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

Heath Cajandig, Only Chance of a White Christmas

Heath Cajandig, Only Chance of a White Christmas

At a time when most of us are used to being surrounded by family and friends, celebrating Christmas many miles away from the familiar traditions, can be one of the hardest times of the year.

If you usually celebrate December with turkey and all the trimmings, finding yourself in a country that has its festivities on Christmas Eve (Sweden and Denmark) or in 100’ degree heat (Australia) might all be a little strange. You may even be somewhere where December 25th is not recognised as a national holiday.

The key to surviving the holiday season is embracing the new whilst keeping one eye on the past. Here we’ve put together a survival guide for those facing their first Christmas in a new country. Our eight point plan should keep you busy.

* Keep up with the folks back home: Time differences aside, there’s no reason why you can’t wish your nearest and dearest a Happy Christmas. Book in a FaceTime or Skype slot and make sure you’ve got those Christmas jumpers on.

* Decide which traditions are important to you. The weather may be different but there will be no harm in keeping to those themes that you’ve followed every year. The kids will appreciate a familiar set-up, as will you.

* Say ‘yes’ to a festive invite. You may not have your family around so if someone invites you over for drinks or even lunch, agree. This will give you a chance to meet new friends * and also see how those who live in the country celebrate.

* Cook the meal that’s important to you. If there really is no option but having turkey followed by Christmas pudding, just go with it. Sitting down as a family and eating familiar food will make you feel closer to home than ever.

* Invite your family over to stay with you. What better time to have guests over than Christmas. If you’ve moved to colder climates, the chance to see snow, or maybe go skiing may be a great draw. Everyone dreams of a white Christmas after all.

* Encourage friends and family to send pictures and letters from home, detailing their year. You may have seen this all on Facebook before but new pictures and gossip from back home can certainly put a smile on your face.

* Over the festive period, keep busy. Plan to go to the cinema, out for dinner, to the beach or invite the neighbours around. There will be nothing worse than a quiet time, when you’re missing those you left behind.

* Embrace the new. You’ve made a big move so enjoy it. There’s something exciting about the unknown so go with the flow. You may enjoy it more than you thought.

If you are considering a move abroad PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receives a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 34 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance of ensuring our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

 

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.

What Can I Expect From The Swedish Childcare System?

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

 

Shauna Hawkins, Family Fun

Shauna Hawkins, Family Fun

Managing childcare around parental work responsibilities is for a many an expensive juggle of office hours, nursery costs and limited availability. But in Sweden there seems the almost enviable situation of having great employment opportunities for working mothers, supported by flexible working hours and leave for both parents.

No wonder it often ranks highly as one of the best countries to bring up children. A survey in 2015 rated it third in the world for availability of childcare and education, cost of childcare and education, quality of education and family well-being. It was only beaten by Austria and Finland.

Sweden’s childcare principles are based around the idea that family life is very important. In order to support that family life, the state provide excellent facilities for children, so both parents can earn a salary. Women are actively encouraged to return to work and for the most part, many of them do.

In 2014, 73.1% of women were employed in Sweden, which was close to that of men, which is 76.5%. In fact, measured in 2014 again the employment rate of mothers with children under the age of 6, stood at 79.2% is the third highest in the EU.

The childcare benefits kick in as soon as the baby is born. Swedish parents are offered long, paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted. In fact, parents are given 480 paid leave of which 390 days allow for 80% of salary being given. The remaining days are paid at a flat rate. Parents are also allowed to ask for flexible working rights and can legally work shorter hours. Men and women can share the parental leave in whatever way they feel most suitable.

In the UK the rights are very different. Women are entitled to a maximum of 52 weeks (365 days) statuary maternity leave. Rates are dependent upon separate employment contracts. See here for more information.

After a year, parents can send their children to preschool, where all children are offered and guaranteed a place. The preschools are open from 6.30am-6.30pm and can also function around shifts, nights and weekend roles. When children reach the ages of 3-6 years, childcare provision is free for up to 15 hours a week. Before this time, costs are based upon a parent’s income and can be up to 3% of their salary. The Swedish government also provides a monthly child allowance which many parents offset against childcare fees. To see how much your Swedish income affords you in terms of benefits check here.

Schooling continues to be free for children from the ages of 6-19, with free school lunches added to the mix. University is also free to Swedish residents and those from the EU.

Of course, there is a price to be paid for all of this free or heavily subsidzed childcare. The Swedes can pay up to 30% of income tax on their salaries. Those that earn over 591,600 Krona (around £52,000) pay the top rate. In contrast with many countries, Swedes almost welcome – or tolerate – high taxes as they see them helping the society in which they live. If you want to find out more about living in Sweden, and whether you drink as much coffee as the average population, see here.

If you are considering a move abroad PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receives a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 34 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance of ensuring our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.