Category Archives: Travel

In love with Abruzzo!

9370171218_7bfdfd9602_zGuest post by: Zoe Adams

I had been searching for a year for a property close to Lake Bracciano near Rome. My decision was made after two amazing trips to Rome in 2013, it was clear to me that Italy was my chosen country to buy a second home. I have spent a lifetime searching for the place I most want to be, rather than the place I have to be. At 52, single again, after 30 years and with my two children, the time was right for me.

It was the very early on a Sunday morning on 26th October 2014 when I found my little house. It was really by accident. In the last months my Mother had sadly died and I was in a state of grief, I had put life on hold. However going through the day to day motions of living and really not thinking so much, I found myself looking on the website I had been using for the last year in my search for a home in Bracciano. This time I widened the search. My criteria was to find a small house that was in sound condition that I could make nice with a little bit of work. It had to be near a lake and it had to be within a village or town, it also had to be beautiful. If it was near an airport this would make it accessible and a good road or train network would be essential.

There it was, photos of the house, the lake. The small convenient size, the original features of the ceilings and floors. I was sitting up and paying attention! Within minutes I had looked more on to the internet to see where the village and the lake was situated in Italy. Within an hour I had contacted the estate agent and asked the main questions regarding the condition of the house. I had carried out some internet research for the area, to find out as much as I could.

A reply came quite fast from the estate agent with all the right answers. By the next evening I had arranged a flight to see the house for the 10th November. The estate agent asked me if I wanted to see others, I looked at the selection, I chose one other to be polite, but it felt clear to me I had found my house.

I came into the village a day early on the Sunday November 10th. As I was driving on my journey to the village my breath was taken away by the sheer beauty of the area. Mountains and sea both together at one point of my journey. It felt too good to be true. When I came around the corner and the village was visible, it felt like I had arrived in Paradise. I honestly could not believe how beautiful the village looked. On arrival, I felt the sense of delight as I walked through the small network of streets throughout the village. I saw the men talking on the Piazza, the smell of good home cooked food rising through the streets, the people coming out of the church.

The next morning I was due to meet the estate agent, again I came early, this time I met and spoke to the people I saw, I used my very poor Italian which amounted to no more than about 20 words. This included a very interesting conversation with the men that morning who were all clustered around an APE van with at least 20 pots of sand. To start I thought it was a building project and they were comparing the sand for the best to use, but it turned out to be pots of germinating asparagus! To this day they will all remember that time when that strange English woman was asking about what they were doing.

When I saw the house I was completely sure, it was everything and more than I could have wished for.

In less than a month the 10th of December I had the key and the house was mine.

It had not been an easy journey from Vasto and I was totally exhausted from a busy week at work. When I finally arrived I had no electricity, water and it was just about to be a holiday weekend. Within minutes of arrival my neighbour had brought me a camp bed and put an electric extension cable through to allow me to see. By Saturday morning the police man had come to help by putting on the water for me and he arranged for a man to bring me some wood (it was that or freeze) and by the Tuesday I had power that was brought through the street from a neighbours house (directly across from my house) via assistance from the local building firm.

Within a few months the house was transformed from empty house needing love to a beautiful home with furniture and all the help I could possibly ask for. At one point during the work there was at least 4 men in the bathroom singing together while they worked. I am very grateful to those who made my house so beautiful.

Abruzzo has changed my life beyond my wildest dreams. I could never have believed the changes it has brought to me and my life. It has made me think very differently about the future and how I will enjoy both life in the UK and at my little house. I have also been exploring my love of painting and art which I hope to pursue and maybe exhibit and sell one day in the UK and Italy. Currently

Zoe Adams In love with Abruzzo!

my plan is to spend six months in UK and 6 months in Abruzzo. It is my hope that my friends and family can stay in the house and that they too can enjoy the village.

The greatest gift of all has been Emilia my next door neighbour aged 84. We have found a bond of love that has been with us from the start. We have spent many hours together and despite our differences in language we manage easily to understand each other. I have heard many wonderful stories from her about the times when she was a young woman. She is never short of things that we can do together to enjoy. Emilia is a remarkable woman and I feel the luckiest woman in the world to be her neighbour.

For a foreign woman arriving in a new village alone I have been totally amazed by the kindness and help and welcome I have received had from everybody. I have immersed myself into the life here and although I have had many challenges and it has not always been easy for me its been an adventure and a truly wonderful experience that I know I will continue to enjoy for many years to come.

Viva Italia viva Abruzz

Image: Abruzzo, Italy by Catherine Wilson no changes made

Advice on taking your pet to a new country

"AKC Great Falls June 2011" by SheltieBoy - Flickr: AKC Great Falls June 2011. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

“AKC Great Falls June 2011” by SheltieBoy – Flickr: AKC Great Falls June 2011. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

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

According to recent news reports, a dog a day is currently being caught travelling into the UK on a forged passport with breeders from all over the world trying to smuggle dogs into the country using fake documents.

However, leaving the UK and moving abroad with your pet is actually a lot easier than you might think and doesn’t present the need for such desperate measures.

Unless there is a concrete reason as to why your beloved dog, cat, rabbit or guinea pig can’t make the move, it’s something that really shouldn’t deter you. Whilst the loss of a much-loved animal can be devastating, taking them abroad can really aid your family in settling into your new home. Besides, families who, as children, moved overseas without their treasured pets, often report being upset at leaving them behind. Some never even forgave their parents so don’t allow the same to happen to you!

With this in mind, whilst your new country’s climate and possible quarantine regulations may be a major deciding factor, should you decide to leave without your pet, be sure to discuss the situation carefully with your family to alleviate any potential problems. Here are some useful websites, resources and related businesses worth reviewing before having that all-important conversation:

Transfur animals

UK Government advice on taking your pet abroad

Pet Travel

Pet Plan

Procedures vary for every country of origin and destination so we highly recommend employing a specialist pet relocation agent such as PSS International Removals who can offer you advice as well as put you in touch with our own tried and tested pet specialist.

Regardless of which company you choose, as soon as you know when and where you’ll be moving, contact your vet to make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date. Some will need to take place on specific dates prior to your relocation, so be sure to formulate a schedule and try to stick to it as rigidly as possible.

You should also have your pet fully inspected to ensure that it will withstand the journey by air. For example, some dog breeds have been known not to travel well due to their respiratory problems so make sure you seek professional advice well in advance. Always ask and research the various airlines for their pet relocation options because most have different regulations.

Once you’ve decided upon which company to use to transport your pet, your chosen company should then start preparing a crate for their journey. Again, every airline will have slightly different rules and regulations but in general, the crate needs to comply with airline and government regulations as well as be the correct size for your pet. It is the responsibility of the company transporting your pet to ensure that the crate has been manufactured large enough for them to stand, sit and lie down in a natural, comfortable position. Get this part wrong and you may face the shock of your pet not being allowed on the plane!

Make sure they have a microchip, collar and ID tag and that their name and details are clearly marked on the crate. Include your pet’s name, your name as well as the destination address and a telephone number.

In an effort to be extra-organised, create a file containing copies of all the relevant paperwork, vaccination certificates and microchip number so that everything’s together in one place. It may also be useful to include a photo of your pet, details of its species, breed and colour as well as size. Do also keep a note of any relevant contact details such as your vet and your pet relocation or removals agent.

It should be noted that assistance dogs are allowed to travel in the aircraft cabin with their owner on approved routes and carriers registered to carry assistance dogs. They can normally also travel on other forms of transport where other animals aren’t allowed. The Guide Dogs Association website has advice about taking assistance dogs abroad.

PSS International Removals offer a wide range of shipping and removal services, as well as advice and recommendations from our panel of tried-and-tested professional companies to ensure that your move goes as smoothly as possible. Our chosen pet specialist will ensure that your pet’s needs are catered for and that they arrive at your new destination fit and well.

Furthermore, they will be able to advise you on everything from import and export permits, welfare, vaccinations, kennels, flights and special crates for the airline including quarantine rules.

For more information or for our pet partner to contact you, please click this link, select the pet migration country you plan to move to, scroll down to the ‘Pet Transport’ section and click ‘Enquire Now’ to fill out a simple form.


Shipping your car abroad

By ヤマモトキョージ (Own work (投稿者撮影)) [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons

By ヤマモトキョージ (Own work (投稿者撮影)) [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons

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

Your move to a new country will raise many questions, not just in relation to how you get there, but what you need to take with you, and what to buy when you arrive. Perhaps one of the biggest costs in relation to the ‘take with you or buy new’ question is your mode of transport. For most of us that means do you take your car or buy one in your new country?

Shipping a vehicle these days really isn’t as complicated or expensive as you might think; although there are many factors to consider.

For example, you may discover your steering wheel being positioned on the opposite side to what you are used to back home. Also, did you know that the cost of any car shipping quote can often depend on your specific make and model of car, which country you are shipping it to and via which service? The length of delivery can also largely depend on which country it is going to and the transit time can range from two to twelve weeks depending on the distance & Service type.

Many worry that they might have to pay taxes when importing their car but this all depends on the destination, how long you’ve been the owner and whether or not you are a first time immigrant or returning citizen.

Most countries either offer tax-free entry on cars for all first time immigrants and citizens, or free entry if you originally left your country of origin with no intention of returning. It’s also worth bearing in mind that some countries do charge taxes based on the purchase price of the value of the car and you should always research into whether or not your driving license might be recognised in your new country.

Always make a note of your car’s condition and ask the removal men the necessary questions should you discover scratches or dents upon arrival at your new destination. Be aware that most removal companies, including PSS International Removals will also ask you to provide keys to the many car locks you may have installed.

In terms of pre-shipping logistics, it is vital that you advise the DVLA that you will be exporting your vehicle and complete and return the relevant section on your V5 (log book) document to them. Always ensure that the exterior of your car is steam cleaned 24-48 hours before loading, with special attention being given to the wheels and wheel arches. It is also advisable to keep hold of the receipt and supply a copy to your removals company should they need it.

Some countries may even require your car to conform to its own transport policy before they will grant import approval, so in most cases this should be done prior to shipment. Common requirements of conformity would be road safety or environmental, however PSS International Removals will always advise you of any certificate or statement that you might need to complete or obtain.

When removal day arrives, your removals company should supply you with all of the necessary information and if we are not loading your car at your residence we will advise you where to take your car so that it is ready to be loaded onto the vessel.

When the shipping process begins costs and procedures greatly depends on where your car is being transported to, how much you are willing to spend and whether or not you intend to ship any of your household contents at the same time.

If you are only shipping your car then PSS International Removals offer the option to send it via our ‘Roll on Roll off’ service where your vehicle is driven onto a vessel and secured for the entire journey. Alternatively, PSS can arrange to have your car secured and containerized either at your residence or at one of UK depots.

If you are intending on consolidating your household effects and your car inside one container, PSS would load and secure your car and build a wooden frame and crate around it to ensure that it is fully protected and sectioned-off. PSS would then utilize the additional container space containing your household contents.

Upon arrival at your new destination, your car will either be unloaded at your door or handed out at our depot or in some circumstances at the port/container base. Some countries may then carry out a full inspection of the vehicle to ensure that it is road worthy and the safety features are in line with their own transport policy. It is not uncommon for some cars to even be steam cleaned again upon arrival.

At PSS, we believe it is essential that when you are shipping your car or vehicle you have peace of mind in knowing that professionals will handle it. PSS International Removals are fully bonded members of the British Association of Removers (BAR Overseas), IMMI (International Movers Mutual Insurance), FIDI (Global alliance) we have also been awarded with FAIM accreditation, which is the international removal industries quality standard.
For more information and a free quote, please click the following link.

Life in Canada

The magical land of maples, Mounties and manners!


"Lake Louise Canada Banff" by Guenter Wieschendahl - Own Work--Eigenaufnahme. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -

“Lake Louise Canada Banff” by Guenter Wieschendahl – Own Work–Eigenaufnahme. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –

“We are genuine and authentic, honest and are leaders to the world on so many fronts. I believe heavily in the words to our anthem “with glowing hearts” and “True North strong and free.”

–          Kaillie Humphries, the first woman to win gold in the bobsleigh at consecutive Olympics

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

Canada has plenty to boast about. Not that boasting is something Canadians do comfortably. It’s no wonder Canada ranked first choice migration destination amongst British and Irish visitors to recent Working International Expo’s.

So why do we love it? It has a strong, stable economy that escaped the recession, along with a great education system. The landscape is fantastically diverse and beautiful, having provided the backdrop for many famous films, for example, Twilight, Brokeback Mountain and Titanic. It also has lots of fresh air, literally – Canada’s air quality was ranked 3rd best in the world!

Considering the appeal of the country, here are a few things you may be interested to know should you be planning a move there.


Life in Canada



Each Canadian citizen and permanent resident is entitled to health insurance in Canada. The system is fair and created to cater for peoples need for healthcare, giving them access to doctors and hospitals, as opposed to focussing on their ability to pay for it.



Education is free of charge in Canada for every child starting at the age of four or five. Children can legally drop out of school once they are sixteen, however, all children are encouraged to stay in school until the age of eighteen.



The UK state pension is payable in Canada. However, once you are no longer residing in the UK you will not receive the annual increases. Your benefit will stay at the same rate as when you left the UK.

As a worker in Canada, you and your employer are subject to social insurance laws. There is a three pillar pension system when you retire, it is at that point you will establish your pension entitlements after analysing the pillars.



You only need routine vaccinations. For those looking to get stuck in with activities that might bring you into direct contact with bats, carnivores and other mammals, both Hepatitis B and rabies vaccinations are recommended.



Canada is the second largest country in the world. It can take a week to drive from one part of the country to the other, and it falls within six different time zones. Therefore, it is no surprise that the weather in Canada varies depending on the location. Ontario has notably cold winters and Manitoba is the coldest winter province with average daily temperatures of -25.1 C. Areas such as Victoria in British Colombia tends to have the most temperate weather all year round and experience the hottest summers. However, Canada definitely experiences four different seasons. You will see sun, you will see snow.


Working in Canada:


“This is a country where people are given a chance. We don’t have a class structure like so many other countries in the world. If you are willing to work hard, this country welcomes you.”

 –       John Sleeman, founder and chairman of Sleeman Breweries

To work in Canada any educational or professional accreditations gained outside of Canada will need to be assessed. These assessments can be made by your employer or an appropriate provincial or territorial regulatory body.

An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) of your complete educational credentials outside of Canada is used to validate your achievements. This process will then make your application to immigrate as a Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) eligible.



Here’s a list of hourly wages in Canada to allow you to compare you profession in the UK.

Canadian Wages 1
Here’s a list of weekly wages in Canada for a variety of professions. Mining and oil/gas drilling are particularly well paid sectors to enter should you have the relevant skills.

Canadian Wages2


Holiday entitlement:

Most Canadian employers offer 10 – 15 days holiday each year.

Canada has ten national holidays. They are; New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas and  Boxing Day.

Most Canadian provinces have a further day’s holiday additional to the national holidays. Residents of Alberta enjoy two days’ provincial holiday and those living in Newfoundland are particularly lucky, with six days of provincial holidays.


How can we help?

If you are at the stage where you are planning your move to Canada we have more in depth information on the documentation you will require, what you can and can’t take and what happens when you arrive on our international shipping and removals to Canada page. We also offer a FREE pre-move survey carried out by our friendly experts.


South Africa – New regulations on travelling with children

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

From safaris to skyscrapers, South Africa is a unique and exciting place to either holiday or start a new life. If you and your family are planning to travel there, it’s important to make sure that you tick all the legal boxes asked of you. As new regulations are soon to be imposed, take a look at what you need to prepare with our simple checklist.

What’s changing?

From 1st June 2015, there will be tighter rules designed to improve child safety. There will be specific paperwork that you need when travelling with children under the age of 18. This will affect joint parents, single parents and other guardians, as all will be asked to show relevant certificates for the children travelling.

What do the experts think?

South Africa saw tourism surge by 284% between 2005 and 2011. Recently ranked as the second fastest-growing holiday destination in the world, 1 in 20 jobs in the country operate in the travel and tourism industry. Because tourism is so important to the country, those who work in the industry are worried that these new rules might be off-putting to families. Dr Anna Spenceley, a tourism specialist based in South Africa, said that “a proper study and evaluation should be undertaken [which] should include implications for normal travellers”.

Going to South Africa?

With such a beautiful and diverse landscape, the perks of travelling to South Africa far outweigh the short-lived trouble of getting there.  Here we’ve created a simple checklist which breaks down the different documentation you will require depending on your circumstances. Most importantly, you’ll need birth certificates, which are fairly easy to get hold of:

– Head to the General Registration Office to order your certificates
– Pay £9.25 for a certificate within three weeks
– Pay £23.40 for a fast-track service taking a couple of working days
– In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the route is similar with slightly more expensive costs
– Alternatively, if you know where your children’s births were registered, you may be able to print certificates off at this specific office

South Africa immigration regulations 2015