Thousands of Brits have decided to ditch the UK and make the move to sunnier countries. Australia is popular thanks to its surfer lifestyle and better pay – but Spain is one of the top choices for British expats.
One town stands out among the rest for its high number of British residents: Benidorm. Those who have made the move have done so for business, the weather, the beaches and even the "better" healthcare.
However, one expat expert claims there’s a major mistake that Brits who arrive in Benidorm make – and while he's talking about expats, it easily applies to holidaymakers too.
READ MORE: 'I ditched UK for Benidorm – there's better healthcare, parties and cheap drinks'
Esteban Touma, Babbel Live Teacher and Cultural Expert at Babbel told the Daily Star:
"One common mistake that can be made is relying solely on a native language and not attempting to learn or use Spanish. This can create barriers to communication and limit one’s ability to connect with locals.
"While it's natural to seek out fellow expats for support, exclusively socialising within expat circles might limit opportunities to interact with locals and integrate into the broader community. What’s more, avoiding participation in local events and activities can hinder the chances of meeting and connecting with locals."
It's not difficult to see why Benidorm is such a hit with Brits looking to move to sunnier shores.
Esteban explained: "Benidorm's picturesque beaches and coastal landscapes offer a serene backdrop for daily life. Spain's rich history, culture, and culinary offerings appeal to many expats looking to immerse themselves in a new way of life.
"Additionally, the potential for a more affordable cost of living and the chance to embrace a different pace of life can act as significant draws. Compared to the UK and other parts of Western Europe, the cost of living in Benidorm can be more affordable, including lower housing costs, utility expenses, and even dining out."
However, he warned that if you assume the social rules are the same in Spain as the UK, you could be setting yourself up for failure.
He explained: "It's important to recognise and respect the cultural differences that exist in Spain. Overlooking or disregarding local customs, traditions, and etiquette can be seen as disrespectful. For example, siesta is an important cultural practice in Spain.
"Not being mindful of businesses and activities that might close during siesta hours can lead to misunderstandings." Thankfully, that doesn't mean you have to give up everything British – you can still enjoy a good fry up!
Esteban added: "Brits don't need to give up their culture, but adapting to certain Spanish cultural norms is crucial for a harmonious reception. Spanish culture places a strong emphasis on family and social connections, so participating in local gatherings and valuing interpersonal relationships is important.
"The siesta tradition and dining schedules are also integral aspects of Spanish life to be mindful of, as they shape daily routines and interactions. Having said this, sharing your own cultural and social values from the UK is by no means ruled out.
"This sharing of experiences can lead to deeper relationships with the locals, and you can learn and understand more about the world from one another."
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Here at Daily Star we've spoken to a number of Brits in Benidorm before. Michelle Baker, from England, has lived there for 40 years. She says that holidaymakers make a silly mistake that ruins their trip on the first day.
Meanwhile, Frank the Stag Man moved to the Spanish town to run stag and hen dos. He claims the strippers, boozy games and bar crawls are far wilder than you'll find in the UK.
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