“Just remember that you have to have a visa that allows for legal employment. Non-EU citizens are not legally allowed to work without a special work visa.”
Editor's Note: We have many links in this article to other articles that may offer more information. I encourage you to explore the website and see all that Affordable Mallorca has to offer you.
Everyone says you won’t know if you can make Mallorca your home until you’ve spent a winter here. Having spent my first full winter here, I can fully agree that this is true! As a seasonal worker, you are absorbed in a bubble of six months of pure fun - sun, sand and sangria. You work long days and party well into the night. Even if you’re not a party goer, you’ll stroll along the beach in the late summer sun or watch the stars cluster in the clear night sky. A summer on Mallorca is completely idyllic: you’ll fall in love with everything about the place and everyone in it. And, more often than not, this is the moment where Mallorca takes your heart and refuses to give it back. That’s certainly what happened to me.
However, your first winter can be tough. The tan begins to fade, friends embark on their travels, your summer sweetheart may return to their hometown and suddenly it’s just you and the Island. And while Mallorca is beautiful, sometimes you need more than that to find pure happiness here. In this guide, I shall endeavour to give you all the information you need to get through the winter if you are among the many season workers who, like me, are on a contract during the summer season and have to be creative for the rest of the year.
Government Benefits: 'Paro' #
Depending on your work contract, how long you’ve been resident on the island and inputting into the tax system, you may be entitled to claim paro. This is a ‘benefits’ system offered by the Spanish government allowing you, if you qualify, to claim a percentage of your last salary to help you fund yourself throughout the winter. Read all about the requirements to meet and how to claim >>
Season Saving Tips #
During the summer months, it’s far too easy to spend your money. A glass of wine after work each night, booking an overnight trip to Palma or that special spa day that seems completely affordable while working, needs to be factored into your total annual budget. We do need to be sensible about what we spend and what we save.
Consider what you really need to live on. Mallorca’s way of life can be relatively affordable. Shopping at the local markets, free days spent on the beach and taking long walks across the Tramuntana cost little to nothing. If you are on a work package where your accommodation and food are provided, it is a very good idea to set yourself a small budget for ‘spending’ and placing the rest into a savings account. If you have to pay out for rent, petrol, bills etc. then create a menu so you know what you need for meals and budget this way. Although it sounds a tad boring, being strict with your salary in the summer can help make your winter far more enjoyable.
Time for Yourself – and earn bit of money on the side #
The island gets so quiet after months of millions of tourists. Indulge in the fact that you have several months to yourself and use this time to your advantage.
Reading is a fabulous way to transport yourself to another place - whether you choose to read at home, take a trip to the local library or perhaps sit in the local bar for a few hours, sipping a cortado and losing yourself in the fantasy of a novel - now’s the time to do it!
And for the times when you feel like doing something a little more ‘hands on’? How about volunteering to help out your neighbours or local businesses and charities?
Affordable Mallorca supports ARCA Patrimoni, SAVE THE MED and Baldea, the Federation of Balearic Animal Protection Associations. Each organization needs support - not just financial support but volunteers are always welcome to help care for the animals by taking them for walks, helping clean kennels and more.
I know you can find someone to help or a group to join that gets you out of yourself. This is a great way to socialize with locals and expand your circle of friends – and it's completely free. If you are a pet lover, why not get in touch with one of the many animal shelters across the island? They are always in need of dog walkers and cat cuddlers. Your services would be greatly appreciated.
If you have that kind of talent, you could also offer to do a bit of handy work for your neighbours , perhaps painting or gardening, or even simply a bit of housework - many people with a demanding job, or those who are a little elderly struggle to do all of these tasks alone. In this way, you could make some extra money. Make sure you settle a price before beginning the work and then follow through professionally - you are taking on a responsibility and you should take it seriously. With a job well-done you'll perhaps find this leads to other work.
Looking for More Serious Job Opportunities? #
The island of Mallorca with its international expat scene attracts creative people from all over the globe seeking to fulfill dreams of their own business; and every new business on the island adds to the number of career opportunities for those who want to bridge the job gap in the colder season. What you need to succeed? Read more on The Secrets of Expat Success
With the right mindset and skills, new year-round job opportunities might, for example, be found in the movie business which has recently discovered Mallorca as the place to be. To find out more, read this article on Mallorca as a Second Hollywood
If yachting and travel are your thing, here’s an article by my friend, Delia who wrote about her life as a Yacht Stewardess. That is not an easy life but the money is good and affords you the opportunity to see the world. Plenty of opportunities around Palma to join a crew.
Use the Quiet Time to Learn the Language #
One thing is for sure, though: to learn the language is your gateway into local life! It's not only about being able to sit in a cafe and speak to anyone who passes by. It is a matter of survival as non-seasonal jobs are hard to find and harder to come by if your only language is English.
During the winter months the local town halls in almost every area of the island offer classes in a variety of languages, with Spanish (Castellano) and Catalan being two of the options. Both are spoken here on the island, although my advice is to learn Spanish first as it’s more widely accepted across the rest of Spain, and you’ll find you pick up a few Catalan phrases along the way. As well as making friends, learning the language is essential for residing here in the winter, as you might get very lonely in the quiet season if you don't. And many businesses and trades people (especially outside of Palma) do not speak English or other languages. Had I not learned any Spanish I would have struggled when my boiler broke last January!
And while we speak of learning: Why not use all that time you have on your hands in the quiet season to hone your professional skills - to learn a craft, to acquire some sort of sought-after expertise, to get an online University degree. I have an American friend who wanted to speak German and took a primer course at her local Ayuntament that was free for locals. Do anything that will improve your chances on the job market so that by this time next year you might be set up with a job that tides you over comfortably.
Use the Local Markets #
The beauty of the winter months in Mallorca is how much time you have, so say goodbye to eating out and take-away dinners and invest yourself into cooking. For buying your ingredients, markets can be a far more affordable option, especially during the winter months when money is a little tighter. Not only are you supporting the local traders, but you are allowing yourself to sample the best seasonal products; which is the perfect excuse for getting all your friends together for a large hearty meal once a week! And this, in turn, is the best way to avoid the winter blues.
My friends from long ago would get together at least once a week and have a large dinner - made from market veggies (because they are less expensive most of the time) and each of us would bring a dish. Saves money and gets us out during cold, quieter months with fewer tourist, days with less light and saves us from boredom and loneliness - Memphis Holland, Founder, Affordable Mallorca
Winter Wear #
Winter clothing seems an almost alien concept after the long hot summer, and in reality, a Mallorcan winter really is for a relatively short period of time. We might not need these items for long, we certainly will need them during the damp and chilly months. Why not consider shopping for your winter woollies at charity or second-hand shops? It makes far more sense to purchase them for less, rather than invest a fortune in something that will sit in a cupboard gathering dust for the rest of the year.
Evenings Out #
Although many of the summer activities and venues are closed during the winter season, the city of Palma is unaffected by the seasonal changes, meaning there is always something to do or see! For me, I spent a lot of time admiring the Christmas lights last year, sometimes stopping off in a local coffee shop, spending minimal money but having a wonderful experience nonetheless.
Why not consider a movie night at one of Palma’s several cinemas. To make this a truly affordable night out, choose one of the "discount nights" most places offer once or twice a week. With 3.90€ for a ticket on Wednesday evening at the Cineciutat, for example, you could perhaps even afford to combine this with a pre-show dinner of tapas. Take your best group of friends and you’re in for a fabulous evening!
Palma Airport is one of the busiest airports in Europe, and this doesn’t alter in the winter. With your residencia, you are entitled to 75% off of flights to the neighbouring Balearic islands and 50% to mainland Spain and the Canary Islands, making travel very affordable.
To apply for this discount, go to the websites of the relevant flight providers, most famously from Mallorca there are Iberia, Air Europa and RyanAir. As you follow the booking procedure, you will find a ‘Resident’ tick box. Tick this and you will proceed to find the discount deducted from your total flight cost. In order to validate the discount, you must visit your local town hall before you fly and obtain a ‘certificado de viaje’ (flight certificate) which must be presented at the gate before departure.
So, why not seek some winter sun after your hard summer's work, perhaps meet up with friends who have chosen to continue their season life in year round destinations? The winter months can be long here on the island, so an affordable break away could do you the world of good.
DISCLAIMER: All information contained in this article is based on personal experience and opinion and may change due to changing laws and regulations.
#season #winter #mallorca #survival #planning #preparation
By Zoé Holmes
12 November, 2019