Portugal – Preparing For Your Trip

Depending on how experienced a traveler you are, some of this information may be more useful than others. That said, it’s not meant to be an all-inclusive list, but rather some helpful insight I’ve gleaned from my lifelong travel experiences. After reading this please feel free to email me any of your tips so that I can share them with others.

  • The first thing to realize is making travel arrangements can at times be overwhelming. Fortunately, I have a travel agent I work closely with should you need assistance with travel arrangements. Send me an email with your contact information and I’ll be sure to forward it to her.
  • Buy travelers insurance! Make sure coverage includes medical, trip cancellation, baggage loss, etc. A decent insurance policy for a 7-day trip to Portugal should cost you around $100. Visit for online quotes.
  • Contact your airlines and make sure you know what their baggage restrictions are for both carry-on and checked. Typically they’re more restrictive than domestic travel.
  • While local currency can be had from any ATM, I like to have some in hand when I get off the airplane. And with that in mind, I always get about $100 from my bank before leaving town. Don’t wait until the last minute though; banks will often need to order the currency from their main branch and might take a few days.
  • This should be obvious, but make sure your passport will be valid. The US Department of State suggests it be good for at least 6 months beyond your intended stay, though most other countries only need it valid for 3 months beyond your departure date. Also as a US citizen, a visa IS NOT required for Portugal.
  • No matter the country you’re traveling to it’s always a good idea to drink only bottled water. And if you really want to be prepared, have your doctor give you a prescription for Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) just in case you ingest unwanted bacteria. Btw, something I’ve traveled with for the last 10 years is a device called SteriPen. You can buy one for about $100 and it uses UV light to kill 99% of nasty waterborne critters. I’ve used it on tap water in such places as Cambodia without a problem.
  • Portugal uses type F power outlets (2 round pins), so yes you’ll need outlet adapters. These can be purchased for under $10 on
  • Notify your credit card companies in advance to let them know you’ll be traveling in Portugal, and verify you won’t have any issues with ATM cash withdrawals. Also, and this is very important, have them tell you what the international customer service number is (it will likely be different than the one printed on the back of your card). Do the same for your cell phone carrier.
  • Have your cell phone carrier set you up on an international data plan. Verizon charges $10 per day for unlimited data, while T-Mobile has monthly contract plans that include international data.
  • If possible, bring two different credit cards with available funds in case you have a problem with one of them.
  • Leave an itinerary and passport copy with a friend or family back home.
  • Upload a copy of your passport and passport photos to the cloud AND your smartphone. Doing so will make a replacement much easier in case yours is lost or stolen.
  • In case your phone is lost or stolen, do you have all your important phone numbers memorized? That’s a rhetorical question because if you’re like me I only know my own. Write down on paper the phone numbers for your emergency contact back home, credit cards (international number), travel insurance, cell phone carrier (international number), US Embassy in Lisbon (+351-21-727-3300), and yes your photographer (+1 832-840-8578). Keep this list on you and in your checked bag.
  • If you’re detail-oriented like I try to be, upload to your smartphone any bus or train schedules and/or routes for whichever cities you plan to visit. Also, consider uploading a diagram of the airports you’ll be using.
  • Prepare in advance to minimize the effects of jet lag. Here’s a valuable link with helpful tips: WebMD.


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