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Portugal Checklist: 20+ “To Dos” For Your Trip to Portugal

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Coming to Portugal? There’s a lot to think about from booking flights and accommodation to what type of clothes to bring.

Don’t worry, though: this list will help you double check that you have everything prepared and packed.

Flights

  • Booked your flights? Skyscanner.net is great for finding the cheapest flights.
  • Downloaded the airline app (or printed out your boarding pass)? You’ll need to have your boarding pass in some form or another – whether that’s on the airline’s app or printed out.

Accommodation

  • Booked your accommodation? Booking.com is great for most types of accommodation but especially hotels, villas, and hostels. While it does have plenty of great apartments to choose from, usually Airbnb.com has a better selection of apartments, houses, and rooms for short-term rent.

Transportation

  • Booked your car rental? If you’re renting a car, it’s definitely a good idea to book it in advance. Rentalcars.com is a great site for booking car rental, and Skyscanner.net and Kayak.com are also good sites to look at as well.
  • Have car insurance? You’ll need some form of car insurance whether that’s the insurance offered by the car rental company or your own rental car insurance policy (either from your credit card if you have a high end credit card or through a car hire excess insurance company).
  • Bus or train tickets? If you’re taking public transport, booked your train or bus tickets? Most trains and long distance coaches in Portugal can be booked in advance. You don’t usually need to print the tickets off, but some people prefer to do that (train tickets can be booked on cp.pt and long distance buses can be booked through Rede Expressos).

Health

  • EHIC card up to date? Europeans: is your EHIC card up to date? If not be sure to order a new one as it ensures you can get emergency medical treatment while you’re in Portugal.
  • Ordered travel insurance? Even if you have an EHIC card, travel insurance is always a good idea. It not only covers you against medical costs but against the costs of things like missed flights, lost luggage, and stolen personal items. 

Money

  • Exchanged money? You’re going to need some Euros while you’re in Portugal and it’s always a good idea to have some cash as still cards aren’t accepted in a lot of places. If your bank charges for ATM withdrawals abroad, then it’s normally a good idea to exchange your money into Euros before getting to Portugal as you’ll probably get a much better rate than at the airport or a money exchange service.
  • Have a credit card? Credit cards are great things to bring with you, and are pretty much essential if you want to rent a car. They also offer a lot more protection than debit cards, and are generally just a good idea if you’re going abroad.

Documentation

  • Passport up to date? EU Citizens travelling to Portugal only need their passport to be valid until the date of their return (although it’s probably a good idea to renew it before travelling). Non-EU citizens usually need their passports to be valid for an additional six months from the date of arrival.
  • Driving licence: If you’re planning on renting a car, you’ll need your driving licence. It’s also a form of ID to carry on you iIn Portugal, you’re legally required to carry ID on you at all times).
  • Driving licence code: Although it’s almost never asked for, UK drivers now need to request a code rather than bring the paper part of their driving licence with them.
  • International Driving Licence: Some Non-EU drivers will need an international driving licence as well as their normal driving licence.
  • Schengen Visa: Are you a non-EU citizen visiting Portugal? You may need to apply for a Schengen Visa.

Very useful items

There is a longer list of suggested items to pack for your trip to Portugal, but it is

  • Travel adapter: If your electronic items don’t have an EU plug, you’ll need to bring a travel adapter with you. If you like to travel it’s worth getting one that covers the entire world. Most of the newer ones also have USB slots as well, which is very useful. 
  • Phone, laptop, and tablet chargers: These things are very easy to forget!
  • Child car seat: Most airlines allow you to bring child car or booster seats with you for free saving you the €10 per day that most car rental companies charge for this service.
  • Sunglasses: Although you can pick of a cheap pair of sunglasses easily in Portugal, this is definitely something you’ll need here as the sunlight reflects off the white buildings and streets.

Useful (but not as essential) items

  • Sunscreen: Sunscreen can be quite expensive in Portugal, so it might be worth bringing some sunscreen (and maybe aftersun as well) with you. Alternatively, Lidl sell affordable sunscreen.
  • Power bank: Using your phone for maps, taking photos, and social media, will quickly drain the battery but a portable power bank will allow you to recharge it while you’re on the move.
  • Mosquito Deterrent: Although there are no major health problems like malaria or dengue to worry about in Portugal, getting bitten by mosquitos is still something you’ll want to avoid. If you don’t have a preference for sprays or armbands, a plug-in deterrent is a popular option to consider.
  • Refillable water bottle: Technically, all plastic water bottles are refillable but there are some benefits to buying a water bottle. Some fold up, which is really useful if you have limited space, while others have a brita filter feature which is great for making the tap water taste nicer. (Yes, you can drink the water in Portugal).
  • A book (or a Kindle): A good book is essential for reading by the pool, on the beach, or on public transport. Most books sold in Portugal will be in Portuguese (and English books are quite expensive), so it’s a good idea to bring a book (or a Kindle) with you.
  • Eye mask and ear plugs: You never know what your accommodation will be like in terms of noise and light, so these are both always a good idea to travel with.
  • A sweater: Believe it or not, Portugal can get cold at night (and sometimes it’s cold in the day). The best strategy for staying warm in Portugal is to pack layers rather than anything too big or heavy. This way, you can easily take them off if you get too warm.
  • A comfortable pair of shoes: You’ll probably end up doing a lot of walking while you’re in Portugal, especially if you’re on a city break, so a good, comfortable pair of shoes is definitely worth packing.

Clothes, swimsuits, and plenty of pairs of socks – there’s a lot that’s not on this list. You’ll find those items on the list of things to pack

Last updated in June 2019.
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