Preparing for your trip

Package: Best of Portugal

Print this page and refer to it as you prepare for your trip!

Printed Oct 19, 2021. Please visit https://www.friendlyplanet.com/before-you-go/?tourId=1519 for the latest updates.

Checklist

Item Due
Ensure you have a current passport valid for at least six months after your return date. ASAP
Complete your registration. You'll receive a link to the registration form after you complete your booking. Within 5 days of booking
Make your final payment, if any balance is due. See your invoice
Request any additions or changes you may still want to make to your trip. by final payment due date
Obtain any necessary travel visas and review any requirements for entry. See below
Print your itinerary and other final documents, which we will send you via email by 14 days prior to travel. Prior to travel
Print your policy documents, if you purchased travel insurance, and carry them with you. Prior to travel
Enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), if you're a U.S. citizen or national, so the State Dept. can locate and assist you in case of an emergency. Prior to travel

In addition, if you booked flights with your package:

Item Due
Book connecting flights to your departure city, if necessary. (Please confirm your international flight schedule first!) After receiving your e‑tickets
Make advance seat reservations for your international flight, if you have a preference. After receiving your e‑tickets
Confirm your flight times and any special meal requests with the airline, and print and carry a copy of your e-ticket. 72 hours prior to travel
Check in for your flights online and download/print your boarding passes (if available). 24 hours prior to travel
Arrive at the airport, ready for the trip of a lifetime! 3½ hours prior to departure

Documents & Entry Requirements

Entry requirements are provided for your convenience. However, unless otherwise stated, it is your responsibility to determine the requirements that apply to you and your trip and to comply with them, including obtaining any necessary visas or other travel documents by the required deadlines and carrying them with you. Especially with COVID-19, requirements are subject to change, so check back for the latest before you depart.

PortugalPortugal Entry Requirements

Advice from our partner Sherpa

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General Requirements & Guidelines

  • In general, you must have a passport to travel abroad, which should be valid for at least six months after your return date. Passports expiring before then should be renewed as soon as possible. Passports contain at least 2 blank pages for each country visited. If your passport does not have this many pages, obtain a new passport as soon as possible.
  • if your passport and visa are not in order, airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding, countries may deny entry, and your trip may be disrupted. Travel insurance may not cover such losses.
  • Any changes in names or passport information should be reported to us immediately. Airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding if the name on your passport does not match your tickets.
  • Minors (age 17 or younger) departing and/or returning to the U.S. without parents or with only one parent may be required by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to present a notarized parental consent letter and/or unabridged birth certificate (more information). Many other countries have similar entry requirements, especially for minors traveling with a parent/guardian with a different surname; check with the consulates of all countries you'll be visiting to learn more.

COVID-19 Vaccination Required

For the health and safety of all our travelers and to comply with the requirements of many of our destinations, we require all travelers on this package departing on or after Nov. 1, 2021, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to departure, except travelers who are too young to be vaccinated.

Final Documents

Your final travel documents will be sent to you via email by 14 days prior to departure. These will include your daily itinerary, hotel and emergency contact information, and other relevant information. Please print your documents and take them with you. If you're departing in less than a week and haven't received your documents, let us know immediately!

Travel Insurance Documents

If you purchased travel insurance, please print and carry your policy documents, including contact information for emergency travel assistance and instructions on how to make a claim. If you purchased the travel protection plan we offer, we recommend you print the full policy.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

We encourage all U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This free service allows you to receive important updates about safety and security issues in your destination, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy, as well as family & friends, to contact you in case of an emergency. To enroll or get more information, please visit the STEP website or any U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Flights, Transfers & Arrival

Questions about your flights before you depart? Read the information below first. If you still have questions, contact our air specialists at 800-555-5765 ext. 2 or air@friendlyplanet.com.

Tour Only Option

If you purchased this package without flights, you are responsible for arranging your own flights and transportation to the touring program start and end points, usually the first and last hotels listed in the itinerary. Please review the itinerary carefully, as some packages start and end in different cities, requiring "open jaw" flights. Also see airport transfers and what to do in case of arrival complications.

Flights & Tickets

If you selected flights with your package, we generally book your flights and issue tickets after your final payment due date.

If you requested flights from another city, our air specialists will research the best options and send you a tentative flight schedule and quote for your approval within 5 business days of your booking (or approximately 330 days prior to travel, if you booked further out than that).

Once we have issued your tickets, we'll send you an "e-ticket receipt" which contains all of your flight information, including times, carriers, an airline booking reference number, and an e-ticket number. If you have not received this, or have questions about the flights we booked for you, please contact our air department. You will not receive paper tickets. We recommend you print and carry a copy of your flight details, including the airline booking reference number and e-ticket number, as some airports require this to enter the terminal. You do not need to reconfirm your flights with the airline prior to your departure, as we will handle this for you.

Friendly Planet's toll-free number is 800-555-5765. The direct extension for our air department is 208.

Want to reserve specific seats?

That depends on the airline. You can usually request a window or aisle seat, and sometimes specific seat numbers (but not exit row and bulkhead seats) ahead of time. Many airlines now charge a fee for this, and such fees are not included in your package price. If you have a seat preference, let us know when you book, in the special requests section, or email us at air@friendlyplanet.com after you book. Then:

If your airline does not charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll happily pass along your seat request to the airline and confirm they received it (though we cannot guarantee it will be honored).

If your airline does charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll let you know. You'll need to contact the airline directly to request your seats after we have issued your flight tickets, and fees are payable directly to the airline.

If you do not request specific seats: The airline typically assigns them within 24 hours of departure. If you do not like your assigned seats, you may be able to change them, subject to availability, when you check in online or at the counter. Learn more about Advance Seat Reservations.

Want to request a special meal?

You can enter special meal requests when you book with an agent or complete your online registration, shortly after booking. We will relay your requests to the airlines and our representatives abroad, but we cannot guarantee they will be honored. Please double check meal requests with your airline 72 hours before departure, and with our representatives upon arrival.

Looking to earn frequent flyer miles?

You may be able to earn frequent flyer points for your flights. Contact the airline directly once you receive your tickets to enter your frequent flyer number in your flight record, or enter it when you check in. As you travel, check your tickets or ask the check-in or gate agent prior to boarding each flight to ensure the number has been entered properly. And just to be safe, keep your boarding passes and passenger receipt as proof that you have actually flown the miles you want credited to your account.

Interested in upgrading to business class or premium economy?

Cabin upgrades may be available on your flights. Ask us about price and availability when you book online, in the special requests section, or contact our air department after you book. Please note that our special contracted airfare rates generally do not permit upgrading with frequent flyer points, and that upgrade requests may incur change fees if tickets have already been issued.

Flight Schedule

If you selected flights with your package, you will receive your flight schedule by email once we issue your tickets.

If you requested flights from another city, our air specialists will research the best options and send you a tentative flight schedule for your approval, and a confirmed schedule once we issue your tickets.

Airlines may change schedules at any time, even after flights have been confirmed, and we are not responsible for such changes. Please check for updates to your flight schedule prior to booking any connecting flights and again 72 hours prior to departure.

Connecting Flights

If you need to fly from (and/or return to) a different U.S. or Canadian city, we suggest you request those flights from us. If feasible, we will try to book all your flights together with a single carrier or a partner network on a single ticket. This ensures that your luggage will be transferred between flights for you, and more importantly, that if there are any schedule changes, flight cancellations, or delays that affect your trip, the airline(s) will adjust your flights to ensure you have sufficient time to make your connections and/or make alternate arrangements to get you to your destination. Besides offering the most peace of mind, this often yields lower fares than purchasing separate connecting flights.

If you plan to purchase connecting flights to your departure city, we strongly suggest waiting until after your final payment due date and after you receive the e-tickets for your international flights, to reduce the chances that that your departure might be cancelled or rescheduled or that your international flight times might change. Before purchasing connecting flights, verify the times for your international flights. Leave at least 3½ hours connecting time between flights, and if you're traveling within a few weeks of Daylight Savings Time changes (in March and November, when flight schedules may change even more dramatically), allow 5–5½ hours between flights. Nobody likes waiting around the airport, but missing your flight is far worse!

Airport Transfers

If you purchased this package with flights, or independently booked the same international flights used for this package, scheduled group airport transfers at the destination are included. When you exit customs, please look for our representative holding a Friendly Planet sign, who will cheerfully escort you to your transfer vehicle and assist with your luggage.

If you purchased this package without flights, transfers are generally not included. In most cases, private transfers are available for an additional fee; contact us for price and availability. Or you may instead arrange your own ground transportation to the touring program start and end points, usually the first and last hotels listed in the itinerary.

Arrival Complications

We make every effort to ensure our tours run smoothly and trouble-free. We don't expect any problems, and nor should you. But when things don't go as planned, here's what to do:

  • You miss your flights, or your flights are cancelled: Please call us immediately. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox, with a phone number at which to reach you, and we'll get right back to you.
  • Your flights are delayed and you're worried about missing your included transfers: Please contact us to let us know about the delay, and we will notify our partners in destination. If you are arriving on one of our group flights, or booked your own flights and supplied us with the details, our partners will be tracking your arrival and will plan accordingly.
  • Your package includes transfers, but you can't find our representative at your destination: Don't panic—they may have been unexpectedly delayed. Wait up to 30 minutes. Then contact our local partners in destination, listed on the emergency contact page of your final documents. If you can't reach them, call us. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox. If all else fails, make your own way to the starting hotel (or cruise port), and we'll refund you the cost of your transfer.

Packing & Luggage

Baggage allowance: Each passenger may bring one piece of checked-in luggage and one carry-on piece. Your checked-in luggage should weigh no more than 44 pounds, and each piece may not exceed 62 inches as a sum of all three dimensions (length, height and width). Most airlines do not consider roll-aboard as hand luggage. Kindly make sure that your carry-on luggage will fit under your seat or in the overhead compartment. For your safety and protection we suggest that your checked-in luggage have a (TSA approved) lock on it.

While some airline may permit two checked-in bags per person, we strongly suggest to bring only one checked-in luggage with a maximum weight of 44 lbs. We recommend a lighter weight and smaller dimension for both the checked-in and carry-on luggage than what airlines typically allow in order to fit in the overhead compartments on the motor coaches used for transfers and touring. Porterage during your tour is covered for only one checked bag per person. Kindly note that these limitations facilitate an easier, faster, and smoother approach towards the collection and transport of your luggage throughout the tour. In the interest of comfort and convenience for you and your fellow travelers, we recommend that you do not over-pack and to take a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind. We appreciate your understanding and your cooperation regarding these limitations.

Learn more about Baggage Allowances on your international flights. Note that our baggage allowances may be less than those for your international flights. If you exceed the baggage limits, you may be subject to excess baggage charges levied by the airlines and/or by Friendly Planet.

Regardless of the limits—we recommend a smaller size and weight for both your checked and carry-on bags. It's so much easier and faster for you to get around when you have fewer, lighter bags! For your carry-on, consider a soft-sided bag such as a duffel rather than a hard clamshell-type case, which may not fit as easily into overhead compartments or under your seat, especially on buses. For your protection, we suggest your checked luggage have a TSA-approved lock.

Luggage tags: For your safety, we are no longer mailing Friendly Planet luggage tags to you. We encourage you to use your own. Fill in the luggage tags with your name and contact information and attach to each bag, including carry-ons and camera cases, so that your luggage can be identified should it get misplaced during your trip.

What to pack: Check out our blog post on our Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel. Pack smart: put your travel documents, medications, one change of clothing, and other essentials in your carry-on, in case your checked baggage is misplaced. And pack light, for your own comfort and convenience. For clothing, we suggest packing a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.

What not to pack: U.S. law forbids you to carry hazardous materials aboard aircraft in your checked or carry-on baggage or on your person, including explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids & solids, loaded firearms, poisons, corrosives and radioactive materials. Common examples include paints, lighter fluid, fireworks, mace/tear gas and oxygen bottles. Restricted materials may vary by airline and destination. Some items, in quantities of no more than 70 ounces total, may be carried within baggage, including medicinal or toilet articles such as hairspray, perfume and certain medicines that are necessary during your journey. Please check with the airline and/or visit the FAA website prior to travel if you have any questions.

While on Tour

What to Expect

This fast-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness

Remember that you're a guest in someone else's homeland, and that you're traveling to experience their country and culture. Be sensitive to local customs and manners, as many things may be done differently than what you're used to. And while we have made every effort to secure modern and comfortable accommodations and transportation, please note that the standards in other countries may be different from those you are accustomed to at home. Overall, you will find a polite, positive, patient, and open-minded approach generally yields the best travel experience!

Please keep in mind that you'll be traveling with a group. Sharing your explorations with like-minded folks can often be a source of joy, and some of our travelers become lifelong friends. But traveling with strangers can also sometimes be challenging, especially in a foreign country. We ask that you be patient and respectful with your fellow travelers, including their needs and preferences. Also remember that you have responsibilities to the group—please be prompt for group activities so you don't keep everyone else waiting. Lastly, please defer to your tour leader, guide or manager. They are there for your safety and wellbeing, and to ensure the journey goes smoothly for everyone. If you have a problem with one of our tour guides or managers, please let us know, either while you're on tour or after you return, and we'll make sure your concerns are addressed.

Accommodations

Our hotels are all Western-style, and your room will, of course, have a private bathroom. The water in the hotel tap system is probably potable, but it is always prudent to drink bottled water to avoid any problems. Hotels will normally provide bottled water, but it may not be replenished daily. Remember that any water that you consume from the hotel minibar will be charged to your room, and you will be responsible for payment. Electrical current is 230v. and you will need C and F plug types. Wall sockets will vary. Take a travel converter/adapter kit with you, as these are not readily available.

Eating & Drinking

The meals included with your package are listed in the itinerary.

Your hotels have several dining choices, from coffee shops to specialty restaurants. Average cost for dinner (not including drinks) in the coffee shops will be about $20 - $40 per person, per meal. Your hotels accept credit card payments for not-included meals.

Please see above for special meal requests.

Tipping

You will be traveling through in the company of professionals who are very committed to making your tour the dream vacation you are counting on. These people feel great pride in having a chance to show foreign visitors their country. If your guide, driver and others with whom you are traveling are doing a good job, please take our suggestions for tipping seriously. As always, gratuities are an individual expression of thanks and should be based on the level of service provided. The recommended amounts are as follows:  

  • Local guide: $4-5 per person per day
  • Transfer personnel: $4 per person per transfer
  • Excursion driver: $2-3 per person per day
  • Housekeeping & Porters: 1-2 Euro per person
  • Restaurant and beverage staff per meal (for not-included meals): 5%-10% of the total bill

Independent Activities

This is a fast-paced, escorted tour that includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops. You can leave the group and explore on your own at any time; however, there is no refund for unused group arrangements or tours. Be sure to take with you the name, address and phone number - written in the local language and in English - so that you can communicate with taxi drivers. Your hotel staff will gladly assist you with these translations.

Special Needs & Requests

Please see above for special meal requests and seat requests. If you have any other special requests, including wheelchair or electric cart assistance, please mention your request when you book with an agent, or in the special requests section when you book online. We will do our best to accommodate them!

Country FAQs

PortugalPortugal Fast Facts

Overview

Capital: Lisbon
Population:  10.35 million
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Languages: Portuguese
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: WET (UTC 0)

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

Immunizations are not currently required for travel to Portugal. However, you may wish to consult your personal physician regarding any concerns, or for health recommendations. 

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

The weather in Portugal is temperate, with a Mediterranean climate influenced by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and northern Africa. In the northern part of the country, the weather is cool and rainy while in the south, it is warm and sunny. The average temperatures during summer, from June to mid-September are in the high 70’s during the day and in the high 50’s at night. From mid-September to November, the weather is mild with some rainy days. The average highs are in the low 60’s and the average lows are in the high 40’s. This tour does not operate from the end of November through the end of March, to avoid the rainy and cold winter season.  

What to wear

Portuguese clothing style is smart, casual and conservative, but jeans are very popular, especially when paired with nice (but comfortable) shoes. Bring a nice outfit to wear for special evenings, a wide brimmed hat to cover your face and back of your neck, sunglasses, a shawl or scarf, and a light sweater or jacket for cool and windy nights. And don’t forget a small umbrella in case of rain. At religious sites, it’s best to dress modestly. Shorts and sleeveless tops are considered inappropriate, and arms and legs should be covered. If you have two pairs of comfortable (broken in, not brand new) walking shoes, take both pairs. These will come handy when walking along cobbled streets. Packing to dress in layers is another way to prepare for a variety of weather conditions. Finally, remember that comfort and convenience should dictate your wardrobe for the tour, and casual clothes are in order for most every occasion as you travel.

Money & Credit Cards

The local currency is the Euro. Hotels and many shops do accept credit cards. While Visa and Mastercard are most accepted, some establishments also accept AMEX. Discover is only accepted at establishments that take Diners Club.  Be sure to call your credit card providers to let them know you will be traveling abroad, the places you’ll be visiting and the dates of your trip. This is important for your own protection. Your hotels will generally exchange your cash for local currency, and you’ll find ATM machines where you can get additional cash as needed. Traveler’s checks are not accepted.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

Shop for wine, olive oil, azulejos (colorful ceramic tiles), earthenware, faience (particularly from Coimbra), leather goods (including shoes), antiques, gold and silver filigree (particularly from Minho Province and Oporto), cataplanas (clamshell-shaped copper pans for cooking shellfish and stews), lace, Madeiran embroidery, cork items, Portuguese guitars, and Arraiolos rugs.

You will certainly have time for shopping, and Portugal offers a great variety of goods to satisfy different tastes and price ranges. 

A good rule of thumb when shopping abroad is to choose items that you love and that will remind you of the destination. If you want to shop for high value items, unless they are very specific to the destination, better do so from a trusted merchant at home unless the pleasure of the happy memory of your trip will keep you from regretting your purchase.

 

While we take great care in arranging the components of your tour, we have no relationship with the shopping venues you’ll encounter, and we cannot be liable for any purchases you make. Your guides may have some favorite shopping places, where the vendors are known, provide good quality merchandise and probably pay some a commission from sales to the guide. This should not surprise or offend you. This is how business is done throughout the world. Please keep in mind that many, if not most stores outside the U.S. will not allow exchanges or refunds for your purchased items. You, as the buyer, assume the full risk in the purchases you make.

Electricity & Power Adapters

230 volts. Plugs C & F. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Photography

Cameras and video recorders are allowed almost everywhere, and in fact, you will want to take plenty of pictures of the magnificent panoramas you’ll encounter as you travel. Photography is generally permitted everywhere except at airports and military installations. Memory cards for digital cameras will also be readily available, especially in major cities.

Did you know?
  • Famed Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama was the first person to sail to India by way of the Atlantic Ocean in 1497 - 1499.
  • Wine tourism is a thing in Portugal! You can experience everything from a cellar tour and tasting to a vinotherapy treatment (consisting of wine products, like grapes) at a wine spa!
  • Portugal has 16 Cultural and 1 Natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • 25th April Bridge, which draws striking resemblance to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, is a two-level suspension bridge over the Tagus River that transports cars on the top level and trains on the lower level.
  • Today, Coimbra is a beautiful riverside town with buildings rising majestically on its hills, complete with charming cobblestone streets. But during the High Middle Ages, it served as the country’s capital.
  • Portugal was established in 1143 AD, making it one of the oldest countries in Europe.

Fine Print

Terms & Conditions: Please review our terms & conditions for this package.

Cancellations: If something comes up and you need to cancel your trip, please let us know as soon as possible. All cancellations must be made in writing. Cancellation fees vary by package; please see the cancellation fees for this package.

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