12 Top Portugal Packing List Items + What Not To Bring (2017 Update)

What to bring to Portugal

1) Clothes for a Week Men and Women – Make sure these are seasonally appropriate. Summers in Portugal can be very hot but winters can be very cold. Plan accordingly.

2) Cellphone and assorted paraphernalia – Don’t forget your phone. You’ll need it to stay in touch with the outside world. Most models will also work great as a camera and a flashlight in a pinch. You might even want to load up your phone with helpful travel apps such as Google Maps and a translator program of some kind.
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3) Toiletries – Whatever you need to stay healthy and presentable, be sure to bring it with you so that you don’t contribute to the unwashed backpacker stereotype. However, what you should bring with you will definitely vary by travelers. Good things to have on hand might include items like hairbrushes, loofas/washcloths, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, deodorant, mouthwash, lip balm, soap,shaving razors and so on. Shampoo and conditioner bars are especially great things to have on hand so that you don’t have to worry about the TSA liquids rule

4) Universal Adapters – You really need these. They’re pretty easy to find either online or at your local electronics store. Of course, if you forget, some hostels will either sell them to you at the reception desk or let you borrow one from their own stash.

5) First Aid Supplies – I never go anywhere without my first aid supplies. Even though I’m fairly accident prone, you still want to have the basics on hand for emergencies. At the very least, be sure to include things like antibiotic cream, Band-Aids, anti-itch medicine, and aspirin. If you regularly suffer from any other conditions, you’ll want to take products to help you cope with those ailments as well. Just make sure all that any prescription you plan on bringing with you are in the original packing to avoid problems entering and exiting the country.
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6) Comfortable Footwear Men and Women – Make sure your shoes provide good traction because you’ll definitely need it. It’s also a good idea to avoid anything with spiked heels since cobblestones are a feature in some Portuguese cities.
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7) Multipurpose Bag – I’ve found that it’s pretty helpful to have something on hand that can serve as a beach tote, shopping bag, and daypack/purse. Make sure that the bag in question is big enough to hold your phone, any tickets, some cash, your credit or ATM card, snacks, small souvenirs, and possibly a sweater/scarf. If you’ve got a bag that will fold up into a tiny space so that it can be stored in your other luggage, that’s even better.

8) Durable Backpack – Travelers that plan on moving around every few days probably would do better to use a sturdy, well-built backpack instead of a rolling suitcase. After all, backpacks tend to be easier to manage. Get one with lots of extra pockets so that you can store everything separately, even if you run out of extra bags. A sealable inner pocket is also a good feature because it provides you with a more secure place to store important documents when you’re en route.

9) Beach Supplies (Warm Months) – When the weather forecast is due to be warm enough for swimming, don’t forget your beach gear. This includes things like sunglasses,floppy hats, bathing suits, flip-flops/waterproof shoes, sunscreen, and so forth.Using sunscreen sticks or wipes(if you can find them) seem to be the best way to getting it safelypast the TSA. Sunscreen is pretty pricey in Europe but you can buy it there if you need to do so. After all, there’s no sense in paying to have a bag checked over just one item.

10) Rain Gear – This sort of stuff is especially useful in the winter when the weather tends to be especially damp. However, the weather respects no one’s schedule so it’s always best to be prepared. Take your umbrella, rain poncho, or waterproof coat along for the ride so that you stay nice and dry.
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11) Reusable Water Bottle – If you drink as much water as I do, you can save a great deal of money by bringing along your own bottle and filling it up from the tap. This keeps you from having to either repeatedly buy bottled water or needing to reuse the same flimsy bottle over and over.
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12) No-Prep Snacks – I’m a big believer in not going anywhere without something. If the getting from one place to another is taking forever and there are no dining options in sight, you’ll be glad you thought ahead. Just be careful when it comes to fruit like apples or bananas. They’re highly nutritious but they also bruise easily and can become pretty unappetizing if they get tossed around. I personally like beef jerky, nuts, individually packed olives or applesauce, granola, trail mix, and chocolate bars for desperate times. Just keep in mind that for the apple sauce, you’ll need a spoon as well. Once you get past airport security, pastries and other baked goods work pretty good to have on hand in emergencies.

Other Things You Might Need

What to wear in Portugal

1) In general, Europeans wear clothes that are slightly dressier than ordinary Americans would wear when hanging out so opt for ‘business causal’ style clothes when you’re not near the pool or the beach. Jeans are fine as long as they’re neat and presentable.

2) Scarfs are always a good option, particularly those that are big enough to double as a lightweight blanket.

3) Seasonally appropriate clothes that can be layered are the key. Take lightweight items for summer and heavier garments for winter. If you’re going during the cooler portion of the year be sure to remember to bring hats, scarves, thick socks, and so forth.

4) You might want to take along an extra outfit or two if you’re planning on going to an upscale restaurant or two during your stay. Don’t forget to bring along makeup and some tasteful accessories as well if you feel that you also need those things.

What NOT to take to Portugal

1) 🚫 Heavy Items: Leave behind anything that is going to weigh you down. This includes extra shoes or clothes, hardback books, and unnecessary electronics. Doing so will help you avoid being slapped with penalty fees on strict budget airlines. It will also keep your back from aching at the end of the day.

2) 🚫 Valuables of Any Sort: You know the drill. If you don’t want it to disappear, leave it at home. Items that could break the budget or the heart if they turn up missing aren’t something you want to drag along for the ride. Trust me.

3) 🚫 Tourist Wear: In any spot, it’s best to avoid sticking out like a tourist whose suitcase is packed full of valuable goodies. The way to do this is by blending in with the locals. So definitely leave your American flag paraphernalia, camouflage clothes, I-love-New-York shirts, super white sneakers, and fanny packs at home.

4) 🚫 Hairdryers: Your hostel/hotel probably already has one on hand for you to use. You might have to ask for one at the reception desk if there’s not already one in your room but there’s really no need to bring your own.

FAQs about Traveling to Portugal

1) How much do I need to budget for Portugal?

Adaily rate $50 per person should cover your basic needs including as groceries, a bed in a hostel dorm, public transportation, and admission to some sights. However, additional expenses like going on day tours, constantly eating out, and staying in private rooms can obviously end up costing you quite a bit more.

2) When is the best time to go?

As is the case with most places in Europe, the spring or early fall is the absolute best time to plan on visiting Portugal. Crowds are thinner and prices are lower than they are in the summer months but travelers are more likely to have good weather and reasonable access to local sights than they would during the winter. Since Portugal is located in the southernmost portion of Europe and is one of the continent’s sunniest countries, the country’s weather starts warming up much earlier than it does elsewhere and stays pleasant for far longer. However, October is widely considered the absolute best month to visit.

3) What are some local culinary specialties?

Aside from the obvious choices of port and madeira wine, there are plenty of other tasty Portuguese treats to try out when you’re visiting.The local custard tarts are pretty popular.Then there’s the chocolate salami, which is basically a chocolate loaf filled with broken cookies. The country is also well known for their seafood. The Portuguese really enjoy codfish. It is served in a variety of ways including in fritters and in fish patties. Shellfish baked with garlic, olive oil, and cilantro mixed together as a sauce is another popular dish. Sausages are another big part of the local cuisine. These include a variety that was originally made by Jews who had been forced to convert to Catholicism so they could blend in with their Christian neighbors and keep the Inquisitors at bay. Another dish that visitors might want to try is the francesinhav sandwich. It’s mostly meat with some cheese, egg, and tomato sauce often thrown in for good measure.

4) How hard is to find vegetarian food in Portugal?

The traditional Portuguese diet is largely revolves around meats and seafood, with egg based desserts to round things out. Most restaurants will still try to accommodate vegetarian requests, even if they’re puzzled by them. Dishes such as vegetable soup, salad, olives, and salted beans seem to make up the main vegetarian offerings in Portugal. Travelers who are looking for more substantial meals might want to cook their own food in their rooms or in the hostel kitchen. Of course,vegetarians can find a wide range of cuisine styles in the cities and these options might also suit their needs.

5) Do I need to tip in restaurants?

It’s standard to leave 5 to 10 percent of your tab if a service charge hasn’t already been included on your bill. When paying small tabs in places like tapas bars and coffeehouses, it’s customary to round up the change to the nearest euro and just leave the coins behind. Travelers should nonetheless be aware that tipping is only customary in touristy parts of Lisbon and some parts of the south. Of course servers in upscale places are more likely to expect a tip than eateries on the lower end of the spectrum. However, there aren’t many waiters who would turn down a small bonus. Just keep in mind that Europeans don’t tip as much as Americans so what’s considerednormal at home is considered excessive there.You’ll also want to pay your tips in cash, even if you paid your bill with a credit card. This ensures that the extra money goes to the hard-working wait staff rather than the restaurant owner.

6) What’s the easiest way to get from Lisbon to Madrid?

Flying from place to place is a simple process. It can also be fairlytime effective and affordable if you’re using budget carriers. However, navigating public transport between the two countries can be a bit more time consuming. While connections are certainly available during the day time, there are also overnight trains and buses from Lisbon to Madrid. Just be aware that the overnight train probably isn’t a good choice for light sleepers or those who expect luxurious accommodations. If you opt for this method of transport, you definitely want to bring snacks, reading materials, and possibly earplugs.

7) What are the major Portuguese airports?

The main one is in the middle of the countrynear Lisbon (LIS). This is where many international flights currently land.Lisbon airport is also a hub for European travelers who are heading elsewhere. Other important airports can be found near Porto (OPO) in the north and Faro (FAO) in the south.There is also one on Madeira Island (FNC), which has been built out into the ocean due to the lack of space on the island. It is considered one of the most dangerous in Europe, mostly for that reason.

8. What are some good day trips from Lisbon?

Since Lisbon is located near the center of Portugal and the country’s fairly small, most places are within a short train ride of the capitol. Even so,Sintra seems to be a pretty popular choice for a day trip. Its’ colorful castle, Moorish ramparts, and UNESCO World Heritage status are certainly reason enough to visit the spot that these bloggers described as being like ‘Disney on steroids’

Day trips to seaside towns such as Cascais, Sesimbra,Estoril, and Portinho are similarly popular choices. If you’re into great scenery, you definitely don’t want to miss out the rocky routes near Cabo da Roca. It’s the westernmost point in continental Europe and filled with spots that make impressive vacation photos.

Travelers might also enjoy visiting the former royal residence atQueluz National Palace, theBelém district of Lisbon, the nearby city of Coimbra, or the medieval oldtowninObidas. If you’re really in a hurry, you could even do Porto as along daytrip. However, it’s a really large town and you’re better off staying a coupleof days so that you can hit all the highlights.

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