Know Before You Go: Highlights of Portugal | EF Ultimate Break

Highlights of Portugal

Know Before You Go

It's almost time to go abroad! Take a couple minutes to read up on the ins and outs of your trip before you leave. When it comes travel tricks of the trade, we're quite the experts. And with this guide, so are you.

Getting There

Flights/Checking In

Your flight information will slide into your DMs (AKA online account) 30 days before departure. This is usually when you get to choose your seat and have the age-old internal debate: window or aisle? Some airlines will make the selections for you, so be sure to talk with the gate agent at the airport if you have a preference. Like being ahead of the game? You can check in for your flight 24 hours prior to your trip using the confirmation number found in your online account. If you’re more of a “wait ‘til the last minute” kind of person, no worries. You can always check in at the airport upon arrival. In either case, we recommend arriving to the airport 2.5 – 3 hours before departure.

Note: All your ticket information is online (e-ticket), so you will not receive a physical paper ticket before you depart. You’re welcome, trees.

Checking a Bag

One checked bag is included in your ticket price. It should be under 29” tall and less than 50 pounds. We recommend aiming for 40-45 pounds in case you bring back souvenirs.

Arrival Day

After getting off the plane—and probably hitting up the airport bathroom—you’ll need to meet up with your Tour Director or EF Ultimate Break representative in the Arrival Hall. (They’ll be the one with the sign that says EF Ultimate Break.) They’ll bring you to your accommodations where you’ll have free time until everyone else arrives.

Travel Documents

For U.S. citizens, no visa is necessary (except of the credit card variety). All you need to bring is your passport. And not to sound like your grandma, but make sure you double check that your passport is valid for six months after your expected return date. Also, be sure to have photocopies of your passport and an additional photo ID, such as a driver’s license. For non-U.S. citizens, you should contact your embassy to find out what specific documentation is needed.

Adapters/Converters

Outlets on your trip are different than in the States. You’ll need an adapter that can fit European outlets. We recommend bringing a universal adapter/converter to ensure it works in each city.

Most electronics, like phones and cameras, have built-in converters which change the voltage to match your device, but consider bringing one just in case.

Packing

Pack in layers, bring the essentials, and you’re golden. Like an onion, it’s all about the layers. Keep in mind that you’ll have to carry your luggage from city to city, so the lighter the better.

You should bring the following:

  • Light jacket or windbreaker
  • Comfortable, closed-toed walking shoes, Lisbon is hilly!
  • Heavier coat during colder months
  • Hat/sunglasses
  • Water bottle to stay hydrated
  • Rain jacket/umbrella

Note: We recommend bringing a cross-body bag that zips close instead of a backpack. This will help you keep track of your belongings better and will help dissuade pickpockets.

On The Ground

Money

You’re going to be in Portugal, which means you’ll be using the Euro. We suggest budgeting $80-$100 per day for your meals, shopping, free time activities, tipping, and any Tour Director-suggested excursions. The rates at ATMs are always best, and machines are everywhere. We do not recommend exchanging cash, as many exchange offices have high rates and charge commissions. Be sure to let your bank know ahead of time that you will be traveling through Europe, and make sure your credit or debit card has an international chip.


Currency Used: Euro

Phones & Internet

We recommend you get an international data package from your cell phone provider. This way you can use your phone to share Instaworthy moments, pull up Google maps to navigate a new city, and stay in touch with your Tour Director and fellow travelers during free time. WiFi will be in some hotels, restaurants, and bars, but trust us—you’ll want the international data plan to stay connected.

Tour Director/Local Guides

Your full-time Tour Director, aka local rock star, will be with your group from start to finish. They’re an expert when it comes to these cities, and your go-to person during the trip. From time to time, you might also have a local guide to show you around specific attractions. For both your Tour Director and local guides, it is customary to tip for a job well done.

Recommended tipping amounts in EUR are:

  • €35 - €53 for the Tour Director (given at the end of the trip)
  • €0.80 - €1.60 for local guides (given after the tour)

Transportation

You’re traveling throughout Portugal, and since teleportation hasn’t been invented yet, it takes time to get to each place. The majority of travel will be done via private motor coach. Use this time to catch up on sleep, organize and find the perfect filter for your photos, read, chat it up with your friends, or invent a new bus game.

Note: The bus rides can be rather long. If you suffer from motion sickness, consider bringing medication.

Tour Tempo

We’re not Burger King, but you can still have it your way. We lay the ground work for the must-see sights, but also include plenty of free time for you to do your own thing. Your Tour Director might schedule some additional excursions during free time (10/10 would recommend), so check with them before making any reservations in case of a schedule change.

This is YOUR trip, and we want to help you make the most of it!

Local Food

Pastries, port wine, all types of seafood. During this trip you’ll have the chance to sample a variety of local dishes. Vegetarians shouldn’t have any problem finding something to eat. As for the water situation, tap water is safe to drink. But if you’re about that bottled water life, you can find it everywhere.

Foods to try: Pastéis de nata, bacalhau à brás, traversserios, chorizo.

Accommodations

When in Europe, you’ll live like the Europeans do. That means you’ll be staying in hotels and boutique hostels that are smaller than American rooms, and they won’t typically have air conditioning. In standard rooming, you’ll have up to five other travelers of the same gender. Roommates are assigned by your Tour Director and announced at the first accommodation. If there’s an issue, talk to your Tour Director—that’s what they’re there for!

Keep In Mind

Weather

Prepare for moderate temperatures, cool evenings, and a refreshing sea breeze from the coast. We recommend medium weight clothing and rain gear, as you'll be traveling during Portugal's wet season. We recommend adding the cities you'll be visiting to your weather app, to get the most recent weather information.

Culture

In Lisbon it’s all about taking it easy and soaking up all the vitamin sea. Find the café spot of your dreams, order a pastry, snap a photo, and follow it up with a walk down a quant city street. Dinner is typically be served very late, so for all you 20-year-old grandma’s out there, you’ll have to stay up past bed time to eat. Lastly, splitting the check isn’t a thing. Either pay cash or have one person pay by card and Venmo them.

Safety

Here are some important “Rules of the Road” to think about while you’re traveling. We want you to have fun during your vacation, and most of all we want you to be safe—so here are some helpful tips to #playsafe while you’re abroad & especially when you’re out at night.


  • Take care of your personal belongings. Keep your bag/purse in front of you and your phone zipped inside when you’re not using it. Leave your laptop at home, store valuables at the hotel in locked luggage or the safe deposit box, and refrain from carrying large sums of money or wearing valuable jewelry.
  • Don’t be a party of one. Stay in groups and watch out for each other, especially at night—no one gets left behind!
  • Before you go out, grab a business card at each hotel so that you always have the address handy for getting back later.
  • At the end of a night out, use transportation options you trust like a licensed taxi or rideshare app such as Uber (where available.) Have cash on hand—splitting a taxi with your fellow travelers is a good way to save money too.
  • Be smart about alcohol consumption. You know the drill: Watch your drinks and don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know. Don’t leave the bar alone with someone you just met. Pace yourself and know your limits. Take care of each other out there!
  • You’re going to have a blast—day & night—on this trip, and we’re here for you around the clock if you ever need anything. Save our 24/7 number in your phone now: +1–617–619–1411.

Miscellaneous

If you’re bringing a camera or GoPro, make sure to bring proper straps and accessories. When it comes to free time, think about what your interests are and research what you want to do before your trip. That way you can maximize the time in each city you visit and check a lot of things off your list. Before leaving, speak to your primary physician about any recommended vaccinations/medications you may need.

You’re traveling throughout Portugal! (You know, in case you forgot.) Now is the time to be brave—try new foods, make new friends, and go outside your comfort zone.


Bon voyage!

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