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Travel from US to Portugal

Northfield, Vermont
Level Contributor
18 posts
1 review
Travel from US to Portugal


I'm making my first trek to Europe this month and I have a few nagging questions, if anyone would be kind enough to ease my mind a bit.

1. I have a passport, is that all I need?

2. Is it OK to drink the water? (I feel dumb asking this one)

3. Can I get cash at a bank with my credit card?

4. Seems like I'm forgetting something

5 replies to this topic
Lisbon, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Azores, Lisbon
Level Contributor
25,690 posts
57 reviews
1. Re: Travel from US to Portugal

Where are you going besides Portugal?

Can I get cash at a bank with my credit card? Nobody does that. Bring a debit card and use the ATM's that exist everywhere. Notify your bank that you'll be in europe to avoid it to block your cards.

Is it OK to drink the water? (I feel dumb asking this one) - It's europe so the standards are the same or better than in the US, but like everything related with food and drink every person is different so you may react to the water (and the food) just because it's different.

La Mesa, California
Level Contributor
19 posts
18 reviews
2. Re: Travel from US to Portugal

We're currently in Portugal from US (CA) and it is a beautiful country. The people are all very nice and most all speak English, which is nice.

1. If you plan to drive anywhere, you will need an International Drivers License.

2. The water does not taste bad to me. Maybe try it when you arrive and decide if you want to go with bottled water instead.

3. I would recommend to wait to withdraw money from an ATM (using a debit card) at the airport that will dispense Euros rather than purchasing them from your US bank and paying additional bank fees in addition to the exchange rate. There are plenty of ATM's available pretty much wherever you go it seems.

4. We've done a handful of international trips, but this is the first time we've purchased a SIM card for our phone. We have Verizon that I don't believe has great options for international coverage. T-Mobile has good option for international but US coverage probably not as good as Verizon, To get a SIM card your phone must be unlocked (no contract), We purchased one through Vodafone (readily available throughout Portugal if you have questions or issues); 10 Euros for a month for Portugal only. We were primarily interested in being able to use internet for maps for directions, uber, yelp, etc.

When/where are you going? Maybe I can give you more insight. You're going to love Portugal!

Northfield, Vermont
Level Contributor
18 posts
1 review
3. Re: Travel from US to Portugal

Thank you very much. I'm just spending a few days in Lisbon. Thanks for taking the time to help.

Albufeira, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Algarve, Faro, Portugal
Level Contributor
58,102 posts
41 reviews
4. Re: Travel from US to Portugal

4. How will you be travelling around?

Trains and buses are not expensive and for a solo traveller moving between towns and cities, less costly than car rental, fuel, tolls, parking etc but if it's convenience you want, you will need to rent a car. However if planning to visit the big cities such as Lisbon and Porto, a car is a waste of money. Both cities have excellent and cheap public transit. They were not designed for cars!

Trains for long trips should be reserved in advance to get the cheaper fares. Long distance buses don't have the same level of discount but are often more frequent and also they go to a lot of places where trains don't.

Trains - everything in English - https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en/buy-tickets

National long distance bus system - www.rede-expressos.pt available partly in English.

Cities and large towns have their own systems. Websites for larger places are offered in English, many are not. Although English is widely understood here, it is polite to ask first. If studying schedules, opening hours etc it's important to know how the Portuguese language states the days of the week, which are quite different to anywhere else in Europe.

Aveiro, Portugal
Level Contributor
478 posts
201 reviews
5. Re: Travel from US to Portugal

"1. I have a passport, is that all I need?" Assuming you're a U.S. national traveling on a U.S. passport, and assuming your stay is going to be three months or less, then all you need is a passport which has at least six months to go before it expires.

"2. Is it OK to drink the water? (I feel dumb asking this one)" While the public water supply is perfectly safe to drink, in restaurants or cafes it's customary to drink bottled water only. You may be asked whether you want still water or sparkling water (called water with gas -- água com gás in Portuguese). The one exception to this custom that I know of is that it's common for Portuguese people to ask for a glass of water to accompany their coffee in cafes. This will be tap water, provided without charge in this situation.

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