There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a destination for a family holiday, but one of the most important factors is safety (especially now). Many consider Portugal to be one of the safest holiday destinations for Brit’s, and it’s great because there’s so much to do for families! You have the sun, sea, and also the city, depending on what kind of vibes you are feeling!
So for your next holiday, here are some tips for a fun and safe family vacation in Portugal:
Learn some Portuguese
It’s no secret that learning some of the local language before arriving at your destination is incredibly helpful for traveling, both in terms of safety as well as convenience and connection. As soon as you can before departure, make it a family activity to at least learn the basics, such as ‘hello’, ‘please’, ‘may I please have’, ‘can you please help me?’. You can make language learning easy and convenient by taking an online Portuguese course, like the one by Babbel for example, that is full of interactive and fun lessons to keep you engaged and motivated. Maybe by learning Portuguese, you’ll become interested in learning other languages too. Think also that many other countries speak Portuguese as well so it’ll definitely come in handy!
Try getting a Lisbon or Porto card to get around easier, along with taking out cash
Cash is king in many places throughout Lisbon, and exact change is often appreciated (sometimes loosely required). To reduce the number of times you reach into your wallet, you can get a Lisbon card or a Porto card for discounted or free public transport fares and discounts on experiences throughout the city.
Bring clothes for all climates
Portugal sees all types of weather, so you want to have clothes for all climates for your trip here. If you are traveling from October to March, it tends to be nice throughout the day and then get chilly in the evening so you want warm weather clothes as well as a jacket and trousers for the evenings. If you visit during the summer, it is hot with some chilly mornings and evenings, so you want layers.
Plus, you’ll want something warm and cosy for the flight over as the air conditioning can get quite chilly. You don’t want to catch a cold from being unprepared on the flight over!
Use sunscreen during the day
The climate in Portugal is beautiful, but especially for those coming from the UK it can be an adjustment to being in such strong sun. Remember to bring sunscreen, body, face and child-friendly, so you can apply in the morning and reapply throughout the day. The last thing you want to negatively impact your holiday is something that is completely avoidable and uncomfortable, such as a sunburn!
Beware of tourist traps and use your GPS
Like every destination, there are some tourist traps in Portugal. The city is ready for tourists, and with so much to see and do, it is worth taking some time to learn the city so you have an idea of where you want to go and where you want to avoid. The best way to get to know a city is to visit where the locals go rather than going where the tourists go, and you can use your GPS to wind through parts of the city that
you’d like to see on your way.
Some of the funniest memories I have from family holidays are when someone gets too hungry while exploring and we end up having to stop over at a tourist trap of a restaurant because we can’t make it where we want to go. A great way to avoid this is to have a list of restaurants you’d like to go to according to the parts of the city you are in, and also to bring snacks or feel comfortable stopping at the market for something quick!
Bring your mask and continue to practice social distancing
Traveling isn’t what it was a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is essential to practice safety measures such as wearing a mask and continuing to practice social distancing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Opt for outside eating when you can, and just keep an extra distance from others in the city as possible.
All of these make for a safe family vacation, just ensure you and your family wear your masks and bring/use a lot of hand sanitizer to avoid any potential contraction of coronavirus, whether you go by plane or car!
written in collaboration with Emily Jones