Traveling to Portugal During a Global Pandemic


Traveling during a global pandemic is most certainly frightening, and frankly a lot more work than if times were normal. However, as countries become more and more open it is definitely becoming possible again. Having recently flown out of the country and to Portugal myself, I am going to share my experiences on all things masks, COVID-19 tests, and the general rules and regulations in place for the health and safety of yourself as well as others. 


Face coverings are absolutely mandatory in all airports, airplanes, and other public transportation systems in the United States and across the world. With it also being difficult to distance yourself in these settings, the Center for Disease Control encourages folks to wear their mask properly- covering both their nose and mouth.

During my trip, I relied heavily on the subway to get around Portugal. Everyone was wearing face masks the right way since we were unable to socially distance ourselves in the train cars.

Airlines are very picky about passengers wearing masks the correct way. Select airlines also even require disposable masks instead of reusable cloth ones.

On my United and Lufthansa flights, flight attendants had disposable masks free of charge if you didn’t have the correct one on. In outdoor settings, I found people tend to pick and choose whether they have it on or not. Some have it on properly, others with it hanging under their nose or even under their chin. Sometimes they were nowhere in sight! 

COVID-19 Tests

Moving on to my least favorite part of international travel during COVID-19-  the tests. You are required by the United States federal regulation as well as countries around the globe to have a test taken within 72 hours of your departure or arrival.

In my experiences within the United States, I’ve done the swab by myself at my local Walgreens (also available at places such as your family doctor, Costco at-home kits, and other pharmacies across the county). Overseas, I had it done by a doctor in the Lisbon airport.

It is also definitely nice knowing that the people around you on your nine-hour trans-Atlantic flight are all negative! 

General Travel

To add, it is required that everyone able to is fully vaccinated when traveling internationally. You turn every corner in the airport and they are checking vaccine cards and negative tests again- so make sure that you have all your documents in line! This includes your passport, vaccination card, negative test results, and oftentimes a passenger locator card that provides emergency contacts and accommodations while in the visiting country. 

Overall, airports, airlines, and other businesses are doing everything they can do to have a clean and safe environment for the duration of your flight. Despite all the hassle to get to and from Portugal, travel is an absolutely amazing opportunity. Believe me when I say it teaches you things no textbook ever could…