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Nervous about my trip next week

I leave for Lisbon in exactly 1 week.,
Its down to the wire for refundable cancellations.
Despite being super prepared for all travel requirements I question whether to go especially with the rise in cases & the PM won’t announce any new restrictions til Thursday.
Normally, I would just take the chance & go but a couple things happened to make me wonder if they are signs not to go. My food tour reservation had issues due to Holiday & rest are full. And I fell on pavement last week- bruised & sore but ok- thinking great right before a hilly walking city.

Any insights into current on ground situation?
Thanks

Posted by
189 posts

I sympathize with your concerns. Whatever you decide, I hope it works out well.
To be on the safe side, do you have time to schedule an x-ray where you are bruised and sore? Just in case for peace of mind?
I had a hairline fracture on my arm from a fall once that didn't even hurt. I only decided to see the doctor because my arm
kept making weird noises whenever I reached for the phone.
Safe travels!

Posted by
33 posts

You'll have to decide what to do about the trip. Many of us are facing that decision these days. If you decide to go, I'd recommend taking hiking sticks with you. I have a collapsible pair that fit in my carry-on. We were in Lisbon a few of years ago and I wished I had brought them. Lisbon is hilly, the sidewalks are paved with tiles that are sort of slippery because people have been walking on them for decades. We didn't have any rain, but I understand that when it rains they are very slippery. Since that trip, i take my sticks on every trip.

Posted by
201 posts

I just looked at the New York Times covid tracker map, and both Spain and Portugal, while in upward trends, are still doing quite well, at least much better than northern neighbors like France and Germany. Based on that alone, you might choose to roll the dice, but have you read suggestions elsewhere that Portugal is leaning towards more restrictions? What has been Portugal's recent history on imposing restrictions? They may decide to err on the side of caution given what is happening around them (France, UK, etc).

Good luck with a tough decision. If you can cancel and not suffer financially, I think that could be the most prudent thing to do. This surge in Europe is catching many people in the same dilemma. About 3 weeks ago I considered but quickly punted the idea of Paris in mid December...the numbers were heading in the wrong direction then, and it has gotten quite a bit worse in just the last few weeks.

We just had a conversation about this today, after reading this morning's newspaper. Here are my thoughts:

  • We both have our boosters and are very healthy.
  • The risks at home are generally the same as abroad (or in other states).
  • The pandemic is becoming more of an "endemic" and we can't let it keep us from living and traveling while in our prime retirement years.
  • Warmer weather destinations make it easier to dine outside, so we are drawn to those locales for now.

I will leave you with a quote that I love from Cameron Hewitt (Rick Steves' travel writer): "I keep circling back to that old metaphor: COVID is the rain. The vaccine is a raincoat. Masking is an umbrella. I’m fine with getting a little mist on my glasses, provided I can stay mostly dry. But I’m not willing to stay inside until the rain stops, because that could be years, or it may never happen at all. Delta has turned a shower into a downpour. But by running from awning to awning, taking cover as necessary, I believe I can enjoy a fun yet responsible trip to Europe without getting soaked.”

Posted by
264 posts

I don't know the current situation and what restrictions may be put in place, but I found Safe Communities a good website to get information. We traveled in August when cases were high and restrictions in place regarding needing negative tests to eat indoors and check into our accommodations. In the few weeks prior to the trip, I monitored the case numbers, specifically watching the R factor prior to the final decision.

https://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com/

I especially found the link to their Facebook page helpful when the new restrictions came in place.

I hope your injury is getting better. When I went, I had an ankle injury. In my case, I brought an ankle brace and bought ice packs at the pharmacy once in Portugal. The cobblestones are very uneven, so I think the idea of walking sticks is a good one or something to help brace your foot if needed to prevent further injury.

And a final note, we had an amazing time and no regrets in going :)

Posted by
67 posts

I love my collapsible nordic walking sticks, but I thought they were not allowed in carryon baggage. I thought Rick said he had to check his bag when he took his walking sticks to Europe recently. I'd love to travel with mine and not have to check a bag...

Posted by
7 posts

We just came back( last week) from Portugal after spending two weeks there. We both work in healthcare and are vaccinated. We felt much safer there knowing Portugal is almost 86% vaccinated and still very good at masking habits. People wear their masks much more diligently than we do here. Covid testes are very easily accessible. Their pharmacies are very helpful in any assistance they can provide. If I were you, I ll just go ahead. Taxis and Ubers are freely available at very reasonable price. Not once I felt unsafe there. Its a very safe country with wonderful people and while in Lisbon don't for get to sip Ginginjha everyday every couple of hours. :) Have fun.

Posted by
1158 posts

Since I am here, I can give you some first hand information on what it’s like right now.

I’ll start by saying I’m living my life pretty much as pre Covid except for wearing a mask, using more hand sanitizer and thinking a bit about distancing when I’m in a crowded street. Yes, numbers have risen but as the other poster noted, Portugal is doing much better than a lot of other countries. And, people here have not politicized mask wearing (for the most part), so masks are much more readily worn than in the states. No one would think of not wearing a mask on public transport and in most buildings.

Yes, there is some rumbling about increased restrictions but the things I’ve read have been the likelihood of masks being required all the time outdoors again and people working from home. Grocery stores and Farmacia’s sell rapid tests for under €2 and many places have buses around town giving free tests (Cascais for one).

Of course, I could be wrong but I will be very surprised if we go into full lockdown again at least until after Christmas and somewhat surprised if it happens even then. But, you are the only one who can decide and know how risk averse you are.

FYI - we’ve been having clear blue skies and temps (having a cold spell) in the high 50’s - low 60’s. It’s a nice time to be here other than an occasional rain shower.

Posted by
1798 posts

I was concerned for our trip to Spain in October, but like Portugal, their vaccination rate is higher, and there are no issues with mask wearing. We had the BEST time traveling again, and really felt safe. Locals very aware of distancing, and being safe.

I'd say GO FOR IT. You have the opportunity to travel, wear your mask, eat outside if you can, keep your distance as much as possible and enjoy your freedom to visit another country. Have you been boosted yet? That would be your extra layer of protection.

Take extra Advil for your aches and pains from your fall, you have another week to feel better. Ice your sore spots, your bruises will heal.

Posted by
33 posts

The TSA says that hiking sticks need to be in checked bags unless they are needed for mobility purposes. Sheddybetty1 fell last week and is bruised and sore, which certainly would indicate they would be helpful for her for mobility purposes. You don't need a doctor's note, or give them a long explanation, you just need to tell the TSA at baggage screening that you need them for mobility. TSA will screen them separately. You should have the rubber tip covering the pointy end. Once we get through screening I put them in the carryon bag. One of the benefits of being older is that to the young TSA folks, we look like we need walking sticks :-)

Posted by
2119 posts

I travel with a walking stick that I never check since I never check a bag. It’s a rubber-tipped cane, basically. Because of the tip, no one cares if I carry it on. I collapse my down to its shortest length and slide it through a handle on my luggage. It’s been to Jordan, Israel, France, Mexico and more, in and out of airports and metal detectors. I’ve had no problem with it at all.

I much prefer the rubber tip to the sharp metal tip - the metal makes noise and is slippery on cobblestones. My rubber tip cane is totally reliable and it’s never slipped.

I like the Leki brand. Here’s one that’s similar to mine: https://www.rei.com/product/185794/leki-legend-black-carbon-walking-pole-single

You could use two if you want, but I get by with just one.

Posted by
193 posts

Hi!

I live in Porto. New measures were just announced. Things are like kathrynj said here above.

What's new is that you need (again) a negative test (not only vaccination certificate) to enter the country by air, and you need certificate for restaurants indoors, bars, and discotheques. Also for big events. And to check in at the place where you're staying (hotels, apartments, etc).

I'm not sure about wearing masks at open air, they are mandatory but there are some exceptions. Well, I still use mask at open air unless there is noone in my "space". So keeping social distance is still the rule. New measures are more or less just common sense, at least for tourists. Some new things for us: schools in January only start at 10th, working from home will be mandatory, etc.

Hope you feel more reassured. Everything will be open at usual times, and trust me, you will feel safe and you can have a very good time!

Helena

Posted by
1158 posts

I will add one thing to Helena’s post. Needing a negative test for restaurants and hotels isn’t such a huge deal. Rapid antigen tests are readily available at farmácia’s and supermarkets. I pay less than €2 for one, and they are quick and easy to use.

Posted by
1270 posts

We returned from Lisbon a week ago. We saw walk through rapid testing kiosks are Rossio, Praca da Figueira and Praca dos Restauradores. The test was free, even for tourists and the results came to our phones and also emails. There are also pcr kiosks but the one we checked was run by a pharmacy and the test was 90 euros. There are testing sites throughout the city but those above are easily accessible for tourists. Rapid testing is fine.

Posted by
34 posts

Hi Betty, have you made a decision?

I'd probably go, personally. I'm also working on a Jan or Feb trip to Porto and Braga area myself.

If you do go, I'd be interested on what you needed to do to prove vaccination status once you're in PT (is the CDC card enough?).

Posted by
8 posts

Many thanks for the info, insights, advice & support in helping make this decision to travel or not.
After much discussion & deliberation, we decided to postpone our trip to Lisbon ☹️
The new variant just added an additional concern. As it turns out, my concern was really not on the ground in Lisbon but the hoards in close quarters at airports due to holiday travel.
I’m grateful we were able to cancel with refunds- no penalties. We are flexible enough to travel on short notice so this is only a postponement. I’m already looking at late January February hoping the situation stabilizes & at least it won’t be over a holiday travel period. I only booked this trip one month ago & planning it has been fun. I can live through one more disappointment knowing that I’ll get there soon. Until then I can travel vicariously through my fabulous RS fellow travelers
Blessings & Safe Happy Travels. Julie

Posted by
34 posts

Good call. Omicron changes everything. When I was researching flights from Spokane to Porto for Jan-Feb 2021, many of the best flights went thru Amsterdam or Frankfurt. I don't think I want to be traveling thru Amsterdam or Frankfurt with Omicron already in Belgium and probably in Amsterdam at this point. Pfizer says they should know in 2 weeks if the vaccines work against Omicron so now its a waiting game for me as well.

Posted by
51 posts

Many in these posts keep saying you need a Covid test for restaurants and hotels. Please provide documentation when you post such things. I am finding research to the contrary.

From December 1st
Mandatory mask in closed spaces
General recommendation for regular testing
Mandatory EU COVID Digital Certificate, or proof of vaccination attesting to the complete vaccination schedule or negative test when accessing:
- Restaurants (except on outdoors terraces)
- Tourist establishments and local accommodation
- Events with reserved seats
- Gyms
Mandatory negative test (even for vaccinated) when accessing:
- Bars and clubs;
- Visits to patients in health facilities;
- Large events without reserved seats or in improvised venues and sports venues (RT-PCR Test, Rapid Antigen Test or selftest performed at entrance accepted).