Hi, all. I have posted previously for advice on an itinerary for a trip to Portugal next summer. However, I also have a trip scheduled for next week. I scheduled this by myself in the spring of 2021, when it seemed we were nearing the end of the pandemic. Obviously, things have changed.
My schedule would be to fly from Washington, DC, overnight to Lisbon, arriving on the morning of Saturday the 18th. I would then fly back on Thursday, December 24.
On a somewhat serendipitous note, someone I follow on Instagram posted that she had just returned from Lisbon this week (I believe on December 4, but it was definitely after the new, Omicron-related restrictions went into place.) I thought I would post her thoughts here in case they could be useful to anyone else:
Following up on email here with more info on traveling to Lisbon. I think some things have changed even in the time since we've returned from our trip, but sending a few resources below that were super helpful for us:
US Embassy in Lisbon: https://pt.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
this page gets updated quite frequently with any new travel restrictions/guidelines and has details for entering Portugal as well as entering the US and all the forms/paperwork you'll need. We didn't realize there was a form we had to complete to get back to the US, it's like buried in the flight check-in process, so definitely be on the lookout for that. You'll need to have it printed to hand at the gate.
Portugal Tourism Page: https://www.visitportugal.com/en/content/covid-19-measures-implemented-portugal
resource for restrictions while in Portugal - now, you have to show a vaccine verification card (photo of your paper card worked just fine for us, but we did also bring our paper cards). Some places like bars/discos require a negative test as well as a vaccine card to get in. Double check with where you're staying as some places require a negative test now too.
Prior to leaving, we also purchased travel insurance here, just in case: https://www.portugaltravelinsurance.com/. And I would also recommend enrolling your trip with the State Dept via STEP...they'll send email updates if there's anything going on. Before you enter Portugal, you'll have to complete the Passenger Locator Card (they also distribute on the flight, we flew TAP airlines) and you'll have to show your negative covid test before boarding the flight to Portugal (we got our rapid antigens done at a CVS the day before our flight and printed it out; double check what the requirements are for your airline).
A few things to note, the US changed their travel requirement so that you now have to provide a negative covid test (PCR or rapid antigen works) one day before your flight home. Since Portugal has implemented stricter rules and some establishments require a negative test to enter, we did find it hard to source a rapid test for our trip back, despite there being so many pharmacies and walk-thru testing sites - it felt like everyone was out to get a test. We ended up scheduling using https://safecheck-in.app/. It was more expensive, just a heads up.
Lastly, leaving Lisbon was a bit crazy. They didn't announce our gate until 30 mins before boarding and we turned the corner to go to the gate and were met with a 400+ person line at Customs with only two people working the non-EU line and they had one passport stamp between them. It took a long time, and thankfully they delayed the flight a bit, but definitely be ready to stand in line and pad in some time if you're able to.
That's the information my contact had for me, which I found helpful. As I am traveling alone, vaccinated + booster, and do not plan to eat or drink indoors, I feel somewhat safe. But, will I be able to get a test to return to the US, and where would I stay should I happen to fail that test.
I hope to still make the trip, but at some point the risks outweigh the benefits.