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To those with imminent travel - Thoughts on latest US State Dept. Advisory for Portugal

I have a trip for my family booked for early Sept to Lisbon, Faro and Porto. All of the details are in place - lodging, CP tix, rental car in the Algarve etc. I did purchase trip insurance that covers COVID issues, including unexpected quarantine or hospitalization, and also purchased a "Cancel For Any Reason" rider.

At the moment, US travelers are technically allowed to travel to Portugal with all of the testing stipulations, etc. Aside from "Can we go" we are considering "Should we go". I'm curious what the attitude is amongst those who have travel plans fairly soon. The US is not faring well in its own COVID surge and I'm wondering if Portugal might ban travelers from the US? What liability, coverage and other things change if we travel to a Level 4 risk area knowingly. And of course the real risk of contracting COVID in spite of being vaccinated.

Would love thoughts on this. Thanks!

Posted by
12319 posts

I've traveled across six countries in the last 4 weeks If chosen carefully and with consideration for their attitudes about tourism and their track reference for consistency in policy, I think an enjoyable trip can be had this year. I've enjoyed mine at least.

A significant concern you should have is personal comfort. In my travels social distancing has been almost non-existant. Mask wearing, only required inside, and then done so with sketchy compliance.

If entry requirements change you can always reschedule, but if you do get over here and you discover you can't be comfortable in an airport waiting room designed for 100 but with 200 packed in without ventilation .... well, you have no choice.

Posted by
12 posts

I am scheduled on a tour mid to end of August beginning in Lisbon and ending in Barcelona. My trip protection/travel insurance document is 52 pages! The tour company rep told me yesterday that she did not know if the tour was/will be cancelled due to the US State Dept listing Portugal & Spain as "RED-Do Not Travel". I need to schedule a PCR test to be completed 72 hours prior to my US departure for Lisbon. That appointment can easily be cancelled. But I too wonder about the insurance coverage if I enter a "red" country after the State Dept posts the warning. It may be different than for someone already in the country prior to the change from orange to red.

Posted by
6823 posts

I have been over here a week in my 3rd country. The hard part has been wearing a mask in public transit where you have no control over the temperature. Otherwise I am enjoying my out door hiking mountain visit oriented trip. I had to get my first ever COVID test in order to attend a large concert gathering. in France and to cross the border into Italy. Since you are staying in one country not crossing borders and got the insurance I think you should be ok.

Posted by
1767 posts

I honestly think you have to make your own decision. I personally think it’s not any riskier than going to Orlando or Las Vegas or places that the state department isn’t giving us notices for.

Posted by
12 posts

Not sure if Jazz was responding to Michael's concerns about liability and coverage or to mine. I will be crossing a border. Portugal to Spain.
Regarding the comparison by Carol of being delayed/quarantined in Spain versus Florida/Nevada... Being quarantined in a foreign country would be costlier and much more of a hassle to make insurance claims if needed. My health insurance outside the US is for emergency coverage. I will have to charge medical expenses in Spain and then file claims to get reimbursed after returning to the US, provided I'm healthy enough to travel and make it back.. I'm currently in great health but the Delta variant doesn't care. In the US... Orlando/Vegas... I just hand over my insurance card.
I would have family in the US who would come to my aid for assistance if I'm quarantined in a Vegas hotel... bringing food and picking up any needed medications. I'll be totally relying on courier services for food/medication delivery if I'm quarantined in Portugal or Spain.
Also not sure how Delta Airlines will deal with the need to change my return flight date if I get delayed due to quarantine or hospitalization.

Posted by
985 posts

I live in Portugal and the indications are that numbers are beginning to decrease and there are significant rumblings that some of the restrictions will be loosened soon. The numbers of people vaccinated here per 100,000 is better than the US numbers. I laughed out loud when I read the embassy email about putting Portugal on the red list since the numbers in the US are heading in the wrong direction.

That said, there is also talk of requiring the EU Covid Certificate or negative test to enter restaurants, tourist venues, etc. There is no mechanism for the vaccines from the US being acceptable at this time. Things change quickly and sometimes the new rules don’t make a lot of sense. Good resources for you to follow are DGS Portugal, Safe Communities Portugal, The Portugal News and Portugal Resident. These websites all seem to be up on the latest mandates.

People here are compliant with mask wearing, except for some of the returning tourists. I eat out,take public transport, go to stores, etc. and feel pretty safe now that I’ve been vaccinated. But, only you can decide on what feels comfortable to you. I would love to encourage you to come since Portugal really needs tourists to return. Do a bit more research on the sites above then make the decision as to what feels right for you.

BTW, when you do make it here, you’ll love it!

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you all for the thoughtful responses. Much appreciated. As some of you have also noted, I'm struck by the data comparison of Portugal to the US and Portugal to various US states, when looking at cases per 100K. Portugal is showing 202 cases/100K over the past 7 days with a decreasing case count trend during that time.

The US is at 133/100K but with a large increasing trend, and a number of states (mostly in the south - LA, AL, AR, FL, etc) are well above Portugal case rates. Point of all that being that if the US State Dept provided advisories for individual US states, 6 states would be advised against as they have much higher case rates.

My second concern was whether insurance coverage and other such things would be impacted if we travel after the State Dept/CDC advisory. I'll check my travel policy and see. I also appreciated the comment about being sick abroad vs. at home. Definitely something to consider.

For us we are still planning on going and know this is a very fluid situation. All of our lodging have full kitchens, so we can shop and eat in as needed. Again, appreciate all of the perspectives and wisdom!

Cheers! - Michael