Olá–Traveling to Portugal with a Toddler is a Breeze!

Olá–Traveling to Portugal with a Toddler is a Breeze!

by Marianne Perez-Fransius

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Mother and Daughter in Portugal

Greetings–my name is Summer Romeo. People always tell you to “travel now because when you have kids you won’t be able to travel again.” My life forever changed when I had my daughter, but my life did not stop. Travel is a passion of mine, and I want to share that with my daughter.This past July, I spent two weeks in Portugal with my 20-month-old and brother who joined us as my husband had to stay home for work. I’m thrilled to share here my tips on traveling to Portugal with a toddler in tow.

Portugal is a beautiful country filled with friendly people, history, and beautiful sights, not to mention the amazing seafood. In my opinion, there are four main areas in the country to see–Lisbon, Porto, Douro Valley, and the Algarve which will all give you a real taste of Portugal within two short weeks. I invite you to check out our itinerary outlined below.   

Recommended 2-week Portugal itinerary:

Porto and Lisbon are an absolute must. I advise that you stay three nights in each city and spend no less than a week in Portugal, and ideally 2 weeks.

Getting there:

We flew round-trip from New York into Lisbon for convenience sake as we could not get a direct flight into Porto from JFK. Lesson learned–missing a connecting flight with a baby or toddler is awful and thus I always try to find a direct flight if at all possible. This proved to be a wise decision, as we were delayed over fours at JFK and our flight did not take off until after midnight…

Airport security with a toddler:

As we luckily had Delta Sky Priority, check in was a breeze.  They didn’t even make me take my daughter off my back and I carried her right through in my Sakura Bloom Onbuhimo! The lines were so long at the regular check in.. Remember that you can bring on board liquids and food for your child. Just make sure you tell the agent so they don’t flag you. Always pack them in an easy-access Ziploc to avoid digging around searching and to get through security quickly!

Waiting in the airport with a toddler:

We were able to relax in comfort in the Delta One Sky Club. Needless to say,  a four-hour delay is never fun, especially with a toddler who should have been in bed at 7:30PM…We finally took off after midnight! As my daughter fell asleep in her stroller in the Delta One Sky Club, I had to wake her to board the plane. 

Flying with a toddler:

I have never bought a seat for my daughter since she can fly free (just pay taxes) until she turns two. Meanwhile, we are taking full advantage. This flight we lucked out. We got upgraded to Premium Economy, but our old row was empty, I asked the flight attendant if we could move back and the whole row was ours! In flight service can be a pain. It lasted till 2AM. Seriously, who wants dinner at that hour?! As I had bought headphones for my daughter, we watched movies until we both fell asleep.

Jet lag with a toddler:

My rule of thumb is to power through day one. I don’t adjust bedtime back to her American bedtime. How could you in Europe where everyone eats late? We enjoy the culture and just roll with it. She would usually would fall asleep in the stroller around 9PM while I would have dinner. I would transfer her into her crib by 11PM. This actually makes coming back home to the U.S. way easier.

Naps on the go:

We never have had a nap schedule, even at home. Call me crazy,  but it just didn’t work and was never worth the fight. I’m lucky that my daughter literally naps anywhere and whenever she is tired. 

What bébé loved:

The food, the beaches, the outdoor dogs, and the trams. She loves good food and will try anything, which makes eating out with a child a breeze!

What Mom loved:

I loved the culture and the price points! Everyone in Portugal was so incredibly friendly. They love children.

Tips for travelling to Portugal with kids:

I was impressed with how child friendly the whole country was. From the moment we landed in the country to the moment we left, I was made to feel that travelling with my daughter was not an inconvenience to anyone. She was welcomed everywhere with open arms. Every restaurant provided a high chair, and all of our accommodations provided a cot with baby bedding and a high chair, Taxi and Uber drivers helped getting the stroller in and out of the car. Without us having to ask,the airport staff let us cut the whole customs line. Strollers were available free of charge at the airport from the gates to the baggage claim. Everywhere I turned, someone was offering a hand to make things just a little bit easier for us.

Getting around Portugal:

As public transportation in Europe is reliable and affordable, train systems are a great alternative to rental cars.

  • Porto: Use taxis, Ubers, and trams. Do not use a rental car.
  • Lisbon: Use taxis, Ubers, and trams. Do not use a rental car.
  • Douro Valley: I highly recommend a rental car as public transportation isn’t accessible in this region.
  • Algarve: I highly recommend a rental car as public transportation isn’t accessible in this region.

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