If you are a regular traveller, you will almost certainly have your own tried and tested check-list and packing routine before heading to the airport – and on to your final destination, in this case Faro.
Obviously, documentation is the first key priority: passport, European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if a EU citizen, credit card(s) and printed boarding card (or mobile app)…
Then there are the ear plugs and eye mask for light sleepers (especially if your hotel is in the centre of town and you suspect it might be a bit noisy at night); sun protection cream and sunglasses (indispensable on the Algarve, with its bright sun and whitewashed buildings); medication (if required, and ideally accompanied by a doctor’s prescription); and appropriate seasonal clothing.
Also, perhaps a phrasebook and guidebook if you plan to venture away from the hotel pool and do some intrepid exploring in the surrounding area, or further afield – and a new potboiler book for when you return to the sunbed.
No matter how experienced you are as a traveller, you will also be well-advised to look into specific local conditions and requirements, including the following…
Loose and lightweight clothes are recommended for the summer months in the Algarve, where temperatures soar.
In spring and early autumn, most days are pleasantly warm, but there can be a nip in the air in the evenings – especially by the sea – so best to bring a shawl, cardigan, jumper or light jacket in your luggage.
The Algarve does not experience the same frosty weather in winter as other parts of northern Portugal. Nevertheless, the locals will still be bundled up in jeans, thickish jackets and warm shoes – and bemused at the sight of foreign visitors in shorts and sandals. It can rain quite heavily in winter, but not usually for lengthy periods in southern Portugal so probably not necessary to bring an umbrella or raincoat.
The dress code for going out in the evening, to restaurants, pubs and nightclubs, tends to be smart casual, with beachwear only suitable for the daytime and at beach bars.
Many Algarve towns have cobblestoned streets, where high heels are a problem, and they are also slippery when it rains so best to wear shoes with a grip for maximum safety and comfort.
In Portugal, European two-pin round plugs are used for electrical items (220-240V), so you will probably need a travel adaptor if you are journeying from the UK or outside the European Union.
Most hotels that cater to British and Irish tourists are likely to provide coffee-making facilities and teabags in your room, but if you desperately need your cuppa first thing in the morning it would be a good idea to bring a compact travel kettle – just to be sure.
Credit and Debit Cards
Petrol stations and the main shops and supermarkets in the Algarve accept credit cards –at least Visa. However, some restaurants and smaller establishments might insist on payment in cash, or have a non-functioning card machine on the day you are visiting.
It is, therefore, highly recommended to bring euros with you (preferably small denominations up to €20, no higher than €50), although ATMs are in plentiful supply for emergency and extra withdrawals.