• Porto is a wonderful place to start a trip abroad. Actually, Portugal in general (from what I’ve seen so far) is a really great place to start a trip in Europe.
  • Pronunciation of Portugese is extremely difficult- and though the written language is very similar to Spanish- don’t expect to get by on your Spanish.
  • Be kind, warm, and friendly. One thing Portuguese people have inspired me to do so far is be more kind and friendly. I feel that all humans could afford more of this. Although some people are thrown off by the language barrier or foreniers in general, once the initial shock or inconvienence of it wears off- they are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.
  • Yes, see the tourist attractions but don’t be caught up in planning your day around this. We’ve had more fun walking around the streets, getting lost and discovering new things than we’ve had rushing to see the famous landmarks.
  • Wandering is a great thing. The BEST food, the most beautiful buildings, the most intriguing streets- were all found by “accident.” The serendipity of travel is absolutely my favorite thing.
  • Sometimes it’s better to stay further in to the city, away from the center or main attractions. We had the most authentic experience because of this, and got to somewhat understand how it would feel to be a local.
  • Planning and doing research pays off. All the reading, comparing and planning – though it was tedious- really helped our trip to move with ease. For hostels and Air BnB- READ the reviews, it’s the most obvious and honest way to know if you’re choosing the right place.
  • Take care of yourself and don’t try to do too much in one day.
  • Be present and take in every moment. For me, it is inevitable to get a little moody or tired. Happens to most of us. But beyond that, the ability to still focus on your surroundings and the experience you’ve been granted is invaluable.
  • Pay attention. Look around you. How do the people interact? What does the language sound (or look) like? How does the energy of the city impact you? These are things I like to take note of.
  • Lastly, our first stop in Europe has helped me to not hold back. Try new things, escape your comfort zone, & be open. These things will greatly enrich any experience.
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