The Essential Portugal Packing List of 2023, According to an Editor


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Sep 12, 2023

The Essential Portugal Packing List of 2023, According to an Editor

Everyone is headed to the country known for its historic cities, beautiful wine

Everyone is headed to the country known for its historic cities, beautiful wine country, and iconic Algarve coast. Here's what to pack.

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Portugal, known for its rolling vineyards and olive groves, beautifully tiled historic cities, and iconic coastal cliffs, has become one of the hottest traveler destinations in recent years. This past month, I explored many of Portugal's gorgeous sites, including a few days in the bustling city of Lisbon, the vineyards in the countryside of Alentejo, and a weekend in Lagos — a key city in the country's southern Algarve coast known for its cliffy coastline and superior seafood.

As a kitchen and food shopping editor, I’ve tested the latest and greatest products and tools for any home cook — including for travel. I packed only my favorite kitchen and travel items, ensuring everything had a purpose for my trip. Here's everything I recommend for an effortless adventure in one of Europe's buzziest countries.


When traveling internationally, there is perhaps nothing more critical than a reliable, spacious carry-on that's of good quality and — to some (okay, me!) — attractive. I’ve had this Paravel carry-on for over a year, and as a frequent traveler, it's gotten a lot of use. It's been thrown around public transportation systems, rolled over uneven city pavement, hauled up flights of stairs — you name it. Yet, this impossibly chic bag has withstood the test of time. I love its spacious interior with convenient pockets to store various loose items, and a compression board helps when I overfill it. Its 360-degree wheels have no problem keeping up with me, and its vegan leather details make it an absolute home run in my book.

On the other hand, my partner travels with the Away Carry-On, another traveler favorite. Its durable polycarbonate hard shell makes this carry-on remarkably lightweight, and its simple design is timeless. Whenever I go to handle it, I’m always impressed with its spinning capabilities, gliding across streets effortlessly, and it, too, is ergonomic. Plus, its built-in USB charger has saved my phone battery more than once. Do note that the battery must be taken with you and cannot be checked or gate-checked.

Price at time of publish: $395


You won't find me anywhere without my favorite insulated bottle from Fellow, but that rings especially true when traveling. The Food & Wine-favorite coffee brand touts it as a coffee mug (which it is!), but I love to use it for hot and cold beverages. It's well-insulated, made of 18/8 stainless steel, and has a BPE-free plastic exterior and an inner ceramic coating. Standing just five inches tall, it doesn't take up much space in my bag, but its wide size holds plenty of liquid. I can fill it up when heading onto the plane and still enjoy cold water well into my international flight. Likewise, it travels with me while sightseeing and is always there to offer a refreshing sip after a long day of sightseeing. I don't have to worry about it spilling in my bag with its tight-lip enclosure top. I love its delicious orangey-red color, but the Carter Mug comes in over ten colorways, so there's an option for everyone.

Price at time of publish: $30


Anyone traveling with me will quickly learn I’m a firm believer in packing snacks for long flights and longer sightseeing days. I grab these reusable food storage bags for things like nuts, cut-up produce, and granola. They come in various sizes depending on your needs, and they are perfect for stashing various snacks in your carry-on when the complementary pretzels just aren't enough. They are easy to clean, only requiring a quick rinse in the sink before re-packing for the rest of your travels. Apart from snacks, these convenient bags are great for stashing odds and ends like phone chargers, toiletries, and jewelry.

Price at time of publish: $32


I often stay in Airbnbs, so my first stop is usually the local grocery store to gather a few essentials for easy snacking or quick breakfasts. For this reason, I always pack a few different-sized Baggus, which are recycled, packable bags that fold into a small pocket only a few inches wide. When I discovered this brand a few years ago, it completely changed how I transport groceries at home and when traveling.

The standard-size bag is the perfect size for a few produce items, a carton of milk, some boxed snacks, and a few water bottles, and they come in a plethora of unique and fun patterns and colors. They’re made of recycled ripstop polyester, a yarn fabric made from pre-consumer waste, are machine-washable, and can carry up to 50 (yes, 50!) pounds. It's so lightweight and small that I can throw it in my bag or purse and keep it whenever I need more support in a pinch. It's also a great beach bag and takes up significantly less space in your suitcase than a rattan or cotton tote. And if you have to check your carry-on back home due to snagging too many souvenirs or bottles of wine during your trip, this is a great emergency bag to pull out of your suitcase and keep any essentials with you on the plane.

Price at time of publish: $14


With a sommelier in our group, a large focus was, of course, wine. Traveling with a sommelier also means we would likely be taking wine home with us back to the States — a perk I never complain about. With this in mind, I packed a few wine sleeves to stow away in her checked bag. Sure enough, after a day of visiting wineries in the Alentejo region, we left with a few favorite bottles. These handy sleeves offer protection from the unknown handling of checked bags. Simply place the bottle inside, peel the inner seal, and compress it against the protective outer vinyl covering. Then, peel and stick the outer seal and fold the vinyl flap onto the second adhesive strip and press firmly. With a bubble-wrap-like interior, its design ensures there won't be any disasters waiting for you at baggage claim.

For the most serious wine drinkers, wine suitcases offer the highest security and convenience of transporting multiple bottles at once. Our Executive Wine Editor Ray Isle loves his one from VinGardeValise, which securely fits up to 12 bottles and can accommodate clothing or other belongings if needed.

Price at time of publish: $23


When packing for a wine country trip (or any trip), it's not a bad idea to include a TSA-approved wine opener for spontaneous picnics. I like this small, no-frills opener that can attach to a keychain and is incredibly lightweight, taking up little to no space in my luggage. This set comes with two openers, so you can leave one in your suitcase and take the other with you. It does not have a lever to help pull the cork out, so it may not offer the smoothest experience, but it will get the job done. You’ll likely have access to a wine opener in your travels, but this compact portable one will save you in a pinch. While you’re at it, a couple of wine stoppers aren't a bad idea, either.

Price at time of publish: $26


I was always a believer in the rolling packing method. And while I still am, I’ve found packing cubes to be an incredibly efficient way to compress my clothing items even further. This pack from travel-favorite brand Monos comes in sets of four or six different sizes. Not only does it magically create more space in my carry-on, but it offers an entirely new level of organization. The mesh-top panel allows you to see what's inside without having to unzip and re-inflate your cube, which is convenient if you have multiple destinations on your trip and pack accordingly for each stay. With these cubes, I can fit almost twice as many articles of clothing as before. And with such limited precious real estate in my carry-on, I’ll take it.

Price at time of publish: $110

Documenting Portugal's beautiful sites is no easy feat, so I attached this conveniently compact battery pack to my iPhone to ensure my phone was up to the job. The MagSafe battery pack uses a magnet to quickly latch onto the back of an iPhone, automatically charging in minutes. It's compatible with iPhone 12s and beyond, so it's easy to pass around in a group as long as the iPhones are of somewhat newer generations.

Price at time of publish: $99


With precious cargo (Portuguese wine) in tow, I brought an Apple AirTag to track our checked suitcase. The small device connects your iPhone and shows its location in the Apple "Find My" app. Admittedly, I was initially nervous the activation process would be complicated, but it actually couldn't be easier. An AirTag is a simple way to eliminate any worries about lost luggage, making traveling a little less stressful. Of course, once you’re in the air, the connection will be lost, but rest assured you should have access to its whereabouts as soon as the plane lands. I also love it for home use because it can play a noise when lost, but it proves to be especially useful when traveling.

Price at time of publish: $28


International flights mean long flights, and I’ll do anything to lessen my jetlag. I’m the person who's always fighting over the window seat, not to look out the window but to have a surface to lean on. While I’m not always lucky, this cozy neck pillow eliminates the need for the window wall, offering neck support by way of its upright design. Simply wrap it around your neck, secure it with the velcro strip, and lean your weight into it. It's certainly no first-class experience, but it's given me more shut-eye than I would have otherwise. You may feel a bit self-conscious at first, wrapping this somewhat awkward device around your neck, but trust me; you’ll soon get over that once you’re fast asleep and the others around you are still fidgeting to get comfortable.

Price at time of publish: $60


When planning for Portugal, you’ll likely read about how hilly Lisbon is, but it's an entirely different ball game once you’re there. I quickly realized I would not be wearing any of my hard-to-walk-in sandals or heels once I hit the streets, grabbing my daily Pastel de Nata and espresso. Luckily I always travel with these vintage-inspired Reeboks made of soft leather and a subtle cream color that never looks too stark against any outfit.

Price at time of publish: $45


One of the things I loved about Portugal was how casual people dress. When I wasn't wearing my Reeboks, I was kicking around in my Birkenstocks. Arguably one of the most comfortable shoes in existence, Birkenstock's signature footbed molds with your feet over time, resulting in a completely customized shoe. Dress them up or down with shorts, pants, dresses, or skirts; this classic shoe never disappoints.

Price at time of publish: $105

Dana Fouchia is a food writer and editor with over eight years of experience writing for publications like the Chicago Tribune, LA Times, New York Daily News, Allrecipes, and more. For this piece, she included first-hand experiences and insights to determine the packing essentials any traveler needs on their next trip to Portugal — and beyond.

Price at time of publish: $395 Price at time of publish: $30 Price at time of publish: $32 Price at time of publish: $14 Price at time of publish: $23 Price at time of publish: $26 Price at time of publish: $110 Price at time of publish: $99 Price at time of publish: $28 Price at time of publish: $60 Price at time of publish: $45 Price at time of publish: $105