When should I arrive in and depart from the host country?
Plan your flight to arrive in Lisbon, Portugal (airport code LIS), before 6:00 PM on the first day of your service program. Your team leader will be at the airport to meet you from 3:00 PM until 6:30 PM, allowing time for the 6:00 PM arrivals to clear customs.
Plan your departure from Lisbon for after 2:00 PM on the final day of your service program. These flight windows are especially important because we will be taking a train to and from the community in which we will be serving. It is approximately two hours by train between Beja & Lisbon and there are only two trains per day. Please note: You will not be able to return to Lisbon in time if you arrange for a flight that is earlier than 2:00PM. This coordinated schedule will assist in assembling the team for transportation to the host community.
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Will someone meet me at the airport?
Yes, provided you send your flight itinerary to Global Volunteers at least two weeks in advance of the service program arrival date. A Global Volunteers staff person or representative holding a Global Volunteers sign will meet you in the public area outside Customs. You'll travel with your teammates to your lodging.
What should I do if my flight is delayed?
Please notify Global Volunteers as soon as you confirm your new arrival plans so your team leader can arrange your transportation to the host community. If you make last-minute changes to your itinerary, or if you don't inform us of your flight plans, you must arrange your own transportation to the hotel or host community.
How late can I arrive in the host community?
Our orientation sessions are a critical component of the preparation for your assignments. If circumstances beyond your control prevent you from reaching the program on the opening day of the program, we require that you arrive no later than 9:00 AM on the following day so you can join your team for these sessions.
What should I do if I arrive before the scheduled arrival date?
If you choose to spend time in-country before the service program begins, please plan to meet your team at the designated airport within the specified arrival window on the first day of the program in order to be transported to the host community. Do not travel to the host community without the team leader or Global Volunteers representative without prior authorization.
FOOD AND LODGING
What type of lodging is provided?
In Lisbon on the first night of the program, you'll stay at a four-star hotel near the Orient train station.
In Beja, lodging is at the popular Residencial Bejense, a lovely 24-room family-run hotel on one of the main city avenues, just steps from several outdoor cafés. All rooms are double-occupancy in air-conditioned rooms with telephones, private bathrooms with hot and cold water, closets and a small balcony. Single rooms are available for an extra fee.
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What are the laundry arrangements?
There is daily laundry service at the hotel and in area laundromats.
What is the electrical power?
The electric current throughout Portugal is 220V. You should bring a converter (to 220V) and an adapter (the large round double-pronged version used throughout Europe) for your electrical appliances, unless they are dual voltage.
What is the local cuisine?
The Portuguese cuisine is delicious with a wide variety of dishes. Fish and shell fish are very common with many meals. Hearty soups and breads are also very popular menu choices. Tea and coffee are plentiful.
Can special diets be accommodated?
Most vegetarians can choose from a broad assortment of fruits, vegetables, soups, salads, and cheese. Vegans are much more difficult to accommodate because much Polish cooking, even that of vegetables, uses animal-based oils. Volunteers with such strict requirements should bring their foods to supplement their diet.
Will potable drinking water be provided?
Bottled water is provided for team members.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
What are the principal health risks?
We strongly recommend you consult your own physician, public health clinic and/or travel clinic for detailed travel health information.
What health precautions should I take?
For general recommendations, consult the following sources:
Centers for Disease Control
Health Canada Online
Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Travel Health Online
Is the water safe to drink?
We recommend that you bring a water bottle with you, and keep it filled with bottled water that will be provided to you by the team leader.
Is it safe to eat food purchased from street vendors?
We strongly recommend that you do not purchase food from street vendors.
What type of insurance do you recommend?
We strongly recommend medical insurance that covers you while you are outside your home country, and trip cancellation insurance. Your travel agent can refer you to travel insurance providers. Global Volunteers will provide you with emergency medical evacuation insurance.
What is the local currency?
The currency in Portugal is the euro.
What is the current exchange rate?
Where do I exchange money?
You can exchange a small amount of money there because you might not have a chance to exchange again for several days. In Beja, you'll have access to banks on Monday through Friday until 3:00PM.
Can I use cash, credit cards or checks?
Credit cards can be used to get cash 24 hours a day at several outside ATM machines in Beja.While traveler's checks are still a safe method of safeguarding cash when traveling, they are not the most convenient because banks and stores are not accustomed to them.The US$100 bill is the one most commonly exchanged, however volunteers have had no problems exchanging US$20 and US$50 bills. Canadian currency is less commonly accepted. Bring only new, clean bills as old or torn bills may not be approved for exchange.
How much money should I bring with me?
How much you bring depends on your personal spending and shopping habits and whether or not you want to go on an excursion during your free time on the weekend. Because of the variety of options, plan to spend between US$50 and US$400 per person. It's best to research your touring desires before you depart from home and plan accordingly. Your souvenir budget is discretionary.
How can my family contact me while I am in Portugal?
You'll receive a contact sheet with phone numbers for reaching you in the host community about a month before your departure. Please provide a copy to everyone who may need to reach you.
Can I make international phone calls?
Phones are available in the hotel guest rooms. You can buy phone cards locally.
Is internet service available?
There are free internet connections in most of our work sites, and throughout public buildings in Beja.