SEVEN Things to make your life easier when first moving to Portugal
Learn the language – Don’t be half hearted. If you’re going to live in a rural area have at least two lessons a week for the first year.
Carry a note book and pen at all times – This is great for people to draw location maps on, addresses (if you can’t decipher what they are saying), even writing down the name of the dish or wine that you really enjoyed at the restaurant.
Drive – if you’re a couple and can both drive do so it will open up the area quickly to you. If you are a little nervous go to a driving school and book some time with an instructor so that you can get used to “driving on the wrong side” with confidence.
Also make sure that you have a TomTom map application on your phone or in your car. Then you can explore the area around you and find your way back home easily.
Eat out at lunch time – find a local restaurant where there are lots of cars and trucks parked outside. Don’t worry about its appearance if there are lots of people the food will be great and very reasonably priced. You will gradually meet local people as they don’t travel too far away from home to eat.
Don’t drink too much and drive – Many people coming to Portugal slide into the permanently on holiday mode. As a result they often stay longer in bars and restaurants, drink more than usual back home and drive. While the number of policemen in Portugal is relatively low there is a good chance that you will be caught. Spending a night or more in a Portuguese prison cell is no way to integrate.
The law here is different – Certainly different to UK law. People carry with them from their home country a sense of how things “should be” in Portugal. THEY ARE NOT.
Normally based on their prior experience. When disagreement crop up here its usually between expats and can very quickly end up in court. You will waste lots of money even if you are right! and no one needs the lingering stress and hassle that these small cases bring. Just walk away.
Don’t buy too big – Virtually all of us are seduced by a large plot of land or a big house. You could be a couple looking for a retirement home and see a house with so many out buildings that you could convert into additional accommodation – Think very hard if you do plow all this money into it who will buy it from you. Being trapped in a home with too much land or too big a property will cause you to sell it for a loss in the end at a time when you need money most.
Relax, take things slowly and just sink in to Portugal you will love it here.