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Dreaming of Portugal

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Posts: 32
Community Member
Topic starter
(@brandy)
Eminent Member
Joined: 4 months ago

Hello! My husband Bill and I are exploring a move to Portugal and are grateful for this awesome expat community. We're from the US and had not seriously contemplated moving abroad until very recently but hope to make the move in about 3 years. We're very worried about the political situation in the US and are seeking a more peaceful, slower-paced life.  If we can hold out in the US for 8.5 more years, we can come as retirees.

Although we have never traveled to Portugal, we've done enough extensive research online to determine that we're serious and our next step should be to visit in Spring 2022. So far, we're leaning toward Porto, but are planning to visit the greater Lisbon area, Aviero, and Porto to help us choose. 

We're in our late 40s and will need to secure jobs. He has worked in manufacturing, and I'm a university lecturer and director of centers related to workforce development and entrepreneurship & innovation. Our children are adults and won't be joining us.

We'll be bringing our three cats, but I can't find any information on the real estate sites I frequent as to whether or not it's commonly acceptable to have pets--or a limit on the number--when renting flats. We need to know as soon as possible whether committing to bring our three cats will impact our ability to rent, as we would prefer not to have to buy a home in order to make the move.

Given that we have a lot of lead time, we'd welcome recommendations as how to approach planning. When should we start working with a professional company that manages this process? From the time that you started planning to move in earnest, how long did it take you and what were some of the surprising factors that took less/more time than anticipated?

Thank you so much!

15 Replies




Posts: 1929
VIP Member
(@old-bloke)
Noble Member
Joined: 13 years ago

Don't get any more cats, the law only allows a maximum of 4 in an apartment (rented or owned).

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1 Reply
Community Member
(@brandy)
Joined: 4 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 32

@old-bloke, we completely agree about no more cats! They already outnumber us and rule our home. 😊 

Thank you for the information about the legal limit on cats. Although we're not planning on adding another cat, it's good to know that three aren't too many.

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Posts: 247
Community Member
(@aspidistra)
Estimable Member
Joined: 4 months ago

This isn’t a criticism of anyone transporting pets but sometimes I wonder if it is better to rehome them in their original country, however hard that is.

 I know airlines don't allow animals to be tranquillised now, as they don’t travel with vets. This means pets can be incredibly traumatised by the long journey across the Atlantic.

I don’t know if the no-tranquilliser rule applies to all planes, maybe there are exceptions for charters with vets?

 However this is just a word of warning, some friends brought their beloved collie dog over to the US from the UK and the dog was so traumatised by the journey he nearly died and never really got over it. 

With cats, they were put in cages for transportation in sight of the dogs, so the cats had a particularly traumatic time. I offer no judgment on moving pets, I totally understand the attachments people have but it is worth considering if their lives are better served by being rehomed? Just a general thought, not aimed at OP.

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3 Replies
Community Member
(@brandy)
Joined: 4 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 32

@aspidistra, thank you so much for your kind, sensitive reply. ❤️  We are very focused on the cats' wellbeing, and you've highlighted the aspect of moving of which we're most anxious. We'll continue our research to learn more about the companies that help to transport pets and talk to our veterinarian.  

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 Zoom
(@zoom)
Joined: 11 months ago

Member
Posts: 110

@brandy A quick data point about pets. We have a little dog, and we started taking him with us when he was about 6 months old, as an in-cabin pet. He turned out to be a very calm and relaxed flyer, so now we take him frequently (he even has his own European pet passport! 🙄) . I believe up to two pets can share a single carrier as long as they fit the weight limit, so you may be able to bring them as in-cabin pets (much better for them). Have you taken them on a plane? it might be worth a short flight as a practice run to see if they take to it. There is NO way we'd leave him behind, so I understand your concern. BTW, we find Lufthansa much better than United on pets - they even allow them in premium economy and business class, which gives you more options.

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Community Member
(@brandy)
Joined: 4 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 32

@zoom Thank you so much for the advice! All of our cats were rescued, so we weren't able to/or didn't think to help them acclimate to air travel. I didn't know there were European pet passports, but it has somehow made my day a little brighter! 😊

We just couldn't leave our cats behind. We would decide not to move over leaving them behind.

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Posts: 80
Premium Member
(@cindyb)
Trusted Member
Joined: 7 months ago

A few of us are considering multiple legs for the journey so that it is easier on our furry kids. For me, that's a flight to the east coast, the Azores and then to mainland Portugal.

Once I have my D7 in hand, my plan is a trip over to get housing setup and then a second 3-legger to bring my fur daughter. It isn't easy or cheap but she's my kid...

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1 Reply
Community Member
(@brandy)
Joined: 4 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 32

@cindyb That's such a great idea! Thank you

 

 

 

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Posts: 247
Community Member
(@aspidistra)
Estimable Member
Joined: 4 months ago

Zoom that's good to hear you could take them in the cabin. As you say, it must depend on size/weight, hence the collie had to go cargo. I wonder if you can administer tranquillisers yourself if you are travelling with them? I can’t imagine a cat not freaking out completely without something to knock it out a bit.

re your other points Brandy, as you have said you would both be working in Portugal, I would have thought that was the first thing to really research in depth; whether you can get employment in your fields or whether it is time for change.

I am sure you are already looking into this but as a lot of professional Portugueuse leave the country looking for better opportunities abroad it's worth establishing how easy it will be to get the kind of jobs you want.

I would then say the next bit is to just talk to one of the professionals that people recommend here to check out your visa eligibility. Others from the US can tell you how long a visa took to get but just knowing what you need to qualify would be good.

Apologies if I am saying things you are already well aware of! I have found doing the research is really quite fun but not everyone may agree.

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2 Replies
Community Member
(@brandy)
Joined: 4 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 32

@aspidistra, thank you for this advice! I was beginning to think people saw as only the humans responsible for ensuring the cats made it safely and comfortably! 😊 

I love doing the research. It's fun and keeps me sane.  I love the minutiae and the deep dives. I make lists and charts. On the other hand, my husband ponders deeply. He listens to many genres of Portuguese music on YouTube. He orders English-language translations for Portuguese literature. We make a great team!

I prematurely applied to three jobs already, so I know there's work within my field--I don't plan to stay in academia. We anticipate making a lot less than we do here and are planning for that. 

I think we mostly yearn to leave the US and feel a sudden sense of urgency. We love everything we've learned about Portugal so far and want to visit soon so we can make an informed decision about this huge move. Once we get there, we want to integrate into the community, learn and experience as much as we can, and enjoy a peaceful, safe life.

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Community Member
(@aspidistra)
Joined: 4 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 247

@brandy that all sounds so good, you are clearly thinking it all through,  I guess coming over for a visit is the main thing. Look forward to hearing what you think when you come over.

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