There has been great interest in the Algarve Long Stay program for 2019 within the Halifax Retirees Lunch & Travel Club.
Of course, there are lots of questions as well. You can refer here to see if your questions are answered. This page will be updated when new questions come in. If your question is not answered, please feel free to email me for further information.
Who is the trip for?
Technically the trip is for anyone who wishes to escape Nova Scotia for three weeks in the winter to the sunny Algarve region in the South of Portugal. The trip is being marketed primarily to the Halifax Retirees Lunch & Travel Club. It is not a requirement for you to be part of the club to participate (although we’d love to have you, and it’s Free!), nor do you have to be retired. However, by nature of it being a long stay, most people who join are likely to be in the later years of their jobs, or fully retired.
Friends and family from other provinces are welcome to join. While I suspect most participants will be from Halifax, Nova Scotia. This is not a requirement.
What is the cost of the trip?
$1698 CAD per person for the land portion of the trip.
Includes: 4 star accommodations with kitchenette (18 nights Albufeira), 4 star accommodations with breakfast (3 nights Lisbon), in-destination transfers, 3 breakfasts, 1 dinner, on-site support staff in the Algarve
Flights (see below)
Travel insurance – I can get you a quote for cancellation, interruption and medical insurance.
Excursions, fitness classes, car rental (optional)
Groceries / Meals – Cost will vary greatly depending on how many meals you cook in your apartment and how often and extravagantly you eat out.
How much will groceries and eating out cost?
It is near impossible to predict this as everyone’s preferences are different. It will depend if you eat a hot breakfast vs a piece of toast, how many meals you cook in your apartment and how often you like to indulge in seafood and alcohol.
You can expect meals and groceries to be the same, or slightly less expensive than in Halifax. The exception to this is wine, which you will find for $5 per bottle or a few dollars per glass. Beer is generally cheaper in the Algarve than Halifax as well. When I lived in the Algarve I spent about $50 per week on groceries to cover breakfast and lunch. I ate dinners out regularly and rarely spent more than $15 – $20 on a meat and potatoes style meal. You can find the local plate of the day for lunch around $6 – $8 Canadian (5 Euro), including a beverage. There are also lots of options for fast food – McDonald’s, food court or pizza.
Note: You should have no concerns with the cleanliness standards of food / restaurants in the Algarve or Lisbon. They have European food standards which would be similar to Canadian. You do not have to worry about parasites / bacteria like you do in the Caribbean. You do not have to avoid salads or raw vegetables. All will be prepared appropriately, with clean water.
How much will flights cost?
As of May 2nd, you can get flights corresponding to these dates, for approx $970 – $1550 depending on airline and routing. Flight prices change all the time though. This gives you a ball park. $970 is a fantastic rate, but it does take a couple of hours longer than the $1500 flights for example. Travel time (not flight time) is 12 – 17 hours depending on the routing and how long stop overs are. There are no direct flights from Halifax, so you’ll go through Toronto, Montreal, London, Brussels or Frankfurt (as a few examples).
Once we have 10 people registered, I will look into group flights. Group flights are usually an average price. Not the cheapest, not the most expensive, but allows everyone in the group to fly together and pay the same rate, rather than 1 person paying $900 and another paying $1500. And sometimes group flights provide extra perks like additional luggage, additional weight in your luggage or free seat selection. However, I won’t look into this until 10 people have registered.
For budgeting purposes, I would say plan on $1200 – $1300 for the round trip flights. I’ll do everything I can to get you cheaper options, but that is around average.
Should you wish to use frequent flyer / loyalty points for your flights, you are certainly welcome to. Please check with me before booking to ensure that you will arrive on time to join in on the group transfers.
NO FLIGHTS SHOULD BE PURCHASED UNTIL MINIMUM GROUP NUMBERS (10 people) HAVE BEEN MET AND SHARI GIVES THE FINAL GO AHEAD. Should you purchase your own flights prior to this, it is your responsibility, your risk.
What is the payment schedule?
$700 Deposit due by July 20th, 2018.
Final balance due by January 4th, 2019
Early Booking Bonus: Deposit by July 2nd, 2018 – save $100 per person
Flights: Must be paid when flights are booked. My suggestion is to do this near the same time as final payment – early January.
How do we win the $500 spending money?
Once you have made your deposit for the trip, you can earn chances to win $500 spending money. A draw for the $500 Grand Prize will be done January 7th, 2019 from all eligible participants. Eligibility and group requirements can be found on the contest page.
Two rules are very important:
1. The draw only takes place should we reach 20 passengers, paid in full by January 4th.
2. You must have your own deposit in BEFORE you can start earning ballots.
What hotels will we be staying at?
If I wish to travel with a friend, can we have two separate beds?
Yes. The rooms can be requested to suit a couple with one bed, or two single beds. Please keep in mind that as with many European hotels, single beds are often placed very close together, sometimes without waking space between them. However, you will have separate beds and bedding. If there is room, you can also pull the beds further apart for your comfort.
If I want to travel alone, is there a single supplement?
If you do not have a travelling partner and wish to have a room on your own, this can be arranged. The single supplement is $1078.
I will keep a list of solo travellers who are potentially interested in rooming with someone else and will introduce people. However, it is up to you to decide if you are compatible to room together for three weeks and make arrangements. I cannot guarantee that there will be someone suitable for you to room with. If you are solo and wanting to room with someone, please email me to be put on the list.
What is included in the Kitchenette Facilities?
The kitchenette is fully equipped with:
exhaust fan; cooker hob; oven; microwave; dishwasher; fridge; toaster; coffee machine; water boiler and blender
What other services are provided at the hotel?
Hotel Vila Petra is well equipped with both an indoor heated pool and an outdoor pool. There is a fitness centre, various fitness classes and activities (additional charge). There is a restaurant, wine and tapas bar, snack bar and pool bar.
Will there be organized events?
The idea behind a group long stay package to the Algarve is that you get three weeks to escape Winter in Nova Scotia. You will be in the same hotel as other members of the group, but there are no planned activities, other than group transfers to/from the Algarve and to the airport in Lisbon. Should you wish to arrange a group tour with some or all members of the group once you are there, representatives will be on site to assist. There are no obligations to do anything with your fellow travellers, however I suspect throughout the three weeks, great new friendships will be made. There is one group dinner included as a ‘farewell’ at the hotel in Lisbon. Details will be provided closer to departure date.