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More and more digital nomads and remote workers are flocking to Portugal for a variety of reasons. Most credit the low cost of living, a high number of English speakers or the great culture and food (in particular the pastel de nata). Thanks to the popularity of Lisbon, and the entire country being named the 2018 World’s Leading Destination, the flag carrier, TAP Air Portugal is taking notice.

Last year, a record 20 million visitors landed in Portugal, up nearly ten percent from the year before, and if anything, this year and next will see an even bigger influx. But the question is why are so many people now traveling to Portugal?

Lisbon: The “new Barcelona…but better”

Lisbon has been described as the “new Barcelona…but better” beyond the similar climate and it being home to Web Summit (for at least the next 10 years). Besides being one of the cheapest European capitals, the city is also full of activities and easy access to beaches. Even back in 2014 when Coworking Europe was hosted there, you could sense the energy, creativity and a “nomad buzz” in the air.

An increase in digital nomad residents in a city can be a very good thing…to start. Locations that aren’t top tourist destinations can benefit from an influx in educated, well paid, upwardly mobile individuals. They spend more time in one place, tend to spend more money with local businesses and provide locals with new job opportunities. The downside? With the creatives and the techies quickly follows gentrification.

Porto: The Next Digital Nomad Hot Spot?

After being named Europe’s Best Destination in 2017, expats who have experienced Lisbon are quickly turning to Porto as their next destination. Even more affordable, a smaller city plenty of urban feel and great transportation, Porto is proving to be quite a hot spot. I might be biased (as someone who is always in the air) but I see a lot of correlation between coworking, remote workers and airline trends.

Those in the “know” state the Porto beats Lisbon when it comes to closer beach access, better nightlife, Port vs. Ginjinha, and more of a cafe culture. So much cafe culture, that local legend has it Harry Potter was born at the Majestic – J.K. Rowling’s cafe of choice when she first started writing her boy wizard story while working in Porto as a teacher.

Friend of Coworkaholic, Ed Pizza shared his experience spending a day in Porto, this past fall.

New TAP Air Portugal Routes & Expansion

I’ve flown TAP Air Portugal a few times as they are a member of Star Alliance. They offer the most options for when traveling to Portugal, but I got the most bang for my buck by taking advantage of their free stopover promotions and booking open nose tickets. It wasn’t until I got a promo email from Brussels Airport that I realized how cheap their tickets were and how much they’re growing.

The news usually covers airlines that shut down with no notice or in need of cash injections, so it was interesting to read so much about TAP Air Portugal’s plans for expansion. By adding new routes and offering lower prices they’re unlocking more options for those looking to fly on the cheap without dealing with low cost carrier headaches.

TAP offered 13.91 million two-way seats across its network in 2008. By 2017 this had grown to 18.33 million seats, representing a capacity increase of 32%. In the summer of 2018, there were 91 weekly flights from the U.S to Lisbon and Porto – about twice as many as in 2017. Much of that growth was a result of extra capacity being offered by the airline’s mainline aircraft, but there was also a significant increase in the seats offered on TAP Express services operated by Portugalia and White Airways.

In the next year and a half, TAP is poised to double the number of cities it serves in North America—it currently flies to Boston, Miami, New York , Newark, and Toronto ; up next are Chicago and Washington, D.C., which will see flight service begin in June 2019. San Francisco, though not officially confirmed, will likely get its first nonstops to Lisbon sometime in the next six months.

Is it a coincidence that three years ago David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue, became a co-owner of TAP? In addition, of course to his other airline, the Brazilian startup, Azul… I think not. Things start to make even more sense behind rumors of Azul joining an Avianca-United-Copa deal. All good things for Star Alliance members, overall.

TAP Air Portugal Airfare Sales

Excuse the default origin city being Brussels, but from first gander, if you have flexibility in your schedule, you can score some really cheap flights:

By booking separate tickets (or even taking advantage of their layover option) passengers are able to get low cost carrier prices while still enjoying benefits and earning opportunities the larger alliances provide.

By booking open nose for example, you can pair those transatlantic fares with flights within Europe, on the same carrier for close to the price of Ryanair, but without the nightmares:

If you’re planning in advance, the prices only get cheaper as 2019 goes on…

Besides booking flights on TAP Air Portugal with cash, you can also take advantage of award booking options through a variety of Star Alliance partners, using Chase Ultimate Rewards.

The post TAP Air Portugal’s Expansion Offers More Ways to Explore the World’s 2018 Leading Destination was first published on Coworkaholic.