Portugal holidays cancelled: What to do if you’ve booked a holiday in May

Grant Shapps reveals countries on UK's red and green lists

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Portugal announced today that it will extend its national lockdown to at least May 30. Although the country is on the UK’s green list, holidaymakers won’t be allowed to go until the new restrictions are lifted.

Many Britons rushed to book their well deserved holiday for May 17, when travel will be permitted again from the UK to green list countries.

And with its sun, sand and good food, Portugal was a highly popular choice.

The Mediterranean country is not only one of Britain’s favourite holiday destination, but it was also the most accessible and affordable summer spot on the list.

Unfortunately for the UK, the sun and sea will have to wait just a little bit longer.

Although Portugal was due to open its borders for Britons on May 16, Ministers in the country have decided to extend the current lockdown for at least 15 more days from next Monday.

So what to do with your booking now?

After a government announces that a destination is no longer permitted or a country closes its borders, airlines and travel companies are likely to cancel pre-booked flights or holidays packages.

Firstly, contact your operator. You might be entitled to get a refund or reschedule your flight or booking.

However, if travelling to that destination is still permitted but you are unexpectedly forced to self-isolate on your return, operators do not have to refund you.

In other words, if a green-list country moves to the amber or red list.

But again, it depends on the operator.

Thomas Cook, for example, said that if there is a requirement of hotel quarantine on your return to the UK and this is in place two weeks before you travel, it will allow changing your holiday free of charge.

Currently, all amber countries have a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office warning, which means that almost all tour operators will offer a change or a refund for your booking.

For your next holiday, study your operator’s policies before booking, and see what alternatives they have for cancellations.

The best option is not to book any holiday which does not include refund options.

When the UK announced the green list countries last week, airlines like Ryanair or Easyjet added a number of new flights and routes to Portugal.

Other holiday companies like TUI, released new packages for those seeking to go away as soon as possible.

An increase of more than 663 percent in bookings was reported just a few days after the announcement.

Unfortunately, all those bookings have to be put on hold now until further notice.

For those who need a sunny break by the end of this months, there are not a lot of options left, unfortunately.

Some of the other green list destinations like Australia or New Zealand still have their borders closed for tourists.

Britain’s most popular hotspots such as Italy, Greece or Spain are on the amber list, meaning 10 days of isolation is required on return to the UK.

Express.co.uk recommends South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, St Helena, the Falkland Islands or Iceland as your best alternatives.

Have a look at what these destinations have to offer here.

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