How to find cheap flights to Portugal after it's added to holiday green list – and prices start at £74 return

PORTUGAL has been added to the green list of countries Brits can visit for a holiday without having to quarantine when they return.

The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed it was among 12 quarantine-free destinations in a press conference yesterday evening.

🔵 Read our coronavirus and green list announcement live blog for the latest updates

Portugal is the only European country on the list, with Brits hoping for a trip to France, Greece or Spain will have to wait until at least June 7 to find if trips can go ahead.

Brits eager for a summer break have been racing to book flights to popular holiday destinations instead – but prices have already gone up.

Prices for flights to Portugal doubled on Friday, ahead of the Government announcement, according to comparison site Kayak.

But there are still some deals to be had. We've had a look to find out how much you can expect to pay for a short break on the week restrictions are eased, and prices start at £74 return.

Remember though, anyone coming back to Britain from a holiday will still have to take a pre-departure test up to 72 hours before they travel.

What cheap flights are available in May?

Despite price hikes, there are still a handful of cheap flights available for the first week in May when restrictions are eased.

We used price comparison site Skyscanner to find low cost flights for three popular holiday destinations – Faro, Lisbon and Porto – departing from May 17.

Prices include those departing from a number of different airports in England, and the cheapest from one London airport.

We also checked for direct flights using the same airline but you may find you can save even more cash if you consider a stop over or fly out with one company and back with another.

Travellers may find that shoppingaround will help them bag a better deal.

You should check prices at different comparison sites as well with the airlines directly before parting with your cash.

It's also worth noting that over the coming days, airlines may release more flights in the coming days as the impact of the Government's green list unfolds for holiday makers.

For example, following the announcement, Ryanair has already added 75 more flights a week to Portugal.

How long your trip is will also affect the cost of your flights.

Here are a selection of the best return deals we found on Skyscanner:

  • London Stansted to Lisbon, departing May 17 and returning May 21, Ryanair – from £74
  • London Stansted to Faro, departing May 17 and returning May 23, Ryanair – from £91
  • Birmingham to Faro, departing May 20 and returning May 23, Ryanair – from £110
  • Manchester to Lisbon, departing May 17 returning May 21, Ryanair – from £114
  • Manchester to Faro, departing May 20 and returning May 25, Ryanair – from £130
  • London to Porto, departing May 17 and returning May 20, Ryanair – from £168
  • Bristol to Lisbon, departing May 30 and returning June 4, Easyjet – from £241

Prices are accurate at the time of publishing.

How to search for cheap flights

When looking for cheap flights, you should always check prices at comparison sites as well as directly with airlines.

They'll include costs from travel agents too, such as Expedia and Ebookers.

You should also search across multiple price comparison sites as they may have agreed different deals with the airlines and some may offer you better value than others.

Kayak, Skyscanner, Google Flights and Momondo are comparison sites that specialise in travel.

Travel: What are your rights to a refund?

MILLIONS of Brits have had holiday plans cancelled.

Firstly, speak to your airline or holiday firm about a refund or rearranging your plans.

You are entitled to a cash refund if they've cancelled your holiday but many have large delays or may offer vouchers instead.

If the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all but essential travel to countries or regions, you may also be covered for cancellations by your travel insurance if the holiday provider or airline is not helping you.

Keep in mind the travel insurance must have been taken out before the FCO advice changed, otherwise you won't be covered.

If you don't have travel insurance, you may be able to claim your money back through your credit or debit card provider.

Credit card payments between £100 and £30,000 are covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act.

To start a claim, you need to contact your credit card provider directly – Which? has a free tool that can help you do this.

Debit card claims or credit card claims of under £100 may be covered under similar Chargeback guarantees. 

This maybe harder in the pandemic, but being flexible with your dates could save you cash by moving your holiday to the days with the cheapest flights.

Being prepared to fly out with one airline but return with another may help you to cut costs, as well as allow you to travel on specific days.

Remember, not all airlines fly from the same airport every day.

MoneySavingExpert reckons that sometimes it's cheaper to book a hotel too as part of a package deal, even if you don't use it.

This is because some online agents offer extra discounts when you book the full package through them.

How do I protect my cash?

Thinking about booking a holiday this summer but are worried about forfeiting your cash if something goes wrong?

There are a handful of things you can do to protect your money from the event of Covid cancellations.

Book a package holiday

Package holidays are protected by the Package Holiday Regulations.

Under package holiday rules, firms are legally required to refund customers in full within 14 days if part or all of the trip is cancelled by the provider, including if there is a travel ban.

However, a recent investigation by Which? found that not all package holiday firms are playing by the rules.

Look for ATOL and ABTA protection

Before booking, travellers should always check to see if their holiday provider is ABTA or ATOL protected.

ABTA stands for Association of British Travel Agents while ATOL stands for Air Travel Organiser's Licence.

ATOL-protected holidays are package holidays that include flights, while ABTA protection only covers holidays that involve rail, cruise or self-drive.

If you're mis-sold an ABTA or ATOL protected package holiday, or parts of the trip are cancelled, you might be able to get an alternative holiday or a refund as compensation.

Both will also protect your cash if the holiday provider goes into administration.

Flexible cancellations policies

Look for holiday firms and companies that offer a flexible booking policy.

Some allow you to cancel at short notice and get a full refund, while others will let you change the dates or destination of your trip if coronavirus rules change before you head off.

For example, First Choice and Tui holidays automatically include "Covid Cover," which lets you amend your trip for free if you contract Covid-19 or are required to isolate.

What should you look for in a good travel insurance policy?

TRAVEL insurance policies can vary a great deal, but here are some “must have

  • Medical expenses – A good policy will give cover of £1million or more for travel in Europe and £2million or more for the USA
  • Repatriation service – The costs of getting you back to the UK for medical reasons should be covered automatically by your policy
  • Cancellation and curtailment – A good policy will cover you for £2,000 or more if you have to cancel or shorten your holiday
  • Missed departure – Covers additional accommodation costs and travel expenses up to £500 or more if you miss your flight due to circumstances out of your control
  • Delay – You'll usually be covered for £250 or more if your travel plans are delayed due to circumstances out of your control
  • Baggage cover – Covers you if your baggage is lost, damaged or stolen. Look for policies that have cover of £1,500 or more.

But before making a booking, check the small print and ask the provider exactly what their policy is for situations like quarantining and Covid cancellations.

Pay by credit card

You can get extra protections when paying by credit card, such as if your airline goes bust.

If you're struggling to get a refund for a cancelled trip, you may also be able to claim your money back through your credit or debit card provider.

Credit card payments between £100 and £30,000 are covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act.

To start a claim, you need to contact your credit card provider directly – Which? has a free tool that can help you do this.

Get insurance

Last year, many insurance firms changed the small print of their travel policies to exclude coronavirus-related issues.

But many have adapted their policies to include Covid-19 woes, including cancellations and illness related costs.

However, what you're covered for depends on the policy – usually the more you pay the more you're covered for.

Most insurers will now cover your medical costs if you contract the virus while on holiday, but only a few will payout for cancellations.

 The majority will not cover you if you travel against Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice.

Only one in 10 will cover you if a positive or missed Covid tests prevents you from boarding a flight, reports the BBC, so it's important to check the small print.

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