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COVID-19: Cancellations, refunds and quarantines

Written by on 3 June 2021

Portugal has moved from the UK’s travel green list to its amber list – but what happens now for those who’ve booked a holiday there?

And with no further countries being moved from amber to green in a review of the government’s traffic light system, we take a look at the options available to anyone still desperate for a summer break.

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about travel this summer, and what changes to restrictions mean for your holidays.

If my holiday destination is moved from the green list to the amber list, am I still allowed to travel?

Yes, you are still allowed to travel to that destination, but you will have to quarantine at home for 10 days upon your return to the UK, and pay for two COVID-19 tests.

Will my package holiday be automatically cancelled if the destination is moved from green to amber?

No, not necessarily. Even if the Department for Transport decides that a country should be placed in a different risk category, a tour operator will only be forced to cancel your holiday if the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to that destination. In that case, you will be fully refunded within two weeks.

If the Foreign Office doesn’t advise against travel but you don’t feel comfortable going, then speak to your tour operator. They should allow you to postpone your trip.

Will I get a refund from my airline if I have booked tickets independently?

No, you’re not entitled to a refund if your destination is moved from green to amber and you have booked your flights independently.

Fortunately, most airlines are offering customers the ability to change the dates of their flights if their destination gets moved to amber, although you may have to pay a fee to do so.

What happens if my destination has been moved from amber to red before I travel?

All trips to red list countries will be cancelled immediately, with a full refund given for package holidays.

If I am on holiday in a country that is about to be added to the amber list, should I try to fly back early?

If you have booked your flights independently, you may be able to fly back earlier to avoid quarantining. If you are booked on a package holiday, it is unlikely you will be able to change your flights.

If I am in an amber list country, and it gets moved to a red list country, what happens?

If you are a British citizen or a resident of the UK, you will be able to return home but you will have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days, costing you £1,750.