Join Us In | Portugal
Missed the live streams? You can rewatch it all below!
We've been collecting up your questions on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, as well as some questions from our own team and travel agent partners, and adding them to this page. As soon as the team's out there we'll be answering your questions live on the Facebook feed and adding those answers here too.
If there's anything you'd like to know that we haven't covered, head on over to our Facebook page and let us know!
Holidays are back!
To celebrate we're giving a bottle of Portuguese Vinho Verde Quinta de Raza to the first 1000 customers who spend over £150 with us.*
Q. What tests do you need to fly to Portugal? How do you get them and how much do they cost?
A. You must present a negative PCR test at time of boarding - and this must have been taken within 72 hours of your flight.
There are a few options available to you - mainly getting a private test sent to your home, booking an appointment to get a private test or test at the airport (where available). We have lots of information about testing on our Covid Testing for Travel FAQ page.
We chose to use Medic Spot to get our tests - we picked up the test at a local pharmacy on Wednesday. We dropped it off at the pharmacy (though we could've opted for a courier pick up) at 10am on Saturday and had the result by 9:30am on Sunday. The test cost £129 and it was pretty quick and easy. Our 'Fit to Fly' certificate was then emailed to us as a pdf attachment.
We won't lie - we wish it was cheaper. But hopefully as summer progresses the cost will come down. We've also saved you having to see our testing photos (no one needs to see that!)
Q. Is there a same day test available?
A. Firstly we strongly advise you don't leave testing until the last minute - the last thing you want is to be scrambling around trying to organise a test or worse getting turned away for your flight because you don't have one. Depending on where you live there may be same day tests available - for example MedicSpot have same day testing available in London for £179.
Q. What are the entry requirements for Portugal?
A. We keep an up to date list of entry requirements to our most popular destinations here. As of writing this (May 18th) you need a negative PCR test within 72 hours of your flight, you need to fill in a Passenger Locator Card and you may undergo health screening on arrival. More information, and information about variations for Madeira or the Azores can be found here.
Q. Do you have to do the test if you're double jabbed?
A. As it currently stands there is no provision for vaccine passports therefore you still need have a negative PCR test when you fly. This may change as summer goes on - there are rumours the NHS app will be used for this.
If you are flying to Madeira however the lastest entry requirements on the gov.uk website are:
If you have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days, or have had both doses of the vaccine at least 15 days prior to travel, you will be exempt from showing a RT-PCR COVID-19 test on entry. If you live in England, Madeira will accept your NHS letter to demonstrate your COVID-19 vaccination status. If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you will need to show a medical report as evidence of your status. Airlines will not accept a handwritten NHS COVID card as proof of vaccination for travel purposes.
Q. Do children have to be tested and wear a mask?
A. Firstly, testing. As per gov.uk guidelines children aged under 11 do not need to take a test.
Secondly, masks. The guidance will vary depending on what airline you are flying with - for example EasyJet say children over 6 must wear a mask, Ryanair say children over 11. Best bet if you're unsure is to check with your airline - most have Covid FAQs on their websites.
At the airport
Q. Are the shops and restaurants open at the airport?
A. We flew from London Luton Airport (on May 17th) - at the time we travelled most shops were shut, except for stores such as WH Smiths and Boots. Duty free was open, and there were places to get food and drink. You need to check into the food venues with the NHS app.
In general the airport was very quiet, so make sure to bring entertainment for the wait to board!
Your best bet is to check the website of the airport you are flying from for the latest updates about what you can expect to be open in the terminal.
Q. Are there long queues?
A. As we said above, the airport was really quite quiet. In general we got through everything faster than "the old days" - but we imagine as summer goes on and it gets busier you may need to leave yourself extra time to get through the airport.
We were well prepared with our Passenger Locator Forms all ready to go, but we did see a lot of people being stopped and made to fill theirs out at the airport. So make sure to have yours ready to go to save yourself time on the day. They are really easy to complete - just have your passport and travel details to hand - you can find the form here.
Q. What precuations are in place at the airport?
A. There's plenty of signage around the airport to remind you of the current precautions - which include wearing a mask throughout the airport, frequent hand washing, social distancing and the use of the NHS app to check into food venues.
On the plane
Q. Do we have to wear masks on the plane? What if you are exempt?
A. You need to wear a mask for the duration of the flight (make sure you pack a comfy one!) - we were worried it would feel claustrophobic but the cabin had plenty of fresh air circulating so it was fine.
If you are exempt from mask wearing then you will need to bring with you a signed doctors note - here's what EasyJet have to say on it.
Q. What type of mask can you wear? Can you wear a visor instead?
A. This may vary depending on which airline you fly with - for us we flew EasyJet and they state:
Easyjet says "The mask you wear should be FFP2 (or equivalent) certified, surgical or cloth. Scarves, face visors or masks with valves are not permitted."
Q. Was there food available on the plane?
A. We won't lie, we thought there wouldn't be and we had our bag of sweets at the ready. But thankfully there was food available on our flight - for reference we flew EasyJet. Worth checking with your flight provider what will be available to you.
Arriving in Portugal
Q. What are the entry requirements for Portugal from May 17th?
A. We keep an up to date list of entry requirements to our most popular destinations here. As of writing this (May 18th) you need a negative PCR test within 72 hours of your flight, you need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form and you may undergo health screening on arrival. We had our temperature checked on arrival. More information, and information about variations for Madeira or the Azores can be found here.
Q. How did you get from airport to hotel?
A. We took a pre-booked airport transfer - did need to wear a mask whilst in the transfer and the driver sanitzed before we got in. There is also public transport available but it is running at a reduced capacity.
Out and about
Q. Do you have to wear a mask?
A. Yes, much like at home you will be required to wear a mask when out and about and unable to maintain social distancing.
You must wear a face mask in all enclosed spaces. You should wear your face covering when you enter the building and keep it on until you leave. You must also wear a face mask outdoors where it is not possible to maintain a 2m social distance from people outside your family group. These measures apply to everyone over the age of 10 on mainland Portugal and in the Azores, and over the age of 5 in Madeira and Porto Santo. You can be fined if you breach the regulations. Exemptions from wearing a face covering differ in Portugal compared to the UK. You may be exempt from using a face mask both indoors and out on medical grounds. You will have to show a declaration from your doctor as evidence that you have a health condition that prevents you from wearing a face covering. Source
Q. Is everything contactless or do I need cash?
A. We expected most things to be contactless - but there have been a lot of places that are cash only. We advise getting a currency card before you go - that way you can use it contactless where you can and then get cash out at ATMs if needed.
Dining and activities
Q. Are the restaurants and cafes operating normally? Can we sit inside yet or is it still ourdoors only?
A. They seem to be operating much like ones back in the UK - you have to wear a mask when not seated. Can sit inside or outside from our experience. We had a buffet breakfast - only difference was you weren't allowedto serve yourself. It was plated and given to you.
Getting ready to come home
Q. Given that we need a PCR test to come back to the UK, even from a green-list country like Portugal, where and how do we get them?
A. This is the big question of the day - there were signs in the airport with a QR code to scan to advise you to book your return tests in advance. These will be done in the airport before your return flight.
Depending on which part of Portugal you are travelling to there may be options to get tested before you get to the airport. Algarve Tourism board has a very useful page which shows you all the approved testing operators in the region - you can find that here.
At the time of writing Maderia is also offering free tests for return (nice one Maderia!) - there's a lot of information on their website so go check that out.
UPDATE: We emailed the address given on the sign to book our return tests - and we can share with you the information they have provided.
We opted to get tested at the airport on the day we flew home - this is simply a turn up and get tested situtation there is no pre-booking. The process itself is simple, they will swab up your nose, you go away and wait and then your test result will be sent to you and you're free to commence boarding.
We will say though, that due to a computer problem, on the day we went there was a long queue to get tested - so make sure you leave yourself plenty of time. We spent about 3 hours in the airport to come home - so definitely take that into consideration. You might wish to explore testing options nearer to your resort and get tested in the couple of days leading up to your departure.
Q. Can I take a NHS lateral flow test with me?
A. Jake made this mistake! Don't be like Jake. Unfortunately as it stands you CANNOT use NHS tests as your return test. You need to have a verified result with an approved operator. There's more information on the government website.
If you want to do the lateral flow test you can buy a return testing kit and take this with you - this will then give you a certificate and doctors note that can be used for the return journey.
Q. What happens if my return test is positive?
A. If you test positive for Covid-19 when you take your return test you will not be able to return to the UK until you have undergone a period of self-isolation.
"If your test result is positive, you must not travel. You must follow local rules and guidance for positive coronavirus cases. If the result is inconclusive, you must take another test. British nationals who need consular assistance should contact the nearest consulate, embassy or high commission."
Q. Is the Passenger Locator Form to return difficult to fill out?
A. We've included an example of our PLF form below - the process was really simple. You just need your personal details, test details, where you'll be return to in the UK and your flight details.
A quick tip from us - when it asks for 'Country of Issue' for your passport - what it is actually asking for is your Nationality. This may seem like semantics - but Great Britain or United Kingdom will give you an error, it requires you to put British Citizen. Assuming of course that's what your nationality is!
Q. Do you have to have proof of booking for test on day 2 of return?
A. As Portugal is on the Green list you only need to book a test to be taken on (or before) day 2 of your return to the UK. "You must book your tests before you travel and leave enough time for them to be delivered to your address in England."
UPDATE Now we have completed our Passenger Locator Form for our return journey we can confirm that you will be ask to provide a test booking reference - you cannot progress to finish the form without this.
You can find an authorised provider on the government site - we recommened MedicSpot. They will ask your return date and post it so it arrives for then - it includes royal mail return labels to send test off too.
If you are returning from an Orange list country you must also book a test on day 8 and you must self isolate for 10 days at home. You can shorten this with the 'test to release' scheme.
If you are returnign from a Red list country then you must book an approved hotel quarantine and this INCLUDES testing.
More info on the differences in the traffic light system can be found in our FAQ.
Q. How was the UK border?
A. There was a longer queue than normal at the UK border - the quick entry gates are not available currently, so this does mean everyone needs to queue and present their ID, passenger locator form and negative Covid test. It took us maybe half an hour if not more to get through to baggage claim.
Looking for more inspiration, information or a handy travel guide? You'll find more on our travel hub.
* Terms and conditions apply.
- The promoter of this promotion is Holiday Extras Ltd (company no. 01693250) whose registered office is at The Wave, Holiday Extras Campus, Ashford Road, Newingreen, Kent, UK, CT21 4JF
- The promotion is open to customers of Holiday Extras who have spent at least £150 on a single trip on eligible products marketed by the promoter during the period of the promotion, either via the Holidayextras.com website, the Holidayextras app or the Holiday Extras call centre. Eligible products include hotels, car parking, hotels with car parking, car hire, airport transfers, Fast Track and airport lounges marketed and sold by the promoter. Insurance products, Covid testing and currency products are not eligible products for the purposes of this promotion
- Entrants must be at least 18 years old and may be asked for proof of both ID and age on receipt of their wine
- This offer is only available to UK residents and only ships to mainland UK
- Your wine will ship after you have used your holiday extras and returned from your trip; in the event that the holiday extras you booked with us are cancelled, in whole or in part, you will no longer be eligible for this promotion
- The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the promotion and these terms and conditions without notice
- The promoter is not responsible for the details of the wine, which will be supplied by a third-party fulfilment party
- No cash alternative to the promotion will be offered. The promotion is subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute the offer with another of equivalent value without giving notice
- By entering this promotion, an entrant is indicating their agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions
- The promotion and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England
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