COVID-19 Travel Advice
Our thoughts go out to all customers that have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. We are currently witnessing difficult times as we’re sure that many of you would have been looking forward to the holidays that you had planned. We hope you’re all keeping safe.
The team at The Real Algarve are taking the correct measures to remain open and support our customers during this time. We’re following social distancing guidelines in our UK office with our reduced staff members and ensuring that we keep up to date with the latest industry news being released from the FCO, ABTA and other well-renowned sources.
We want to reassure you that our customers come first. If you were due to travel in the year 2020 but have been unable to do so because of COVID-19, we’re doing as much as possible to provide you with an alternative that satisfies you and your party. We’re continuing to contact the relevant property owners to arrange other suitable dates or provide credit vouchers so that you can book at a different, suitable time in the future.
Updates from Portugal keep us hopeful that travel might be possible for summer holidays. Portugal reopened again at the beginning of May, with restaurants and bars now open, ensuring that safety comes first, with social distancing measures in place. All establishments are due to be open by 1st June and the beaches will hopefully be open very soon.
Of course a villa seems the perfect getaway, with your own space and the ability to self isolate once you are there, should that be your preference. We would like to assure you, that if you are able to go on your holiday, then all of our properties will be the safest place to be. We have put extensive health and safety measures in place alongside our suppliers and management teams in Portugal, ensuring that our properties are safe for your arrival.
Here is what you can expect to ensure your safety throughout the holiday process:
- Our holiday villas and apartments will be thoroughly disinfected with appropriate cleaning products prior to arrival.
- Disinfectant sprays will be made available for guest’s use, as well as a special care package upon arrival including hand sanitiser and cleaning wipes for your protection.
- All linen and towels are cleaned with hospital grade disinfectant at private and professional laundry.
- The housekeeping staff will use appropriate protection such as face masks and gloves, not using outdoor shoes inside the properties.
- A personal food shop can also be provided prior to your arrival upon request.
- All concierge services, including car hire and transfers, booked through The Real Algarve, have new cleaning measures in place to include disinfection of all vehicles prior to collection or delivery.
In the meantime, we’re doing the following to support you:
– If you’re looking to make amendments to your booking, we’ll be waiving all admin fees for this whilst COVID-19 is still present.
– If or when your holiday balance has been paid off, we’ll be contacting the relevant property owners to ensure that your original booking price is maintained should you need to change your dates. However if you do move to dates within a different price bracket, then this will be subject to a price change.
– If there is uncertainty about when you can next travel, we will work with our suppliers and hope to be able to offer credit vouchers which can be used as credit for another booking at the same villa at a later date. This will depend entirely on the individual supplier booking conditions.
– Our friendly UK staff are on hand from Monday-Friday between 9am-5pm to assist you with any changes that you need to make with your booking. Outside of these hours then please leave a message and we will endeavor to come back to you that same day.
– If you have any special requests about your holiday, we also have our Real Algarve overseas team who are available to assist you.
As you can imagine, we are currently dealing with a lot of requests from our customers who were planning to travel between May and June. We’re doing our best to deal with these as efficiently as possible in date order. Our main priority at the moment is to customers that were planning to travel within the next 28 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
If we’re advised not to travel, what do we do?
If the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) or an equivalent organisation advises against “all but essential” travel affecting your dates specifically, we will act on your behalf to contact the property owner about your preferred agreements and waive any charges related to these changes.
If we’d prefer to not travel even though there are no legal restrictions against us travelling, what would happen?
If there is no legal reason why you’re unable to travel for your booking, the normal rates and cancellation charges will still apply.
Is it possible to claim through our travel insurance provider if we’re unable to travel?
Some travel insurance providers do allow insurance cover against unexpected travel disruptions and pandemic outbreaks, but their actions will be guided by advice from the FCO or equivalent organisations about non-essential travel to your destination. You can contact your travel insurance provider to check this.
My holiday balance is now due for the booking, do I have to pay this?
Due to the current uncertainty around travel, we can understand that you may be reluctant to pay your holiday balance, which is usually due 8 weeks prior to travel. In most cases the supplier has agreed to move this balance payment to 4 weeks prior to your departure date, hopefully giving you more space to make an informed decision. However, if your booking is planned for July and August, you’re likely to be able to go ahead with your holiday and should continue with your booking. Therefore, you should still pay your balance shown on your invoice by the due date advised.
If the FCO announces further updates where essential travel is only permitted during July and August, you will have the option to move your booking dates to later this year or in most cases, until the end of next year. You can also consider accepting the more flexible option of a credit voucher or claim through your travel insurance.
Could the credit voucher be used for a different date next year? For example, if I was due to travel in July this year, could I travel in May the following year instead?
The credit voucher can be put towards another booking for the same villa at a different date, subject to the availability of the villa. The price of the booking will be dependent on current rates for the particular booking dates. Please note that we are expecting the demand of villas to increase in 2021 as they permit social distancing measures better than that of a hotel.
Can we choose a different property if we decided to move our dates?
This would not be possible, as currently, we are dealing with individual owners for each property.
We would prefer to have a cash refund rather than change our dates, can we have this?
The Real Algarve works as the named agent between the property owners and our customers. When we receive your payment we send this to the property owner to confirm the booking, therefore we no longer have the funds. We’ve developed great relationships with our owners for many years and they are very understanding about the current circumstances. They are flexible with offering alternative dates for your booking, or being provided with a credit voucher to the value of your original booking.
What measures are being taken at my destination to protect me and my group from COVID-19?
Compared to other European countries, Portugal has seen far less cases of COVID-19. Currently, the guidelines still advise residents of the country to cover their face with masks and to follow social distancing guidance, particularly in supermarkets. All local staff are also using the relevant PPE, wearing gloves, masks and aprons.
Whether you’re a staff member, customer or supplier, health and safety remains at the top of our list of priorities. We have advised our UK and overseas teams to work from home if they can for the time being. We’re working hard to make sure that we can agree the best possible outcome to your affected travel plans.
If you have any further queries or were planning to travel between May, June or July, please do not hesitate to contact us via email. You can also call us on 0161 980 3555. For all other customers, we kindly ask you to be patient whilst we deal with priority bookings who are travelling soonest.