The summer holiday season has once again been impacted by Covid, with the pandemic meaning that many countries have strict entry rules – and some are off limits completely.
With seven more countries having been put on the Government’s green list – among them Germany, Austria, Latvia, Slovenia and Romania – more people might be thinking about booking a break abroad.
But with many destinations requiring proof of a negative Covid PCR test taken prior to travel, anyone who is jetting off will need to arrange this before they go – as these cannot be done on the NHS.
You’ll need to pay for the test yourself in this instance – but where are the cheapest ones available?
Here’s what you need to know…
How to find the cheapest PCR Covid tests for travel
Most countries that require proof of a negative Covid test will accept a PCR test – which will need to be done by a private provider.
Some will accept lateral flow tests, which are quicker and cheaper, but you should check what the requirements of the country you are visiting are before you travel.
You can check what’s needed for your destination country at the Foreign Office website.
As well as a negative test result, some countries will also want to see a ‘fit to fly’ certificate, which can cost extra.
In terms of cost, this can be anything from £50 to £250 depending on who you go with and what package you purchase.
Your best bet in the first instance may be to contact the airline or travel company you are booked with, or the airport you are leaving from, as many of these offer tests to customers at discounted rates.
British Airways, for example, offers discounts with a number of firms – with the cheapest, from Breathe Assured, Eurofins and Randox starting at around £50 – while travel company Tui offers testing kits with prices from around £20 per person.
Alternatively, you can visit the website Covid Testing Network, which helps travellers find the best value pre-flight tests as well as those to take before flying and after they return home.
Passengers returning from green list countries currently have to take a PCR test within two days of arriving in England, with the rule also applying to fully vaccinated travellers from amber list countries.
Those returning from amber list countries who do have to self-isolate need to take a further PCR test on day eight – or can end quarantine early by paying for a test on day five under the Government’s Test To Release scheme.
You’ll also need to factor in delivery times if you decide to order a home testing kit, as well as the time it takes for results from a PCR test as it needs to be sent away to a lab.
If you visit a testing site you will normally get the results within 24 to 48 hours, but a home testing kit can take anything from two to six days to arrive, and then you need to allow time to post the results back.
How much does a Covid PCR test cost?
According to Money Saving Expert these are the prices you can expect to pay depending on where you are going and who you book with:
- British Airways – £40
- EasyJet – £43
- Jet2 – £43
- Tui Airlines – £70
- Tui Package Holidays – £70 (this also includes rapid antigen tests as well as a day two test for after you return. You can also get a package including a day eight test if needed for £90)
- Virgin Atlantic – £55
- Boots Home Testing – £65
- Boots in-store – £85
- Express Test (various branches across the country) – £59
- Heathrow Airport – £59
- Gatwick Airport – £59
- Luton Airport – £82.50
- East Midlands/Manchester/Stansted Airports – £60
Share your views in the comments below