Many of us have the itch to travel again, but we want to be responsible when doing so to avoid exposure to COVID-19 or risk exposing others to the virus we may unknowingly carry. Many countries that have opened back up for tourists are now requiring pre-travel testing to ensure your safety and the safety of their residents.
To enter these destinations, you must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test conducted within 48-72 hours prior to arrival. This may sound like a daunting task given that many COVID testing sites are not allowing tests to be conducted unless symptoms are present. But have no fear – we have rounded up several in-person and mail-in testing options to ensure you are set to travel safely on your next trip.
Please note that the testing requirements vary within each destination, even to the point on whether they will accept a mail-in testing option, so make sure to check the requirements of the destination you’re visiting.
Polymerise Chain Reaction or PCR tests are the most common form of testing for COVID-19. PCR tests are used to directly detect the presence of the virus in someone actively infected rather than the bodies immune response, or antibodies. The PCR test is conducted by swabbing a patient’s nose or throat and that sample is tested for the virus’s genetic material.
Where can I obtain an in-person PCR test before I travel?
Walgreens is offering drive-through tests at select locations with results in 72 hours. There is no cost if you qualify under the CDC’s testing criteria, but some locations may bill your insurance for lab costs.
CVS also offers drive-through testing and walk-up testing. Results typically come in between 48-72 hours. If you meet testing criteria the test is free, otherwise it costs $139.
Passport Health is offering tests with results within 72 hours in many locations across the country at a cost of $200. For a list of locations click here.
If these locations are unavailable where you live, conduct an online search for “quick COVID test” and your desired location. Do not use the term rapid testing in your search because that is the term used for non-PCR testing.
Where can I obtain a mail-in PCR test before traveling?
The Covid Consultants offer both SPUTUM and SWAB kits delivered to your home for a cost of $219. Results are emailed to you within 24 hours of your sample returning to the lab.
ImmunitiRx provides mail kits for $225 and results are reported within 24-36 hours. Order a kit online by 3:00 p.m. CST on weekdays and ImmunitiRx will send it out via FedEx two-day shipping. Return via the provided box and overnight shipping label.
Quest Diagnostics provide a nasal swab kit and overnight shipping for $128.30. Test results typically come in 24-48 hours after your test returns to the lab.
Countries that are open to travelers but require a negative PCR test before entering
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- Puerto Rico
- South Africa
- St. Kitts & Nevis
- Turks and Caicos
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
Please ask us for updated information when planning your trip as requirements for each country may change.