Covid-19 testing before your holiday
In these unprecedented times, it’s important to plan ahead when travelling. Many Latin American destinations now require that you take a PCR standard test for the Covid-19 virus, and present negative test results before entering the country.
Entry requirements can and do change frequently, so for the most up-to-date information, we always recommend visiting the FCDO website to check that the destination country accepts tests from the testing centre used and that you meet all the entry requirements prior to departure.
With a huge number of online companies offering services, we’ve made life easier by compiling an essential list of trusted clinics which provide efficient pre-holiday Covid-19 tests. Take a moment to read through our vital tips on which services to use, to ensure your test is as quick and stress free as possible.
Top tips from our travel experts…
- It’s important to select the correct type of test, which is the PCR standard test. Many clinics will also offer an Antigen test (or Rapid test), but this is only accepted by a few countries and is best avoided.
- A test provided in person by a clinician is strongly recommended. This will ensure that the test is carried out properly, and you’ll have a quicker turnaround for results.
- Where possible, avoid services which rely on Royal Mail. Most countries require visitors to take their PCR test within 72 hours of arrival, and there is always the potential for postal delays to cause problems. Some destinations will not accept self-administered tests.
- We recommend booking your test plenty of time before it is required, particularly at peak periods.
ExpressTest is a UK Government approved private COVID-19 testing service providing fast, accurate and reliable PCR screening across the UK. They aim to deliver your results and a certificate for travel by 10pm the day after your test, however, results could take up to 48 hours. PCR Fit to Fly tests cost £80.
Where? There are currently testing centres at Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick and Heathrow airports, as well as local testing centres across the country (www.expresstest.co.uk/book-a-test/testing-centres)
Nomad Travel Clinics provide in-clinic tests, or supervised home tests with an added courier cost. You’ll receive your results in 48 hours along with a certificate for travel. Other essential services like travel vaccinations are available at an extra cost, and antiviral sanitiser and face masks are on sale too. Journey Latin America clients are able to benefit from a 10% discount on Nomad Travel Clinics services. Quote AITO10 when booking.
Where? There are clinics in central and north London, Bristol, Cardiff and Manchester. Visit www.nomadtravel.co.uk/travel-clinic for more details.
DiamondAir International offers in-clinic testing (recommended) or home testing kits. There are various options for your test result turnaround: choose from 48 hours, 24 hours, or an Express Test for results in 4-12 hours. You’ll be provided with a certificate for travel. Journey Latin America clients receive a 5% discount using the promotional code JLA05.
Where? The clinic is located at Heathrow’s World Business Centre, just a few minutes away from the terminals, in an easily accessible location with free parking. Alternative partner clinics are in North London and Mayfair. Visit https://diamondairinternational.com/covid-testing/ for more details.
Randox Health provides PCR tests, with results in 12-24 hours. You can choose from in-clinic testing or a home testing kit, and will be provided with a certificate for travel.
Where? There are clinics in London, Liverpool, Holywood and Crumlin. Visit www.randoxhealth.com for more details.
Wren Healthcare provides in-clinic tests with certificates for travel. You can opt for your results in 48 hours, or 24 hours at an increased cost.
Where? There are clinics in Chiswick, Orpington, Dartford, Sandwich, Cobham, Wolverhampton and Southampton. Visit www.wrenhealthcare.co.uk/covid-19-pcr-testing/ for more details.
The Hale Clinic offers in-clinic tests. You’ll have your test results and certificate for travel within 24 hours. They do not recommend their home testing kit for travelling purposes due to possible postal delays.
Where? Their clinic is on Harley street in London. Visit www.haleclinic.com for more details.
DocTap offers self-tests taken at their clinic, or tests carried out by a clinician at a slightly increased cost. Certificates for travel are also provided. You’ll have your results in 2 days.
Where? Doctap testing services are available at 11 GP surgeries across London. For more details visit https://doctap.co.uk/
MASTA offers in-clinic testing with a certificate for travel. You’ll get your results and certificate in 2-3 working days. The clinics also provide all travel vaccinations at an extra cost.
Where? Clinics are located in Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Central London, Southampton, Surrey, Cambridge and Harrogate. Visit www.masta-travel-health.com/CovidTests for more details.
Boots offer in-store testing by a clinician, with results provided in 48 hours. Other services on offer include travel vaccinations at an extra cost, and PPE is on sale at their stores too.
Where? PCR testing is available at 37 stores nationwide. For more details visit www.boots.com/covid-19-testing-service
Sofitel Heathrow Hotel is offering a special ‘Test & Rest’ package, whereby you can take a self-administered Covid-19 test included in the price of your stay. Tests are couriered overnight to ensure results are available the next day. The package includes a room, breakfast and one test kit, although walk-in passengers with no reservation can also purchase a test.
Where? Heathrow Terminal 5.
A full list of government approved private providers of coronavirus testing can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing
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