Are you looking to travel abroad and find the cheapest PCR Covid-19 tests? The Government’s traffic light system remains has been changed since September 22nd, reducing the number of red list countries and removing the amber country list altogether.
Vaccinated travellers only have to book a day 2 PCR test and complete a passenger locator form for international travel whereas those who are unvaccinated must take a pre-departure test, pay for day 2 and day 8 PCR tests and self isolate for 10 days.
Covid-19 testing is still required and Holidays can be expensive, especially now with additional testing costs but with airlines, airports and the high street are offering cheap PCR tests, and we have listed some of the cheapest options available.
Cheap PCR Tests for Travel: Frequently Asked Questions
A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detects Coronavirus’s RNA. Resulting in the test being the most effective to determine current infection.
Patients with Coronavirus usually show as positive by PCR testing up to 2 days before symptoms show. If you show symptoms, you need a PCR test.
The PCR test is the ‘gold standard’ test for diagnosing Covid-19 as it’s the most reliable and accurate test.
To help make travel easier and smoother for travellers, airports are facilitating Covid-19 testing centres, ranging from walk-in to drive-through facilities. You will also find rapid testing services set up in departure and arrival lounges.
For example, whilst most airports charge £99 for a PCR test, Manchester airport offers PCR testing charging £55 for next day quick results.
The cost of NHS coronavirus tests for international arrivals to the UK has been reduced for the second time following a review in May.
Currently, day 2 PCR tests for arrival into the UK can cost about £75 per person however, from 24th October, travel tests are set to become even cheaper according to news from the Government to make it easier for those going on half-term breaks this autumn.
A PCR test can be carried out within your home however, depending on the country you’re planning to visit, the criteria may differ.
Most destinations will accept tests carried out at home then couriered to a laboratory, although a small number of destinations state that the test is to be carried out in a clinic.
Rules have been altered since the scrapping of the Government’s traffic light system but there are still rules in place regarding PCR testing and rules for the new red countries list.
Vaccinated travellers must book a COVID-19 test before the end of day 2 in England as well as complete the passenger locator form 48 hours before they are set to return to the UK.
Unvaccinated travellers arriving into the UK must take a COVID-19 test as well, except it must be 3 days prior to travel, book a day 2 and day 8 PCR tests after arriving in England and finally, they must complete the passenger locator form.
There are separate guidelines for those returning from red list countries which you can find on the Government website.
PCR tests need to be sent to a lab to be tested for symptoms of Coronavirus therefore, results can take up to 3 days on average. Once your results have been finalised, you should receive an email or text message confirming your results.
Guidelines state that you do not need to take a PCR test when travelling if you are fully vaccinated to travel to the UK or you have not been to one of the countries on the red list.
Once you have taken your lateral flow test at home and you have received your results from the strip in the kit, you need to go onto the Government website where you can choose to report a test. After filling out some personal details, they will ask you to report whether your test result is positive or negative and you will receive a text or email almost immediately confirming the results of your test.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you must immediately self-isolate for 10 days, report your test results on the Government’s website and inform those with whom you have been in close contact recently.
You can request a PCR test through the NHS if you display 3 or more coronavirus symptoms including a high temperature and a continuous cough. However, if you are not displaying symptoms but would still like a test, you can still request one under a list of criteria including if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, you have been asked to by a GP or if you have received an unclear result from a first test.
If your test kit or test results fail to arrive in time, you can contact the provider and request a refund. You must arrange another PCR Covid-19 test as quickly as possible.
One solution is to make use of testing services offered through your airline or tour operator, as previously mentioned.
Another option is to purchase a quick turnaround test; this can be costly but will reduce the right of disruption to your travel plans.
Where Can I Find the Cheapest PCR Tests from Airlines?
Whilst covering the costs of PCR Covid-19 tests, it’s important to know where you can find the most reliable yet cheapest tests.
Here is all you need to know!
VIRGIN ATLANTIC COVID-19 TESTS
Virgin Atlantic offers many discounted self-testing PCR tests through Project Screen by Prenetics. However, you must confirm the destination you are travelling to accepts self-testing as opposed to in-person testing.
Here are some of their cheapest tests:
They also offer bundles where you can save up to £10 by purchasing tests altogether:
Project Screen by Prenetics also exclaimed,
“If your destination changes its entry requirements to a lower-costing test, we’ll refund the difference and if the cost increases, we’ll only charge you the difference.”
RYANAIR COVID-19 TESTS
Everyone loves a discount! Ryanair has released a “FLYRYANAIR” discount code with Randox giving you £5 off Randox’s home PCR testing kits. It is important to double-check the destination you are travelling to accepts self-testing results.
EASYJET COVID-19 TESTS
EasyJet works with multiple testing supplies however their cheapest provider is once again, Randox with home kits available from £43 when using the discount code “easyjet2021”.
BRITISH AIRWAYS COVID-19 TESTS
British Airways links to multiple PCR Covid-19 test providers supplying both home-testing kits and in-person testing kits. The cheapest kit is supplied by Eurofins, costing £40 after the BA discount code “BA2021”
Eurofins also offers an additional feature, presenting an interactive map showing sampling stations in many countries including, Germany, Spain, UK and Brazil. It also gives you the option to filter your results depending on which test you are opting for.
JET2 COVID-19 TESTS
Jet2 also works with multiple Covid-19 test suppliers with discounts available for some. They offer tests for pre-departure, return, day 2 and day 8 testing etc.
Here is an example of some return Covid-19 tests on offer. A great feature is the TrustPilot rating they include within their chart, which in some cases will provide security and reassurance on tests the public are purchasing.
TUI COVID-19 TESTS
Tui offers a list of providers for testing such as Klarity, Screen4 and Randox each with highly competitive prices, Chronomics comes out on top with their antigen (rapid flow) home testing kit costing only £15pp. These prices are reflected similarly for returning to the UK as well.
Alternative PCR Test Providers
When you purchase one of the below, you will receive a “Fit to Fly” certificate that you can use at airports, train stations or ferry terminals.
Health secretary Sajid Javid commented:
“Too many providers are acting like cowboys and that needs to stop. The public should be allowed to enjoy their summer holidays without having to face excessive costs or anxiety”.
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