A guide to PCR testing
Posted 23/06/2021 : By: Adam Wigglesworth
It seems very likely that as international travel slowly becomes more widely available, travelers will need to undertake pre-departure Covid-19 tests for the foreseeable future. In saying that, the requirements per country are widely different an before departing on any holiday we strongly advise you to read the the latest country-specific information on testing and entry requirements on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website by visiting www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and locating your destination country.
As a new element to holiday preparations for us all, One Traveller understands that testing has the potential to cause some anxiety and uncertainty. We, however, see it as a positive, as it goes some way to helping more and more places open up for travel again, as well as reassuring travellers that the people they come in to (socially distanced) contact with at the airport and on their flight will have recently tested negative and so present minimal risk of exposure. When looking at it from this point of view, airports and aeroplanes are amongst the safest places to be.
But what are the tests you may need to undertake and how do you go about organising one before your holiday? Let us guide you through the process and show you where to find the most up-to-date and relevant information, as well as some handy discounted prices.
What is a PCR test?
A PCR test – or Polymerase Chain Reaction, to give it it’s full name - is a swab test that is taken at home (for the purposes of leisure travel, or at an NHS testing centre for those who have Covid-19 symptoms). They are processed in a laboratory, and results are generally available within a day or two.
Hundreds of thousands of these tests are completed every week in the UK, so the process is easy, fast, and very efficient.
Before setting off on your overseas holiday, you may be asked to take a PCR test and prove to the airline and border staff that you have tested negative for Covid-19. This is often a condition of you boarding the aeroplane and entering the country you are travelling to.
Currently, everyone must also take a PCR test (and again test negative) before they travel home to the UK. You can read more about this requirement on the government website by clicking here.
Can I use an NHS Lateral Flow test?
You will not be able to order a Lateral flow test on the NHS for the purposes of travel. This must be organised with a private company. Tests are taken at home and then mailed to the company using a courier service. Results are sent via email.
How can I arrange my tests prior to departing at the end of the holiday?
At One Traveller we take the hassle and stress of arranging this off of you. In many of our destinations where we are able to travel One Traveller will arrange the PCR tests for all our guests. In the majority of cases a representative from a local test provider will visit the hotel on the penultimate evening before dinner to perform the tests for the entire group quickly and efficiently without taking up precious holiday time. In some cases the test location is just a short walk from the hotel. The certificates will then be delivered the following day ready for your return journey.
Payments are made direct to the provider in resort and One Traveller makes no additional charges for arranging this. Costs vary depending on the location and you are not obligated to use our provider should you wish to make your own arrangements.
How can I arrange the tests I need to take after my return?
There are now several companies who organise the tests for you, and One Traveller is able to recommend two of them, along with a specially negotiated discount for our guests.
Boots now offer an in-store testing service. It is only available from certain stores and you need to book an appointment online first.
CHB Medical are a large UK-based provider or PPE stocks and testing facilities. They can provide you with your pre-holiday testing kit, as well as those required when you return home from certain countries (test and release kits).
One Traveller guests can take advantage of a 20% discount by using our discount code: ONETRAVELLER20
Randox are probably the most widely recognised name in Covid-19 testing facilities. A long-established company that has been specialising in medical testing and diagnosis facilities for many years, they have risen in prominence of late with the massively increased requirement for their tests to help the world escape lockdown.
Randox provide a simple and handy colour-coded guide on their website, allowing travellers to purchase all the tests they need for the country they will be visiting (according to its status on the UK government’s traffic light list for international travel).
Better still, One Traveller guests qualify for an exclusive discount on standard testing prices, by using our special discount code: ONETRAVELLER2021 you can purchase a test from £43.
How do I take my PCR test?
For further help and guidance on how to conduct the test, especially if you plan to do it yourself, visit here to view a handy video guide from Randox.
What else do I need to be aware of?
You should be aware that it remains your responsibility to ensure you complete all testing requirements before your holiday departs, and to also ensure you have complied with UK re-entry requirements prior to your journey home again. As already stated, these requirements do change often, but you can find the latest country-specific information on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website by visiting www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and locating your destination country. You should check this page often before you travel and bookmark it on your phone for easy access when you are away in case anything changes.
Don't forget your travel insurance! We have partnered with Staysure travel insurance who are offering our guests a special discount. Read more here.