Covid testing and travel have almost become synonymous. If you travel internationally, a negative Covid test is needed to get into the country. I recently traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, from Singapore. I had to take 10 Covid tests to complete the trip. I now realize a new cost of travel, Covid testing. Here are my reflections on Covid testing and its impact on the travel budget.
Types of Covid testing.
Generally, there are different types of COVID testing available. The most often used tests are a Rapid test and a Viral test, also known as an RT-PCR test. As stated in the name, a rapid test gives results quickly, while a viral (PCR) test may take twenty-four to forty-eight hours for results. Passengers need to ensure they know which type of testing is required as not all testing will fit specific country requirements. Each traveler should do their research on testing requirements.
In addition to being sure of the type of test they require, travelers need to know if the test result must indicate specific identifying details. If the test result does not display the required information, this can also invalidate the acceptance of the test requirement. Some countries require passport numbers, names of travelers, and birth dates to be on the Covid test documentation. Travelers can find Country-specific requirements on the US Department of State website.
Pre-departure Covid tests.
If you fly internationally, be prepared to take a Covid test before your departure. Depending on the destination, the test must be done anywhere from 24 to 72 hours before your date/time of departure. Travelers need to be aware of and read the requirements carefully. Some travel guidelines require testing before the date of departure, and some require before the time of departure. Be sure to verify that your test result meets the required criteria, or the test may be invalid for travel, and you will need to take another Covid Test.
Covid tests on arrival.
In addition to taking a Covid test before departure, many travelers must also take another on arrival at their destination. In many cases, travelers can prepay for the testing before arrival to speed up the process. If not prepaid, travelers must be able to pay in the destination’s currency or other acceptable payment methods the country specifies.
Arriving back in Singapore from Bangkok, I had to take an on-arrival Covid test at the airport. Four self-administered Covid tests at home and two Covid tests at a designated facility. In all, I had seven days of mandatory Covid testing at my expense after my arrival. Covid testing and the associated costs are a travel reality I don’t think many travelers are aware of or consider. Covid testing adds additional charges to a planned trip that most likely has not been budgeted. Have you incurred any unexpected Covid testing costs? Have you budgeted Covid testing into your travel plans? Please comment below and let me know.