Where to find the cheapest PCR tests and how you can save hundreds of pounds on your holidays abroad

BRITISH families jetsetting this Christmas now have to keep in mind the new rules around testing once they return from their holiday.

From today, November 30, you’ll need to take a PCR test when returning to the UK, even if you’re fully vaccinated.

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Holidaymakers need a series of tests before they go and when they get back to the UK[/caption]

Throughout the pandemic Brits have been subjected to series of PCR tests that prove they’re fit to fly and when returning to the UK – rules have been relaxed over recent weeks, but they are back to being a requirement of travel now.

It’s all because of the new covid variant, Omicron, that is

It could even will knock as much as £2billion off the economy through new “pings” that would restrict Brits from showing up to work and traveling around the country or abroad.

Later today, The PM will lay out how the booster jabs programme will be ramped up in an effort to prevent more restrictions over Christmas too as this new variant persists.

But for now, the travel rules have been put in motion.

Before now, travellers were able to use a rapid lateral flow or an antigen day two test, once they returned from holiday, but it’s now a PCR that’s required.

Making sure you have the right Covid-19 tests though can often cost thousands of pounds.

The cost of these tests varies wildly, and you need to make sure you buy from the right companies otherwise you could end up paying for something that won’t be accepted.

For instance, you can’t just grab the first test you see in your local pharmacy as many of these won’t include your passport number with the results, something many airlines ask for.

Consumer action group Which? says that the cost of the right tests for an unvaccinated family of four could cost an eyewatering £876.

Meanwhile Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert says the four tests could cost as much as £1,000.

ABTA research has suggested that UK travellers going to the EU pay £306 each on average for all the tests they need.

So for a family of four, that would add up to £1,224 in total.

While you can get free test kits for sporting events from government test centres, if you’re going on holiday you have to pay privately.

If you don’t want to add a grand or more to your holiday costs you’ll need to know where you can get the right tests for the cheapest price.

Here’s everything you need to know:

What tests do I need to go abroad?

Which tests you need will depend on where you’re travelling. You need to check two things to get the information you need.

First you need to examine the rules for the country you’re travelling to and what tests they require. You can find this information by searching for the country on the gov.uk website.

Secondly, you need to look what tests the UK government needs you to do when you return.

Currently those rules say you need to complete a PCR test through a private provider.

You take the test on or before day two after arrival, and self-isolate until you receive a negative result.

Travellers also have to complete a passenger locator form before travelling and include the booking reference number given by their chosen provider.

Where can I find the list of government-approved tests?

The UK government has a list of approved test providers and it’s critical that you use one of these when you get back to England.

If you go with a provider that’s not on the list your test will be invalid and you may have to pay twice.

There are 452 providers on the list and the cost varies enormously starting at just 94p and going up to £399.

Typically you’ll have to wait 24 to 36 hours to get your test results. Check with providers what their turnaround time is before you book.

The tests are carried out in different ways depending on where they take place, and if they’re supervised.

‘Supervised’ means staff will take the sample for you. If you take the test at home, you may be able to have a video call with staff who will explain what you need to do.

‘Unsupervised’ means you’ll take the sample yourself, usually doing a swab.

You can browse the full list of providers that are approved by the government for green list countries here.

Where can I find the cheapest PCR tests for travel?

Shopping around to find a reasonably priced test is critical as it could save a family of four thousands of pounds.

Prices on the government’s website start at under a pound, but it warns that prices shown are a guide and the amount you end up paying could be more.

The prices listed are also based on the test provider’s standard service.

Prices may differ for several reasons, for instance to reflect different levels of customer support.

You need contact your chosen provider directly to get detailed product and pricing information.

Some providers may offer a range of packages with add-ons available at extra cost, such as premium delivery or fast turnaround times.

The price should include:

  • 2 COVID-19 test kits
  • delivery, and test swabbing where relevant
  • evaluation of the test sample
  • genome sequencing
  • reporting the result to the patient
  • reporting the data to Public Health England

It can be cheaper to get a test done on-site rather than shipped to your home.

It’s also worth checking if your airline is doing any deals. For instance, travellers with Tui can pick up tests for just £20.

 

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