Travelling abroad has become more expensive and confusing, and somehow daunting since the pandemic started. The Government rules change often and with short notice and each country also has different rules for border entry. Travel requirements confuse a lot of people, if not everyone, so we have decided to write this guide to Covid 19 testing for travels from the UK.
This guide will help you understand how travels restrictions work and organise your travels with a little more ease by going through the full process of what you need to do when travelling during these uncertain times for your Covid 19 testing.
This post is in partnership with London Covid Testing. They covered our tests in exchange for our honest review, all opinions are our own. It was related to our latest trip to France:
Travel to France from the UK
Firstly if you are in England then check which destination you are able to travel to as there is a traffic light system in place which changes every few weeks. A good website to check before travelling and where you can find up to date information is, https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
The UK currently categorises foreign countries into 3 groups:
- green are the countries where you will have the less restrictions on your way back to the UK,
- red are countries with the most restrictions,
- amber are all the other countries that are not green or red.
This classification defines the restrictions the UK puts in place when you come back from those countries. It may go from nothing to do to full-on 2-week confinement in a hotel on return. So make sure you check the latest updates before and during your travel.
Remember also that even though there may be a country on the UK green list; they may have different rules for entrance to their country (each country has its own set of restrictions for international travellers).
We travelled to France as a family of 4 when France was on the Amber list. A PCR test is required in France, like in many other countries, and it has to be done not more than 72 hours before travelling (before boarding). We were fully vaccinated and did not have to show an essential reason to travel.
We used a company called London Covid Testing to book our tests. If you are travelling from London or nearby then we would definitely recommend them as they offer all the tests you need to get done and the process was really easy and they are a UKAS approved private practice listed on the government website.
Review and Process of taking tests with London Covid Testing Centre
Although we were both fully vaccinated we had to provide pre-departure Covid Tests (a status which later changed for vaccinated travellers). We booked our Fit to Fly Covid Test with London Covid Testing Centre who are based near Victoria station. They are just outside of the congestion charge area so we decided to travel by car and found parking space pretty easily in the street near Easton Square for 30 minutes at £1.90.
The test itself is really quick, it is a self swab. You take a swab and swab your throat and then nostril. You get your results sent by email in the form of a certificate which you can print out to show when needed. Currently, the price of their Fit to Fly test is £99.
Returning back to the UK
On our return back to the UK we had to organise a test (either PCR or Antigen test 72 hours before departure time from France. We found that the easiest way to do this is at the pharmacy in France. By just calling up a few local pharmacies to find out where they do the tests. We decided to get the Antigen test as the results are ready on the same day and it is more reasonable. If you are not a French National then you pay 25 Euros for an Antigen test or 49 Euros for a PCR. Print these results out as they will ask for them at the border control.
Along with the pre-departure test you also have to fill in the passenger locator form. In this form, you are required to provide a booking reference number for your Day 2 test. Everyone over the age of 4 has to do the Day 2 test so we booked it for all 4 of us. We were given a booking reference number from London Covid Testing Centre.
On our return to England on Day 2 we all went to Victoria to do our Day 2 test; again the procedure was simple and efficient. We received our test results from the lab the next day. Currently, the price for a Day 2 test on their website is £129; they also provide package tests. To book or get more information you can find more information on London Covid Testing Centre website.
As we were vaccinated, we did not need to do a Day 8 Test.
We hope you found this useful and if you have any questions regarding testing please do drop us a comment. Enjoy your travels, 🙂
Useful tips and links
- Find a UK Ambassy or Consulate for the country you are going to visit to get the most up to date travel information: https://www.gov.uk/world/embassies