Where can I travel with a negative Covid test?
Everything you need to know about COVID-19 testing
Soon there will be a number of destinations that allow travel if you’ve got a negative COVID-19 PCR test, or a printed or digital ‘Fit to Fly’ certificate. The government has also announced that anyone returning home from abroad must take a test within two days of returning to the UK. There are now numerous ways in which you can carry out a test before you travel, so you can find an option that suits you and secure that much-needed sunny escape with your family, partner or friends.
You can now test at the airport, in your local Boots pharmacy or from the comfort of your home, so you can get your dose of sunshine without any fuss. Costs may vary for each type of test, so it’s best to do your research beforehand.
To make sure that your holiday plans run as smoothly as possible, it’s important to check the specific regulations of the destination that you’re travelling to, and arrange a COVID-19 test where necessary. See the ‘COVID-19’ section of our terms and conditions for more information. We also always recommend staying up to date with the travel advice on the FCO website when you book and up until your departure, because these rules and regulations are changing all the time, so it helps to stay in the know.
How can I do a COVID-19 test?
There are several ways in which you can carry out a COVID-19 test, and some destinations may require a specific form of test or may specify whether you need to show your results certificate in a digital or printed format, so it’s crucial to check this beforehand.
Testing facilities are available in most major UK airports, so you can check availability online and pre-book a test before you travel. If you are unable to get to an airport for testing then most Boots pharmacies also offer testing facilities now, which you can book online via the ReCoVa-19 portal on the official Boots website, before travelling. Manchester Airport has also partnered with Boots to offer a 5% discount if you call 0808 164 0804 before booking your test (lines open 9:00 – 17:00, Monday – Friday).
If those options don’t work for you, then you can always use a home testing kit. You can order a COVID-19 test directly here, where you’ll receive the full kit and clear instructions to make sure you take the test properly and safely. Plus, the postage is already paid for - so you can send your test back to the UK-based laboratory free of charge.
How do the different COVID-19 test processes work?
COVID-19 tests at the airport
Several UK airports are now offering COVID-19 testing facilities, including Manchester, East Midlands and London Stansted. Simply check online if your local airport offers the testing facilities, and then book your desired slot. Once you have your appointment, you can arrive with any required identification and booking details, and the test will then be carried out. The turnaround time for results varies for each type of test, so make sure to keep this in mind, as well as how recently your destination requires you to have been tested before you travel. Different destinations require different test types, so it’s best to check beforehand. Please also note that airport testing facilities should not be used if you suspect that you do have COVID-19.
COVID-19 tests in Boots pharmacies
Most Boots pharmacies are now offering a COVID-19 test. To arrange a test, simply book your appointment online through the ReCoVa-19 portal, register your details and choose a date and time that suits you. After the test is complete you will receive an email within 48 hours to let you know how you can view your results, and – if negative – you will be able to download a results certificate.
At home COVID-19 testing
It’s now also possible to carry out a COVID-19 test from home. You’ll receive clear instructions with your test kit to ensure that you carry out the test safely and properly. Once completed, your test will arrive at the UK-based lab three days before your flight, and – if the result is negative - you will receive your ‘Fit to Fly’ certificate via email.
When should I take my COVID-19 test?
Time frames for taking your COVID-19 test may vary depending on the type of test you’re taking and the destination you’re travelling to, but it’s important to keep this in mind based on your departure date. Full details about when to book the test and an estimate of how long the results may take should be provided on the official website of your chosen provider when booking your test.
For the Boots COVID-19 test, it is advised that when flying abroad you book your appointment no earlier than 72 hours before your flight, and no later than 60 hours before your flight. This is to ensure that your test result is recent enough to still be valid when you travel, whilst still leaving enough time for the result to come back.
If you are doing an at-home test, you’ll need to order your test kit no later than five days before you’re due to fly. You will receive your kit the next day – although you can order in advance if you prefer – and must send your completed test off on the same day, four days before your outbound travel date.
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