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Which covid-19 test do I need for travel?

A traveler waiting at an airport.
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How do you decide which covid test best meets your needs?

When making travel plans, it’s important to factor in entry and exit health requirements for your destination. For some countries, this includes getting tested for covid during a certain timeframe before your departure.

How do I find out the covid test requirements for my destination?

During the pandemic border health requirements have been changing rapidly and without notice as health administrations respond to the situation on the ground. So travelers need to ensure they are following up-to-date advice as they plan their trip. One reliable source of information about border requirements is the US embassy closest to your destination. Another is the US Department of State’s travel advisories.

While you are abroad, review the US entry requirements in case they change before you return.

Which types of covid test are suitable for travelers?

Travelers usually need to take one of two types of covid test:

  • PCR covid test
  • rapid antigen test

Both PCR and antigen tests are administered at Global Travel Clinics’ branches. A positive result shows that you have a current covid infection. The tests we offer are not suitable for people who have symptoms of covid. If you have covid symptoms, you should not be traveling in any case.

These covid tests are conducted on a sample taken in-clinic from your nose and mouth using a long swab. Your covid test appointment will take just minutes.

Rapid antigen tests give a result within the hour – they are sometimes known as 15-minute covid testing. PCR testing for covid is done in a lab, so results take a bit longer, but some branches of Global Travel Clinics can offer same-day PCR testing.

Rapid antigen tests are cheaper than PCR tests.

Of the two types of covid test, PCR is considered more reliable.

Which type of covid test should I take for my vacation?

Check the advice for arriving travelers issued by your destination. This will tell you which type of covid test you should take before departure.

Can I get a covid test for reasons other than travel?

Many people get tested for covid for their own peace of mind. They may want to get tested as a precaution before or after attending a crowded event. Or they may want to get tested before visiting a person who has a health vulnerability.

If you are getting a covid test for reasons other than to meet travel entry requirements, you can use the CDC information about the different types sof covid test to help with your decision-making.

How do I find a 15-minute covid test near me?

Whether you need a PCR covid test or a rapid antigen test result, Global Travel Clinics can help. Check the travel clinic near you to see what services they off and make an appointment using our online booking system.