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Do I need a corona test to travel in 2021?

By summer 2020, many of us expected the Corona virus to have left the building by 2021, but clearly that’s not the case. Around the world, travelers are itching to cross destinations off their bucket lists and take a well-earned vacation, but Corona hasn’t quite done the 180 we hoped it would and you’ll need a corona test if you’re planning on leaving the country.

It makes sense – nobody wants to spread the virus, yet we all want to get back out there and get on with our lives. But what are the facts? Here’s everything you need to know about travel in 2021 and your mandatory corona test.

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Which countries require a Corona test prior to entry?

Many countries around the world have decided to close their borders completely, including much of South East Asia (Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are on that list), a lot of Africa, and parts of South America. This is a bold yet necessary move. A lot of these countries depend on travel for their economy, yet do not want to risk the extra damage that virus stricken tourists may bring with them.

For the rest of the world though, borders are partially open to tourists, as many countries simply couldn’t handle the hell that closing their borders would bring to their economy.

For many of these countries, a negative Corona test is needed to pass through their borders, and on top of that, a lot of destinations still require you to self-isolate for a short period after arrival.

This is true for the UK, who are currently in a strict lockdown after a new strain of the virus was detected and their numbers began to steadily rise. Travel to the UK demands a negative Covid test at east 72 hours before travel, as well as a 14 day quarantine period that keeps you out of harms way.

Other countries sticking to the negative Corona test upon entry are: the Netherlands, the USA, Turkey, Brazil, Cyprus, Italy and the Maldives.

What happens if I don’t do a Corona test before I arrive?

Ignoring the rules will incur steep penalties, depending on where you arrive, and we would not suggest you try to get away with traveling without proof that you’ve had a negative test result.

It varies from country to country, but in Ireland, Scotland and England for example, arriving at their border without proof of a negative Corona test will get you a fine of up to £500, and even worse, you could end up in prison.

When will I need to be tested if I’m thinking of traveling?

Planning a last minute vacation right now is not a great idea.

For most countries who are sticking to the -test before you travel- rule, you’ll need to take a Corona test and have it come back negative 72 hours (3 days) before you leave.

If you’re planning on getting tested before you travel, you should take a few things into consideration too. For example, whilst a lot of test results are promised within a certain time frame, many find themselves waiting longer due to such high volumes of tests in such a short space of time. This is yet another reason why a last minute vacation shouldn’t be your last resort.

Take weekends into consideration too. Many test centers get weekends off, so if you’re booked in on Friday afternoon, don’t expect your result on Monday morning.

Is it expensive to get tested?

In the US, it’s possible to get tested for free depending on your insurance policy (many insurers have waived the cost). If you’re unlucky enough to have to pay, you’ll probably find yourself set back around $100.

Where can I get tested?

If you’re already in the process of booking a vacation, check with your holiday provider first. A number of them offer a Corona test as part of their package deals.

If you’re not already in that process, or your travel company doesn’t offer tests, there are plenty of pharmacies who do. You can even pop into your local Walmart, Kroger, Rite Aid, Walgreens or CVS Health for a Corona test.

If you’re willing to do a home test, Corona kits can be ordered online and sent to your home. This will save you from having to leave your home and possibly come into contact with someone who has the virus, but do be aware that self testing is not as effective as having it done by a professional, and your waiting time may be increased.

Don’t forget that the best way to stay away from Covid-19 is by staying home. Right now, travel is a luxury that many cannot afford. If you are thinking of traveling, stay safe and stick to the rules.


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