Post-pandemic travel, the hidden cost of testing
Mandatory Covid testing will add hundreds of dollars to the expense of a solo vacation overseas and thousands to the cost of a family vacation.
Australians can now fly internationally — at least from Sydney and Melbourne – and return without being quarantined.
However, there is a new variable in the equation of overseas travel: the cost of Covid-19 testing.
And it will add several hundred dollars to the cost of a lone flyer’s voyage while adding thousands to the budget for that long-awaited family vacation.
Pre-departure Covid testing
As the world reopens, many nations require travellers to submit a negative Covid-19 PCR test 48-72 hours before their trip.
Singapore, Thailand, Canada, and a dozen additional European countries also require a pre-departure test.
No, this isn’t the same test you can get at your local doctor or buy at chemists and supermarkets.
These are Covid-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests performed by pathology clinics, and the results are recognised both at the airport and when you arrive at your destination.
PCR testing are highly accurate but relatively expensive. In Australia, the tests are all-around $150 per person.
Some countries, like the UK (recently abandoned PCR testing) and the USA, accept cheaper antigen or lateral flow tests.
Australians travelling overseas do not need to produce a negative COVID-19 PCR test at check-in, states the federal Department of Health.
However, certain nations and airlines need a pre-departure test result to be presented at check-in before boarding. Travellers should examine the country’s admission regulations and their airline’s restrictions.
Covid test on arrival
Besides the pre-departure Covid test, your destination may require a post-arrival Covid test.
Singapore, which has welcomed Australian visitors since November 1, is a prime example of this.
The Raffles Medical Group performs the exam at Changi Airport for $160 (reduced to $125 starting November 18).
Travellers must then return to their hotel or other accommodation and self-isolate until they receive a negative result, usually within 12 hours.
Pre-flight Covid PCR test
Even if you visit a country that does not require Covid testing, you will be tested upon return to Australia.
This includes fully vaccinated Australian citizens, residents, and their families.
The Department of Health states that “Covid-19 PCR testing is required” for passengers flying to Australia.
The cost of Covid-19 PCR tests varies not only by country but also by urgency.
A 24-hour turnaround costs US$90 (AU$121), while a 90-minute turnaround costs US$250 (AU$337).
In London, expect to pay £65-85 (A$119) and up to S$120 in Singapore (A$120).
Cost of Covid testing for international travel
Covid PCR testing might cost up to $500 per passenger if three tests are required, one for each flight and one for arrival.
A holiday for a family of four would cost approximately $2,000, and that’s before tickets, accommodations, food, activities, and general spending money.
Pre-flight and post-flight tests might cost up to $300 per passenger.
With rising vaccination rates globally, booster shot programmes, and a renewed focus on travel, it’s likely to replace PCR tests with rapid antigen tests in 2022.
But, for now, the cost of Covid testing is inescapable in post-pandemic travel.
Source: Executive Traveller
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