How to get a PCR test for travel – the cheapest ways to buy one

After a brief spell in which fully vaccinated Britons were allowed to take cheaper side-flow tests while traveling, the UK government has restore PCR tests as the mandatory style of the post-travel test.

The change in migration rules is due to the omicron variation, which has spread worldwide – PCR tests are important for genome sequencing and tracking new variants, whereas antigen tests cannot. provide this function.

This means we’re back to the system before 24 October, where British travelers have to order and pre-order private, paid PCR tests for around £45-120 each. test, depending on the location, quality, and variability of the results.

You don’t get free NHS testing, instead you have to go to a private company to get a test – whether it’s a self-test by mail or an in-person appointment at a clinic. It’s important for them to make sure you have your order number (for your Passenger Locator Form) and electronic test results with your name and date and time clearly visible.

Regarding overseas travel from the UK, many countries already require PCR test results for entry, while others allow antigen testing (side stream), which can be cheaper. Check the Covid entry requirements for your destination on Website of the Foreign Office before placing any tests.

Currently, fully vaccinated travelers arriving in the UK must schedule a ‘day two’ test within two days of landing and self-isolate at home or in their accommodation pending results. .

Unvaccinated or partially immunized persons must have a negative pre-departure test within 72 hours prior to departure, self-isolate for 10 days, and perform two PCR tests by hand. their fees – one within two days of landing and another on the eighth day of quarantine.

As a result, PCR tests for travel can often add up to hundreds of pounds, especially for families.

This is the place to find a cheaper than average test.

Airport test

Providers offering PCR testing at UK airports include Collinson (Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, City, Manchester, East Midland and Stansted), ExpressTest (Birmingham, Gatwick, Heathrow, Edinburgh) and Randox ( Heathrow, Belfast, Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands).

Collinson’s rapid PCR tests, which give results in three hours, are available at Heathrow and Gatwick for £95. For ‘second day’ tests after flying to Heathrow, it offers a ‘park and check’ option near west London airport for £69.

ExpressTest’s suitability for performing PCR tests at its airport branches ranges from £59 to £119 each, depending on the location and speed of the results. It also offers LAMP and lateral flow testing at some of its branches.

Randox offers accelerated PCR tests for £80 at its airport locations. The second and eighth day tests, as well as those that allow passengers to test and ship on Thursday, are available for £55 at the airline’s airport locations. These tests are carried out by trained staff at driving centers.


Boots UK has launched a PCR self-test package for £65 (or £136 for a one-day two-day and eight-day dual test package).

Its second day basic test – suitable for fully vaccinated travelers – can be purchased on and delivered the next day. It is also available at over 500 Boots stores and can be purchased by Boots Advantage card holders using their points.

Boots also offers an in-store Covid-19 PCR Test for £79, is now available in more than 200 UK stores and provides results within 48 hours.

All three Private Boots tests can be used as a private pre-flight test, subject to specific country and airline requirements of arrival, for customers requiring a Covid certificate -19 yin before traveling abroad.

Boots is also now an accredited testing provider for the government’s “Test it to Ship” program, which offers five-day in-store tests with next-day results for those looking to reduce testing. epidemic at home by taking a voluntary test on the fifth day of arrival in the UK from a country not on the ‘red list’. These cost £85.


One of the largest private Covid-19 testing providers in the UK, Randox offers home PCR test kits in addition to those available at its testing centres. They cost £45, although discounts are available through some airlines (see below).


Britain’s largest travel company has partnered with supplier Chronomics to sell a range of tiered Covid testing packages to customers traveling to green and amber destinations.

Tui test packages start from £20 for greenlisted travellers, who only require a side stream test before departure and a PCR test in the country or day two back in the UK.

Amber packages start at £50 and include antigen testing prior to departure back to the UK (lateral flow) and day two and day eight PCR tests to be performed upon return home.

That’s an extra £40 for the PCR test and an extra £10 for the antigen test (side line).

If a destination changes from amber to green, Tui says they will refund the difference. If a customer has ordered the amber plan and doesn’t need the eighth day, they can cancel the trial and get a refund by logging into their Chronomics dashboard. Once processed by Chronomics, they will receive a refund within 14 days.

Travelers will be able to book tests on a new Chronomics and Tui booking hub.

Airline British

British Airways is offering discounted rates with government-approved Covid-19 testing providers with rates starting from £22.40.

Available options include:

  • Pre-flight test (proof of a negative Covid-19 test at your departure airport)
  • Incoming goods inspection (on arrival in the UK for quarantine checks on day two and eight)
  • Test-to-release (reduce your self-isolation time by paying for Covid-19 testing as part of the government’s ‘Test to Release’ program)
  • Day 2 and Day 8 tests for people arriving from the UK from countries on the green and amber lists

Testing providers include Qured, Randox, Halo, Medicspot, and LetsGetChecked.

The tests can be taken at home, at test centers and some major UK airports.

Passengers traveling on selected routes can also upload their Covid-19 test results to an app called VeriFLY to confirm their test certificate.


Low-cost airline has partnered with test kit brand Randox to give passengers money from its PCR tests, which cost £43 instead of the usual £48.

Discounted rates are available to UK travelers only.


The UK’s biggest budget airline has also partnered with Randox Health to offer discounted home testing kits for £43.

EasyJet customers who want to perform pre-departure PCR tests at the airport prior to departure can take advantage of the airline’s partnership with Collinson. Using the special discount code when booking the tests on the Collinson website you will get 20% off the regular price.

This also applies to Collinson’s greenlist second day test, which you can complete at the airport upon arrival in the UK (second day test must be completed on or before Monday).

Sofitel Hotel at London Heathrow

The Sofitel at London Heathrow is holiday sale “test and rest” for tourists, including a night at the hotel and PCR testing.

Upon arrival at the Terminal 5 hotel, visitors take a self-administered test that requires them to spit in a tube. It was then shipped to a laboratory at Imperial College in London for overnight processing.

The pilot program is being offered by biotech company Halo, and guests must also download the Halo app when they check in.

The app is directly linked to their test, so their results and certificate will appear in the app as soon as it’s ready. That means, provided they don’t test positive for the virus, travelers can wake up and be ready to fly.

However, this test is a saliva-based test, while many destinations specify that the test should be a swab.

This package costs £229 per person, including a double room. Two people sharing costs £299. Breakfast is available for an extra cost of £19.95/person. How to get a PCR test for travel – the cheapest ways to buy one

Tom Vazquez

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