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A return to travel: PCR testing

What it is and where to get one

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16 October 2020 by David Ward

As we know only too well, with Coronavirus infection rates rising and falling in different regions and advice changing on an almost-weekly basis, it’s tough to commit to firm travel plans at the moment. 

One way some countries are overcoming the uncertainty is with the introduction of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing, allowing travellers to provide a negative Covid-19 test, usually around 72 hours before departure. These tests are now a requirement for travel to several destinations which, along with their exemption from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s (FCDO) blanket advice against all but essential travel, has given them rare quarantine-free status in both directions.

As such, the term PCR testing is likely to be become synonymous with travel, at least in the short term. Here we take a look at what a PCR test actually is, what it means for your holiday and, of course, how you go about getting one. 

What is a PCR test?

A PCR test is used to detect Coronavirus (Covid-19) in your body through the presence of the virus’s genetic material, or RNA. The test itself is carried out either at home or a clinic via a swab sample of your nose and throat, with results usually back within 24 hours. Same-day services are also available but, of course, cost a bit more.

Do I need a PCR test?

Not all destinations require a PCR test and those that do often have varying timeframes for when results need to be provided. What’s more, entry requirements can and do change, so for the most up-to-date information, we recommend visiting the FCDO website. 

How much does a PCR test cost?

Typically, a PCR test costs between £120 and £200 per person, or more if you require a same-day service from a private clinic. Travellers will NOT be able to attain a PCR test via the NHS.

Where can I get a PCR test?

We are pleased to be able to offer two options to our clients for pre-travel PCR testing – one a ‘test at home’ option and the other at a clinic at London Heathrow. These are:

Test at home with Confirm Testing

Our partner, Confirm Testing, offers a self-service PCR test, which you can conduct yourself at home. Simply visit their website to book online and they’ll send a testing kit to your address. You then just post the swab back to them and wait for your results, which are usually emailed to you within 24 hours of the them receiving the test. We’ve negotiated a special rate for our clients, starting from £109 per person, simply enter the code WEX10 when booking your test with Confirm Testing.

Book online here

Test at London Heathrow with DiamondAir

Our partner, DiamondAir, offers a range of PCR pre-travel COVID-19 test options for clients who are able to attend a clinic at London Heathrow Airport prior to travel. Tests are conducted at a dedicated facility at the airport, with results being made available within 24 hours. Prices start at £155 per person and our specialists will be on hand to book this on your behalf. Please note, you'll need to book early, especially for travel around Christmas and New Year.

While this option is convenient for anyone living close to London Heathrow, we’re also able to offer a range of alternative options including meet-and-greet services and airport transfers. For example, you’d be able to transfer to the airport for your test and stay overnight at an airport hotel, then collect the results the next day before your flight. Speak to our specialists for more information.


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At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0610 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

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