COVID Testing for Travel: Things to Consider
While staying home is the best way to decrease your chance of contracting or spreading COVID-19, many people are finding travel necessary for business or personal reasons. However, before packing your bags, reviewing these travel guidelines will help you avoid risking your health — and your frustration. And while COVID-19 testing for travel is one element in optimizing your travel experience, there are many factors you need to consider.
BEFORE you travel.
Do NOT travel if you feel sick
In fact, it’s recommended that you self-quarantine for about a week before departure, leaving your home only to get any required COVID-19 testing for travel. This will help protect you and others.
Do NOT travel if you live with someone who is at increased risk from COVID-19 complications.
People of every age can get severely ill from the COVID-19 virus but the elderly and those with compromised immune systems or underlying medical conditions are at increased risk. (If you must travel, make arrangements for self-quarantine away from loved ones upon your return.)
Investigate country and/or state requirements
This is extremely important as every state and country has different requirements upon arrival. And they may change as the status of their own COVID-19 numbers fluctuate. It is up to the traveler to secure the documentation needed upon arrival. Beware that if you land/arrive without proper health documentation, you could be refused entry.
Plan your travel dates strategically
The days of spontaneous travel are behind us for the time being. From now on, travelers need to strategically plan departure/arrival dates based on COVID-19 testing documentation requirements of the destination.
Here are the top four things to keep in mind when securing your COVID-19 Testing Documentation for travel:
Your Testing Window
If you typically travel on a Monday, that could cause issues with getting your COVID-19 test results within the required time frame. The majority of destinations are requiring negative test result documentation within the past 72 hours before arrival. This means if you are set to arrive on Monday at 8am, your COVID-19 test would need to be time stamped no earlier than Friday at 8am which means getting results back over the weekend. This could be challenging.
Use the Correct Test
The best test to use is the nasal swab test, also known as the RT-PCR. This is, by far, the most accurate and reliable test and is required testing for most documentation.
Be sure your information is accurate
We can’t stress this enough. Your name on the testing documentation needs to match the identification you use when traveling EXACTLY. This means you need to print clearly and legibly on the testing documents so it can be recorded accurately. Do not use nicknames or abbreviations or leave any part of the name off. It must match your ID. If it doesn’t match exactly, it can delay the test results and consequently impact travel plans.
Make an appointment
Making an appointment is recommended to assure you will be able to get your testing within the window of opportunity. Some testing stations get busy and you can’t always get it right away. At COVID Testing Station, you can pre-schedule your drive-through appointment to assure you will be able to get a COVID-19 test for travel within your necessary window of time. We even offer same day appointments. When making your appointment, always ask for the “diagnostic test” and when you will get your test results. Make sure you let them know you are testing for travel.
Side note: COVID Testing Station in San Antonio, TX will administer tests to anyone, no symptoms needed, will get your results typically within 1–2 business days and is knowledgeable about travel information documentation
While you travel
If you must travel, for your safety and the health of your friends and loved ones, continue to take all necessary precautions when traveling. Avoid crowds. Wash hands frequently. Social distance. Wear a mask. Use hand sanitizer and follow directives from local mandates.
When you return
Your return home is now your new “destination” so it’s important to be aware of any changes that may have occurred in your required state or country documentation. Additionally, while not legally required, it IS recommended that you self- quarantine upon your return and get an additional COVID-19 test after four days of your return home before resuming any activities that bring you into contact with others, especially those at higher risk.
If you live in the San Antonio area and need COVID-19 testing for travel, schedule your testing appointment at https://www.covidtestingstation.com/covid-testing-options. Need your COVID-19 test for travel ASAP? Call us at 210-201-6336 and schedule a priority travel test.
Here are some links to help you find the current information for your particular destination.
Traveling within the US:
This is a great article covering all 50 states, however it is dated September 3, 2020 so be sure to confirm requirements have not changed. https://www.cntraveler.com/story/state-travel-restrictions-during-covid-19