Keeping Up With COVID Testing Requirements for Travel

Dec 14, 2021

Arecent opinion article by Christopher Elliott published by the Washington Post examined the challenges of staying on top of the latest COVID-19 requirements faced by travellers. Currently, many countries are requiring passengers to demonstrate a negative COVID-19 test before departing their country. Furthermore, many countries also require having a negative test result prior to returning. In addition, there are several types of tests available, such as the PCR and rapid antigen tests, with countries having specific requirements for COVID-tests administered. Typically, the airline is responsible for checking your negative coronavirus test before departure. As a result, travellers are required to set aside time and money for testing prior to travel.

According to Paul Marlow, a Vancouverite traveling from Vancouver to Barcelona via Frankfurt, Germany, when he discovered that his middle initial was missing from his test results and called the testing centre, he was informed that he would need to repeat the test again. He had already paid $160 for his initial PCR test. “[This] would put me more than $300 in the hole before I even left my country,” he said, refusing to take a second test.

Marlow took the test since Lufthansa had emailed him a notification that he would need to demonstrate negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test within 72 hours before his arrival to enter Spain. However, he said that no one checked his test results upon arrival.

“There’s a lot of misinformation floating around right now about coronavirus testing,” said Geoff Trenkle, co-founder of Total Testing Solutions, a Los Angeles company that provides COVID-19 testing. “That’s unfortunate, because it is really pretty simple.”

To stay up to date on testing requirements, Trenkle recommends checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “COVID-19 Testing Overview” website. For information on Canada’s testing and overview of what is recommended you can check here.

Although some countries, including Mexico, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic do not require a negative test to enter, many countries, including the U.S. require demonstration of negative test results when you arrive, including during connecting flights.

Furthermore, the website Kayak displays a world map that includes coronavirus testing requirements. In addition, Borderless, a site published by the travel insurance company SafetyWing, also indicates locations where it is possible to get a coronavirus PCR or antigen test with fast return of results.

Health and travel experts have suggested that testing requirements will continue for some time. “It is hard to say how long governments and airlines will continue to require coronavirus testing,” said Lisa Lee, research professor in Virginia Tech’s Department of Population Health Sciences.

More and more airlines and countries are accepting the rapid antigen tests, which are much cheaper and easier to obtain and can even be done at home with a report sent directly to your email. Just make sure you check with your airline, cruise line etc. to make sure that the test you are getting is in line with not only the border requirements, but your specific carrier’s requirements as well.


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