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How much does a Covid-19 test cost to travel to France, Greece, Spain, Italy and the US?

Which? finds tests can add more than £400 to the cost of a travel

How much does a Covid-19 test cost to travel to France, Greece, Spain, Italy and the US?

The government has said travellers will need to continue to pay for tests when returning from ‘green list’ countries when international travel resumes. But new snapshot research from Which? has found the current cost is likely to be too expensive for most people.

Thousands of people booked holidays to Greece last month when the government announced international travel might resume from 17 May (at the earliest). Yet a return trip to Greece currently requires five tests totaling an estimated £370 per person. For a family of four that’s £1,480 – see prices below.

Greece and the EU have indicated that those with vaccines won’t need to provide a test, but travellers under the age of 18 are unlikely to have been vaccinated, meaning families still face significant costs.

The UK government has said that it will reduce the number of tests required for passengers travelling from ‘green list’ countries from the current three to two. That reduces the total cost of testing for a Greece trip from £370 to £250, if it is added to the green list.


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How much do private Covid-19 tests for travel cost?

Prices for tests vary a great deal. We have previously found that some labs are far cheaper than others.

This time, our snapshot research found the average cost of a PCR test in the UK is £120.

Prices in the UK are significantly higher than in many other European countries. In Italy, the average cost of a PCR test is €86 (£74), while the region of Lazio (Rome) has capped it at €60 (£52)

Below is our estimated costs of how much private tests to travel to and from France, Greece, Italy, Spain and the US currently cost. Under the government’s traffic light system, if these countries were added to the ‘green list’ the cost would be reduced by £120 in each instance.

How much does a Covid-19 test cost for return travel to France?

It’s £420 for the five tests required. You’ll need a PCR test before departure and to pay for an antigen test when you arrive, as well as tests to return home.
£120 PCR
£50 test in France (€54)
£60 Rapid Antigen to return home
£190 two and eight-day package

How much does a Covid-19 test cost for return travel to Greece?

It’s £370 for the five tests required. You’ll need a PCR test before departure but the antigen test required seven days after arrival is free.
£120 PCR
Free test after seven days
£60 Rapid Antigen to return home
£190 two and eight-day package

How much does a Covid-19 test for return travel to Spain?

It’s £330 for the four tests required. If you can find one, LAMP tests are accepted – these cheaper than PCR test, but can be less accurate.
£80 LAMP test (available at some airports)
£60 Rapid Antigen to return home
£190 two and eight-day package

How much does a Covid-19 test for return travel to Italy?

It’s £310 for the five tests required. Antigen tests before departure are accepted and a test at your Italian airport on arrival is free.
£60 Rapid Antigen before departure
Free test on arrival at airport
£60 Rapid Antigen to return home
£190 two and eight-day package

How much does a Covid-19 test for return travel to the US

It’s £322 for the four tests required. Antigen tests before departure are accepted.
£60 Rapid Antigen
£72 ($100) test to return home
£190 two and eight-day package

Notes Our UK prices are based on an easily accessible cheap option, but not the cheapest. For example, £120 for PCR (a high street retailer such as Boots, or PCR test at home from UKAS accredited Nationwide Pathology – both £120); test costs can vary from £70 to more than £300. £190 UK testing package – prices range from £175 (cheapest with Nationwide Pathology) to much more.

The UK government currently requires you to book a test on the second and eighth day after your return to the UK. That package costs an estimated £190.

£60 Rapid Antigen test (prices vary; £80 at Boots, but they’re only available at five stores); £50 Express Test at many airports; £39 from Qred test at home kit. In some countries Rapid Antigen tests before the trip home are cheaper, but it’s difficult to estimate this – based on how difficult it may be to find them, how easy it is to arrange them in a foreign language, etc.

£80 LAMP (not widely available – but £80 at some airports).

Which? calls on the Global Travel Taskforce

Which? has called on the Global Travel Taskforce to make sure private testing for travel is affordable. Current costs make travel too expensive for most people.

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