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

Which? finds tests can add as much as £876 to the cost of travel for a family of four

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

UK residents can now holiday in amber list countries without the need for quarantine on their return if they are fully inoculated against Covid.  However, travellers whether vaccinated or not, will still need to pay for multiple Covid tests when returning from destinations on the amber or green lists.

Snapshot research from Which? has found that the current cost of testing is likely to be too expensive for most people, especially families.

An unvaccinated traveller on a return trip to Spain currently requires four tests totalling an estimated £219 per person. For a family of four that’s £876 – see prices below. 

Under the new rules, vaccinated travellers to green and amber list destinations will need to pay for a lateral flow test before departing their destination for home and a PCR test on or before day two of their return to the UK. Children aged five and over will also need to be tested.

It’s important before booking a trip to check the country’s entry requirements and Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) warnings in case travel to your chosen destination is not advised.


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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.

A PCR test in easily-accessible high street retailer, Boots, is £85.

Below is our estimated costs of how much private tests to travel to and from France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Dubai in the UAE currently cost, depending on if you are fully vaccinated or not:

I’m fully vaccinated: How much do Covid-19 tests cost for return travel to Spain?

It’s £91 for the two tests required. Travellers with proof of two Covid-19 vaccinations completed at least 14 days before travel are not required to take a test to fly to mainland Spain, which means you’ll only have to test on return to the UK.

£39 Rapid Antigen to return home

£52 PCR on day two after arrival

I’m not vaccinated: How much do Covid-19 tests cost for return travel to Spain?

It’s £219 for the four tests required. Unvaccinated travellers need to show proof of a negative PCR, TMA, LAMP or NEAR test from within 72 hours prior to arrival in Spain. Rapid Antigen tests are not  accepted, so the PCR test is your most readily available.

£85 PCR test before departure

£39 Rapid Antigen to return home

£95 PCR on days two and eight after arrival

I’m fully vaccinated: How much do Covid-19 tests cost for return travel to Greece?

It’s £91 for the two tests required. Travellers with proof of two Covid-19 vaccinations completed at least 14 days before travel are not required to take a test to fly to Greece, which means you’ll only have to test on return to the UK.

£39 Rapid Antigen to return home

£52 PCR on day two after arrival

I’m not vaccinated: How much do Covid-19 tests cost for return travel to Greece?

It’s £173 for the four tests required. Unvaccinated arrivals from the UK must provide either proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure, or a negative Rapid Antigen test taken within 48 hours of departure.

£39 Rapid Antigen before departure

£39 Rapid Antigen to return home

£95 PCR on days two and eight after arrival

NB. Greece will also accept proof of recovery from COVID-19 for entry. The NHS does not provide such records, but evidence of a positive COVID-19 PCR test result taken between 30 to 180 days of your travel dates can be used, in which case you can follow the guidance for vaccinated travellers.

I’m fully vaccinated: How much do Covid-19 tests cost for return travel to France?

It’s £91 for the two tests required. The UK is currently on France’s amber list, which means you can only travel to France for non-essential reasons if you’re fully vaccinated. 

France is on the UK’s amber list. This means that if you are fully vaccinated you must take a day two test when you return home plus the pre-departure test.

£39 Rapid Antigen to return home

£52 PCR on day two after arrival 

I’m not vaccinated: How much do Covid-19 tests cost for return travel to France?

The UK is currently on France’s amber list, and you cannot visit France if you have not been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 except for essential reasons. 

I’m fully vaccinated: How much do Covid-19 tests cost for return travel to Italy?

It’s £130 for the three tests required. Regardless of your vaccination status, you must present a negative Covid-19 Rapid Antigen or PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before travel to Italy.

£39 Rapid Antigen before departure

£39 Rapid Antigen to return home

£52 PCR on day two after arrival

I’m not vaccinated: How much do Covid-19 tests cost for return travel to Italy?

It’s £173 for the four tests required.

£39 Rapid Antigen before departure

£39 Rapid Antigen to return home

£95 PCR on days two and eight after arrival

I’m fully vaccinated: How much do Covid-19 tests cost for return travel to Portugal?

It’s £130 for the three tests required. Regardless of vaccination status, travellers must have proof of a negative test to travel to or through mainland Portugal. This can be a PCR or NAAT test taken within 72 hours of travel, or a Rapid Antigen test taken within 48 hours of travel. NB. The Azores and Madeira will accept proof of vaccination instead of a test.

£39 Rapid Antigen before departure

£39 Rapid Antigen to return home

£52 PCR on day two after arrival

I’m not vaccinated: How much do Covid-19 tests cost for return travel to Portugal?

It’s £173 for the four tests required.

£39 Rapid Antigen before departure

£39 Rapid Antigen to return home

£95 PCR on days two and eight after arrival

I’m fully vaccinated: How much do Covid-19 tests cost for return travel to Dubai?

Until 8 August, you cannot travel to Dubai as it is on the UK’s red list. Currently the FCDO also advises against travelling there.

It’s £176 for the three tests required as of 4am on 8 August when it is moved to the amber list. Regardless of vaccination status, travellers to Dubai must undergo a PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure to enter the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

£85 PCR test before departure.

£39 Rapid Antigen to return home

£52 PCR on day two after arrival

I’m not vaccinated: How much do Covid-19 tests cost for return travel to Dubai?

It’s £219 for the four tests required – once you are permitted to travel there from 4am on 8 August.

£85 PCR test before departure.

£39 Rapid Antigen to return home

£95 PCR on days two and eight after arrival

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.

Notes:

Our UK prices are based on an easily accessible cheap option, but not the cheapest.

All of our above stated test prices are based on the costs of a high street retailer such as Boots, or a reputable online provider, such as Qured, or Testing For All.

The PCR test example we’ve used for outbound testing is £85, which is the cost of an in-store, fit-to-fly test at Boots, but PCR tests can be found cheaper if you use a high-street home test (around £65) or if you use the drive-through or walk-in services at Gatwick Airport (around £60). Test costs vary however, and we found reputable fit-to-fly PCR tests from around £60 right up to £399.

Rapid Antigen (ie. Lateral Flow) tests can be found online, costing from £7.50 and up to silly money, but our Rapid Antigen test to fly out and to return home is based on Qured’s prices, whose website explicitly states that their RA tests can be used for inbound and outbound travel. In some countries Rapid Antigen tests before the trip home are cheaper, but it’s difficult to estimate this because of how difficult it might be to find them and how easy it is to arrange them in a foreign language, etc.

Our day two test (£52), and days two and eight test (£95) prices are based on packages provided by Testing For All, which includes PCR testing by post. Prices for this service vary dramatically but Testing For All is a not-for-profit organisation offering affordable, reliable testing. Discounted test packages are available as bundle deals from some holiday companies and airlines, such as British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2, Ryanair, and TUI.

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