A Guide to COVID Testing for Travel

COVID testing

The world of travel is a complex one in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. Where’s open, what are the entry requirements, will you have to self-isolate on arrival in-destination, or when you get home? One of the biggest questions right now is undoubtedly around testing. Currently COVID-19 testing is mandatory for all arrivals into England – including British passport holders – making the travel landscape is even trickier to navigate than ever before. But that’s where Flight Centre comes in. If you’re returning to the UK and are wondering what you need to do, we’re here to help. Check out our guide below:

What are the rules?

Currently all travellers (even UK nationals) will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate. This must be:

  • presented upon arrival in England;
  • obtained a maximum of 72 hours prior to departure; and
  • is applicable regardless of your entry point/method, so anyone travelling by plane, train or boat.

It's worth noting that these rules are likely to be superseded by the new travel traffic-light system – we are still waiting on confirmation on when this will come into place, but it's likely to be 17th May 2021. Find out more here.


Testing requirements around the world

You may also need to produce a negative test when departing for your holiday, dependant on your destination of choice. Testing requirements vary from country to country – specifically the following:

  • Who needs to be tested – age requirements vary, in some cases children are exempt
  • What type of test is accepted – there are several out there; PCR – which detects the virus’s genetic information – is probably the most common
  • How far in advance you can be tested – many countries call for a maximum of 72 hours before travel

To see requirements for your destination of choice, visit the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website. Please note that requirements can change at short notice, so be sure to keep checking for updates and speak to your Flight Centre Travel Consultant if you’re unsure.

Returning to the UK

As mentioned above, it is currently mandatory that travellers entering England will need to show a negative test. It’s also worth noting the following:

  • Those travelling to a country not on the government travel corridor list will need to self-isolate for 10 days on return.
  • Quarantine requirements can be reduced to five days if you take another COVID-19 test after your return from holiday, and it comes back negative.
  • This test would be at your own cost.
  • If the test comes back positive or inconclusive you must continue to self-isolate for the full 10 days.
  • Those returning from a country on the government 'Red List' will be subject to mandatory, self-funded, hotel quarantine.

Where to get tested

We are still waiting for the government to release full guidance on where to get tested overseas before your return to the UK. We are also working closely with our partners in-destination, and airports around the world, so that we can share further advice with you as soon as it is available. We will share any new information on this page.

In terms of getting tested in the UK before you travel, we can help you arrange this through our vaccination partners. Please contact your Consultant directly for more information.

Chat to Your Consultant for Advice on COVID Testing

Flight Centre’s Travel Consultants really know their stuff when it comes to creating bespoke itineraries. Get in touch below, and let us tailor-make it easy