Travel: Expert discusses vaccines and Covid tests
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Jetting off on holiday is a very different experience in the post-coronavirus world, with a number of rules travellers must follow. Of these, testing is one of the most prominent – and in many cases the most costly, too.
Recently, the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into testing firms after allegations of poor service for travellers.
Part of this investigation is looking at the reported soaring price tags associated with the legal testing process.
However, according to Government-approved testing firm Qured, there are ways of cutting costs.
Qured currently specialises in at-home testing for travellers, allowing them to take verified pre-departure and fit-to-fly rapid antigen tests, PCR fit-to-fly tests, day two tests, day eight tests and day five test to release tests from the comfort of their own home.
Qured’s CEO Alex Templeton shared his insight into how holidaymakers can reduce the cost of their travel tests with Express.co.uk.
How can travellers save money on Covid tests?
One of the main ways holidaymakers can cut the cost of testing for travel is through discount codes.
In most cases, discount codes are offered to customers who book via airlines or travel providers who have partnered with an official testing service.
For example, Mr Templeton points out that “Qured is working with several airlines, including British Airways, KLM/Air France, American Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, and Heathrow airport, to provide customers with at-home testing discounts”.
According to Money Saving Expert, this is one of the best ways to source the “cheapest” options for travel testing.
Qured’s CEO advised: “Travellers should check their airlines and airports to see what savings are available, as well as visiting the websites of testing providers to find out more about available discounts.”
While there may be some travel testing services with a low-cost offering, it is vital holidaymakers check tests meet the Government’s approved criteria before handing over cash.
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How much money could travellers save?
Discounts vary from testing service to testing service, however, Mr Templeton says airline discounts can equate to around 15 percent.
He explained: “Discounts of up to 15 percent are available through some airlines.
“For example, British Airways customers can book a PCR test with Qured for £58.65 and an antigen LFD test to enter the UK for £33; customers just need to enter the relevant discount code when booking.”
How can customers ensure they pick a reliable testing provider?
The ongoing CMA investigation into testing providers has highlighted what Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid described as “cowboy” PCR test firms.
This is why Mr Templeton says it is vital consumers do adequate research and look into the practices of their chosen testing provider.
He said: “Customers should research testing providers before they purchase tests, looking out for recognised accreditations, and check customer reviews.”
The testing expert recommended looking at the ISO standard of a firm, as set out by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service, alongside the Car Quality Commission regulators ranking of a firm.
Customer satisfaction scores and reviews are also a great way to find out the first-hand experience of other people who have used a firm.
Mr Templeton added: “You should always do your research when looking for a reputable provider, or use a provider recommended by your airline who will have vetted them.
“It is important to remember that if rapid antigen tests are used for your travels, you can’t use the free NHS lateral flow tests for this purpose and you should book your test and video appointment in plenty of time before travel.
“Those looking to travel should also keep up-to-date with the Government’s travel requirements and those of the country they want to travel to, as these do change. Book testing as soon as you book your trip, of course making sure that you do not take the test any more than 72 hours before you travel.”
How can travellers make the testing process easier?
According to Mr Templeton, at-home testing is one of the best ways to simplify the travel testing process.
He told Express.co.uk: “At-home testing is a great benefit to travellers as it means you do not need to travel to see a doctor or testing centre to get the tests completed.
“The tests can be conducted by the customer in the comfort of their home or hotel room.
“A great benefit of the Qured Antigen LFD test is that customers have their tests overseen on a video call by a certified health advisor. The health advisor can easily guide them through the process and make sure that the test is taken properly.
“PCR swabbing is also performed at home by the customer before they post or send by courier the test swab to Qured’s lab partner for processing.”
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