Travel: Simon Calder discusses taking PCR tests
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All around the world, Governments have enforced testing rules for those hoping to cross their borders. However, it seems the UK charges its citizens more for PCR tests than the likes of Spain, Italy, Greece, France and Turkey according to a new study.
Britons returning from green list countries are subject to a pre-departure test and then a test on day two of their arrival.
The same rules apply for vaccinated travellers returning from amber list countries.
For unvaccinated holidaymakers returning from amber list countries, a day eight test is also required as well as a period of self-isolation.
However, NHS tests can not be used, which means holidaymakers can rack up quite a bill using testing providers.
Recent research by online doctor ZAVA suggested that as many as 22 million Britons have been “priced out” by these soaring costs.
According to research from Admiral travel insurance, the UK was concluded to be the “second most expensive country” for PCR tests.
The average testing cost in the UK is reported to be £92.
Admiral also claims that “the cost of UK Covid tests required to take before and after travelling to some countries on the amber-list could cost holidaymakers on average an additional £184 per trip per person – that’s £552 for a family of four.”
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The UK was beaten only by the US, where tests average at £119.
This cost increases to £237 for a couple and £476 for a family of four.
Portugal came in as the “third most expensive country” in the study.
Experts found tests here came in at around £85 per person.
France and Turkey, meanwhile, were at the lower end of the price spectrum.
In France, the average cost of a PCR test for travel was found to be £42.
In Turkey, this cost is halved, with the average test costing £21 per person.
Cosmin Sarbu, head of travel insurance at Admiral, said: “Our research shows prices for PCR tests vary significantly between countries and UK residents seem to be forking out a lot more in comparison to people living overseas.”
Spain came in fourth on the list, followed by Jamaica, Germany and Greece in sixth, seventh and eighth place respectively.
The average cost of tests in these nations ranged from £57 to £69.
Italy and The Maldives were ranked in eighth and ninth place, with the average cost of tests in Italy coming in at around £51 per person, and £47 in The Maldives.
The research comes amid calls for the cost of PCR tests for travel to be lowered.
Rory Boland, Which? travel editor said: “Which? has repeatedly highlighted that the cost of testing is too high, preventing some people from taking essential trips overseas or long-awaited holidays.
“The government must urgently look at ways, including the possibility of introducing a price cap, to reduce the cost of testing, while the Competition and Markets Authority must complete its review of the market swiftly, and take action against any firms found to be charging excessive or misleading prices.”
While no conclusion has been reached on whether or not the industry will face price cuts, Admiral’s expert points out that there are some ways to save money in the meantime.
The key lies in research and planning.
“Before booking a holiday, Britons should do their research to make sure they’re following the right rules and meeting the correct testing regulations in their chosen destination,” advised Mr Sarbu.
“It’s also best to find and book the PCR tests as soon as possible to make sure you have the correct paperwork before jetting off.
“To make savings, compare the prices between approved UK providers to check you’re paying the standard rate and not being overcharged for the service.
“Selecting a bundle package that includes all the travel tests required to go abroad will also help to reduce the additional costs, and shopping around is one of the best ways to find a good deal whether that’s with your holiday provider or airline.
“Also, to avoid being caught out and scammed, always check the provider is properly regulated before booking tests with them.”
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