Which Covid Test Do I Need For Travel? Here's What You Need To Know Before You Go


Ili •  Aug 27, 2021

What is a Covid test?

With borders reopening across the globe and vaccinated travel lanes being launched, international travel is slowly making a comeback. It's definitely exciting to think about hopping on a flight and getting to your first travel destination after over a year of staying home. But before you do that, there are several things to consider like getting a Covid test.

A Covid test essentially detects the presence of Covid-19 due to an active infection in a person's body. The results (positive or negative) will determine if you're able to enter your intended country.

What Covid test do I need for travel?

The standard test is the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) - a nose or mouth swab test that only takes seconds and detects genetic material in the virus known as RNA. There is also the more rapid antigen test which involves taking a swab and mixing it with a solution on a paper strip, which can be done at home and gives a result within 30 minutes.

Another option is to do an antibody test. Currently, there are no FDA-authorized, at-home antibody tests. You'll have to see a health care professional, who will take a blood sample via a finger prick or a blood draw from a vein in your arm.

Where can I get a Covid test for travel?

This depends entirely on where you're from and the availability of Covid tests. You can order a PCR test kit or book an appointment at a hospital or clinic to get tested. If you decide to get one from your local drugstore, make sure that it meets the condition and entry requirements of your destination.

P.S. For our Malaysian friends, here's where you can buy Covid-19 self-test kits (we show you how to use them as well!).

How much is a Covid test?

Again, this depends on where you're from. The price also varies on the type of test (PCR test, rapid test, blood test). Whichever method you choose to go with, always keep in mind to use a Covid test that has been government-approved.

Which countries require Covid test for entry?

Most countries worldwide now require travellers to take a test before entering. It's important to check the travel advisory of your intended destination as well as the one from your own country before flying abroad.

When do I need to take the Covid test?

Depending on the rules in your destination, you'll need to show results that have been produced within either 48, 72 or 96 hours.

We hope this has answered some of the questions you have on Covid tests! As you continue to do more research, let us inspire your future travel plans with these articles: