With the world beginning to open again to travel, we in the travel industry are all looking hopefully to the future. An issue that has been circling for the majority of 2021, and one that travel professionals are very passionate about, is the price and regulation of PCR testing for travellers at the moment. However, more attention is beginning to arise in hopes of making PCR testing for travellers more widely accessible to consumers. 

When it comes to PCR testing for travellers, there’s a lot of factors to consider. In some cases, it is better to pay more for a trusted company. This is the reason that we at PTS recommend Qured, you’re paying a little bit extra for a trusted lab. There’s also the case of what will and won’t be accepted when you travel. It’s always important to keep up to date on the government website for what providers will be accepted for travel (you can look into these things on the government website). 

What Are the Issues with PCR Test Pricing?

For many in the travel industry, getting affordable testing for our consumers is a top priority at present and at PTS we support this, seeing this getting a more thorough investigation after talk of how different the prices are across the UK, it’s a hopeful prospect for all of us. 

PCR tests are a factor of travelling during covid, and it’s a huge part of why we can travel at the moment, this is partly why many are so concerned about very high prices with some of our prices costing double the testing prices in places like France and Greece with ours averaging around £75, or even more. However, a big part of this problem is that the prices come in such a range. With some of the government recommended testers you can book ranging from £20 to £300, travel professionals and consumers alike are worried about the issues this could cause. 

Recently, Watchdog has announced a deeper investigation of this issue, something that has stirred a lot of excitement in the travel industry. We are all very hopeful to be able to make our consumers’ holidays more affordable without sacrificing quality protection. 

The government health secretary, Sajid Javid, spoke recently about the potential exploitative behaviour this could be indicating since consumers need testing in order to travel. This is aiming to be monitored by the watchdog, in order to give consumers better access to the holidays they deserve with fairer prices. 

How Are PCR Tests Regulated for UK Travellers?

At the moment, this is what the watchdogs and the government are investigating because the quality of service with PCR tests is not at a level the travel industry is satisfied with. 

 However, there are a few different things you’ll need tests for when you travel. Providing evidence of a negative test taken no more than 72 hours before travel is a requirement with all destinations. Taking a day-2 test when you return to the UK is also true of green and amber list destinations. And the day-2, day-5 test-to-release (optional), and day-8 PCR tests upon return to the UK all need to be booked in advance of travel. 

As tests are such a core asset of travel in 2021, they are something that should be investigated early in the booking process, but testing is also something your travel agent should make you aware of while you’re booking.  

The government also has advice pages on what PCR testing services they recommend for day-2 and day-8 tests, as well as what is accepted for proof of a negative test when you travel, you can find these on the government website 

The basic testing you will need for a green list destination is as follows: 

  1. Proof of negative test taken within 72 hours before travel 
  2. A PCR test take on or before day-2 of arrival back in the UK, this must also be negative (these must be booked before travel) 

If you are travelling to an amber destination, these are the testing requirements: 

  1. Proof of negative test taken within 72 hours before travel 
  2. PCR tests taken on days 2 and 8 of arrival back in the UK, these must be negative and booked before travel. 
  3. You may also take an optional day-5 test-to-release PCR test on arrival back in the UK to be released from quarantine (if you are not double vaccinated), but you must still take your day-8 test. This must also be negative and booked before travel. 

If you are travelling to a red destination, the testing requirements are as follows: 

  1. Proof of negative test taken within 72 hours before travel 
  2. A PCR test must be taken in your quarantine hotel before you return to the UK. This must be negative and booked before travel. 
  3. PCR tests taken on days 2 and 8 of arrival back in the UK, these must be negative and booked before travel. 

These are just the testing requirements for these lists, if you would like to learn more about all the requirements for travelling to green, amber, and red list destinations, you can check out the details on our blog. 

Because there are so many different tests required for different destinations, not including the destination requirements that you should check out on the foreign travel advice page, it is a big moment for travel and consumers that more attention is being given to making the tests as affordable and accessible to consumers as possible. 

And when you’re booking your next holiday, don’t forget to book with an expert PTS member who can help you with all your travel needs. Or, if you’d like assistance picking one of our lovely members to book with, you can call PTS directly at 0207 190 9988. 

And if you’d like to learn more about your consumer protection and how you’re protected by the Package Travel Regulations on your next holiday, don’t forget to check out our page. 

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