Where can we travel now: Barriers to pre-travel testing are easing

Where can we travel now: Barriers to pre-travel testing are easing

In the absence of a vaccine or relatively quick and effective treatments for Covid-19, pretravel testing is shaping up as the preferred requirement for international travel.

Most countries now welcoming Americans require at least a pre-entry test. Likewise, the CDC has made preboard and disembarkation testing a requirement for cruise lines to sail from U.S. ports.

Abercrombie & Kent guests in Egypt. Photo Credit: Emily Slade Photography via A&K

Machu Piichu. Egypt. The Galapagos. Belize. Colombia.

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But even as cases again surge in the U.S., tour operators say that thanks to expanded testing capabilities and partnerships they have forged to help travelers find access to tests, turnaround times are seldom a barrier.

“The issue of testing was originally a problem, but this is no longer the case, and our clients have a number of different options,” said Scott Simpson, co-founder and general manager of the Exeter Safari Co.

In South Florida, he said, Physician Partners of America offers in-home testing with results guaranteed within 24 hours. Another company, Arc Point Labs, offers polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests with results in an hour.

“I think, with rare exceptions, any traveler living in a major city has access to PCR tests that will guarantee turnaround times of 24 hours or less,” Simpson said.

Likewise, Jack Richards, CEO of Pleasant Holidays, which has partnered with CVS Health to refer travelers to its 2,800 testing sites around the country, said they haven’t had any issues with clients being unable to get test results in time for travel.

“Appointments are required, so this helps alleviate any issues about scheduling,” he said. “CVS Health can be used for Hawaii and other destinations. Tahiti has been testing since mid-July 2020 and seems to be operating very smoothly, as well.”

In addition to CVS, Richards said Pleasant Holidays and its luxury brand, Journese, have numerous other Covid-19 testing companies listed on their websites under Traveler Resources and Traveler Support, “so there are a variety of options.”

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