National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Q // What’s the situation with ‘cowboy’ Covid-19 testing companies, and what should I look for when booking my travel tests?


From 4 October, fully vaccinated travellers returning to England from non-red-list countries no longer have to take a predepartu­re test. However, a day-two test aer arrival is still required, and that’s before you consider any tests required for other countries. The government has started to crack down on test providers using bait and switch, where the price advertised isn’t the price you pay, but there’s still a risk that results aren’t returned in time before travel. It’s essential, then, to find a provider that can meet deadlines.

You won’t necessaril­y find one on the government’s list; while it’s a good place to start your search, it contains hundreds of providers, some of which have poor customer ratings. Instead, look for a provider that limits sales of postal tests

(this applies for both outbound and day-two tests). Companies like Testing for All cap sales to ensure they have enough lab capacity to issue results on time. Comprehens­ive refund policies are a good sign, too, as they act as an incentive to get things right. C19 refunds any test that takes longer than 24 hours to analyse, and you can drop o” samples directly at labs in London and Manchester. testingfor­


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