Is it just me, or has COVID-19 testing and vaccines sites become part of our everyday lives? No matter which news channel you watch, all of them tell you where to get tested or get a vaccine. Google also tells that information easily and it is good to know that The Families First Coronavirus Response Act ensures that COVID-19 testing is free to anyone in the U.S.
Getting tested is made easy with drive-throughs or popping into your local pharmacy. The results usually only take couple of hours to maximum 24 hours.
Traveling is becoming a thing again (maybe slowly but surely), after this long, long covid hibernation and many are thinking about flying again. Before buying the tickets, it is good to check if tourists are allowed to enter the country, or is a reason needed for traveling. Check for the required vaccine information of the destination country and also, if a negative covid test is required before boarding the plane. Getting a test in the US has been made easy, so many of us continue reserving their flights to the dream location without much of a thought of what is required when it is time to come back home.
So, if your tickets to Iceland are already purchased (btw, Iceland was the first European country to open its borders to fully vaccinated travelers back in March!), you might want to know, that a negative Covid test is required for you to come back to the U.S. Good thing is, that you can prepare for it before your trip!
United States still requires a negative Covid-19 test result from everyone: no matter if you are fully vaccinated and an America citizen. Many countries, like Finland has eased the entry restrictions and fully vaccinated passengers do not need to show a negative test before entering the plane. However, since US still requires the test, many companies have started developing testing kits, specifically designed for travelers returning to the United States.
What is the difference between the tests and which one is accepted for travel?
PCR tests are taken by a professional and the results are always sent to a laboratory to be analyzed. These tests recognize the different variants and they have a 95% accuracy.
The market has also expanded to rapid tests, called antigen tests. These tests can be done without the help of a professional and getting the results usually takes only about 30 minutes.
The PCR tests is much more expensive than the antigen testing. If traveling back to the US from Finland, you might have to pay over €200 for a single test in Helsinki (Helsinki is our lovely capital, which is definitely worth visiting). Price source: Helsinki, Mehiläinen: Covid-19 PCR test €249, Antigen test for travel purposes €165.
The whole point of a vacation should be to relax and to forget everything covid related. If the entire vacation is about stressing where to get tested while abroad, within the 3-day time limit before flying back home, that does not sound too relaxing. Good thing is, that there is a solution for this.
Abbot and eMed have created an antigen rapid test that has been approved COVID-19 test for traveling purposes. One order contains six individual tests and the test can be taken from the comfort of your own home. Please do note that there are plenty of over the counter, home tests available, however, those are not accepted for travel purposes (at least that I know of). Abbot´s BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag At-Home Test Kit 6 Pack is approved and it is different, because the actual testing is done on a video call with a medical professional. You cannot open the test kit prior to the call, the professional has to have a visual of you and the test kit during the entire call. They will guide you through the process to ensure the test is done correctly. Once the test has been performed, the video has to stay on so the medical professionals can ensure nobody touches the test kit and possibly tamper the results.
The test is extremely easy to do and no, you do not need to stick the specimen swap deep into your nose (and I’ve done this so I know). The results are ready in 15 minutes and this Abbot BinaxNOW Covid-19 AG home test sensitivity is approximately 92% and accuracy 98.5%
This test is easy to do during your vacation. Each package comes with 6 individually packaged tests and the price is $150. The price includes the video calls with the medical professional so you won’t be charged extra for those. Abbot also offers each user a free mobile application called NAVICA. Once you’ve done your test, the results will be downloaded to your app automatically. They will also be sent to you via email where you can print them if paper copy is needed.
We also told you about the VerFly app which allows you to download your test results, as well as other required travel documents into one place. I flew back to Miami from Finland, through London and VeriFly made the connection easy. I did the Abbot eMed home test in Helsinki one day before my departure and got the results on my Navica app. After receiving the results, I was able to download them into the VeriFly app alongside with my vaccination information and the US travel form. Before boarding my connecting flight at Heathrow, I only showed the front page of my VeriFly app which stated that I was approved to fly. I was cleared to fly in matter of seconds, whereas it took much longer for the ones not using the app. I would say that for once, my transfer at Heathrow was smooth!
If you are planning on traveling and want to purchase the Abbot´s BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag At-Home Test Kit, you’ll find it here.
And if interested, read more about the NAVICA app as it is being used for traveling and developed to be possibly used in bigger gatherings and events as well.
Happy and safe travels to all!