As travel opens up in fits and starts, negative COVID-19 tests have become a golden ticket for some, and a way to find peace of mind for others.
This is especially true when traveling abroad. Depending on where you’re going, you may have to prove vaccination, provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within a certain time frame, or have both on hand before your departure. The type of test that’s accepted at the border (or whether you need one at all) depends on which country you’re going to. Each country in Europe, for example, has different test requirements and allowances.
When traveling inside the US, at-home tests offer a convenient way to make sure you haven’t picked up the virus whether you’re vaccinated or not. While drugstores like CVS and Walgreens may have options, they may be sold out or unavailable where you are. You can pretty much always have a test shipped to you, though.
That said, at-home testing isn’t the solution for every traveler, and the testing requirements to get back into the US make at-home tests abroad difficult-to-impossible to use for entry. Always check with the country you’re visiting for the most up-to-date guidelines. Still, at-home tests are a great solution for when you’re preparing to travel abroad or if you’re concerned you may have been exposed during domestic travel.
These at-home kits can be shipped to you wherever you’re at in the country, making them perfect for travelers in need of a fast and reliable test.
One of the first to be authorized by the FDA, the EverlyWell nasal swab tests for both symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19. The testing process is pretty simple. Just insert the nasal swab one inch into the nose, ship the sample for free, and receive a digital and hard copy proof of results within one to two days. EverlyWell also provides an itemized receipt for insurance reimbursement.
This is a gentle lower nasal swab test that collects a sample for lab evaluation. The test kit includes easy-to-follow instructions for using the prepaid shipping label to mail your test. You can then track it in real time, and receive text or email updates during the process. Once the sample has been received, a medical professional will review your test and go over the results with you. LetsGetChecked provides itemized recipes for insurance reimbursement, and has an expedited traveler option as well.
It’s not just a square on the periodic table anymore. Phosphorus is one of the top self-test kits out there, and it was one of the first to receive FDA approval. Its RT -qPCR saliva test provides quick results in just one to two days, and you don’t even have to stick anything up your nose. According to the company, the test has a sensitivity (positive detection rate) of 97.1 percent and a specificity (negative detection rate) of 98.2 percent.
Cost: $119 without insurance
$49 with insurance
Pixel is the only at-home COVID-19 test that doesn’t require an upfront payment. Insurance also isn’t necessary to receive the test. If you take Pixel’s intake survey, you can have Pixel file with your insurance, or eligible customers can use federal funds to cover the test cost. Skipping the survey altogether is also an option, though you’ll have to pay up front. You’ll receive the test within two days of ordering, including a nasal swab. Once you self-administer the swab and send in your sample, results will be uploaded digitally. A clinician is also available for a free consultation for those whose results are positive or undetermined.
Cost: $0 upfront, insurance will be billed
Fulgent Genetics’s Picture test is a nucleic acid amplification test that uses a nasal swab. After you undergo an eligibility screening, Picture will send you a test kit through FedEx within two days. 48 hours after Picture receives your sample, your results will be uploaded digitally to your online portal. You also have the option of scheduling a telehealth consultation to review your results.
Vitagene partners with RUCDR Infinite Biologics to offer at-home collection test kits. They deliver kits within two to three days of ordering, and once you register your kit on 1health.io, just follow the instructions to collect your sample. Results are uploaded to Vitagene’s platform within three days. Vitagene accepts HSA and FSA as payment, though does not file insurance claims.
Azova tests are available at Costco.com. The test results are taken via Zoom call with video observation by a medical expert, and the test is specifically designed for travelers. Results will be made available online through a secure app within 48 hours of the lab receiving your kit. The test is also approved as part of Hawaii’s testing partner program, and for travel to Bermuda — so tropical travelers take note.