Covid-19 tests for travel — easy and painless

Many vacation destinations require visitors to submit a negative Covid-19 test before traveling to their destination. Hawaii requires a negative test taken within three days of arrival. Turks & Caicos (where Claire and I will be traveling this Sunday) requires a negative test taken within five days of arrival.

How can you get this done and what's the process like? Here's our own experience.

1. Find a test site. CVS Pharmacy is a nationwide chain that provides testing at many of its locations. CVS offers a website that will locate testing locations convenient to your zip code.

2. Register in advance to schedule an appointment. As the reason for your test is travel (rather than symptoms you're experiencing), you'll have click the link on the next page informing you of the $139 testing fee. The page you need to get to looks like this...

3. Make an appointment. You can select available times over a three day range, the only choices being same day, next day, and the second day. I logged in first thing on Sunday morning to schedule a Tuesday morning test. 

Print out your confirmation, as you'll be asked for the registration number when you show up for your test.

4. Bring required documents with you for your test. We were told to bring our photo IDs, insurance cards, and the registrations. You'll get a text message the morning of your test with the link to a short video showing what to expect. This is helpful, so be sure to watch the video.

5. Go to the test site in time for your appointment. In our case, the site provided drive-through testing. We drove up to the pharmacy's drive-through window. We were asked for our confirmation numbers, dates of birth, etc., and we were each given a plastic pouch that included the nasal swab and the vial in which to insert the swab after the test was completed.

6. We self-administered our tests. The process consisted of inserting the swab one inch into each nostril and rotating it for fifteen seconds. When accomplished, we inserted the swab into the vial, sealed the cap, and placed it in the zip-lock plastic bag. We then dropped the bag containing paperwork and our completed tests into the LabCorp drop box right next to the drive-through window.

7. I received a text message two days later informing me that my test results were available. Clicking the link took me to a webpage where I could download the test results. Both of us had (thankfully) negative results.

8. With negative tests in hand, I applied for Travel Authorizations for Turks and Caicos. Each traveler will have to complete the online form individually; the form provides fields to upload your (a) Covid test result and (b) proof of travel insurance providing medical coverage and evacuation. Turks and Caicos approves (and I recommend) Travelex Travel Select.

9. Within minutes, our Travel Authorization forms arrived by email. Print out the form for each passenger, for these will be required to board your flight and enter the country. It's recommended also to bring a hard copy of your test results and certificate of travel insurance.

10. Travel and enjoy the world!

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