International travelers are now required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight to the U.S. This includes both foreigners and U.S. citizens. If you have an international trip coming up, you may wonder how you’ll be able to get tested abroad so that you’ll be able to fly back home.
Testing Required to Enter U.S.
While several countries still have an outright ban on travel for U.S. citizens (if not all international travelers) there are still places where Americans are allowed to travel. Some popular destinations where Americans are currently traveling include Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean, to name a few. Testing has been required to enter most countries for a while, but now you’ll also need to take a viral test within three calendar days before your flight to the U.S. departs. Here’s how.
Check with the U.S. Embassy
The Department of State — Bureau of Consular Affairs recommends that you check with the U.S. Embassy for the specific country you are flying to. This is the most reliable resource for information on whether U.S. citizens are able to take a test in any given country, where it is possible, and how long it is expected to take.
It should be noted that the embassies themselves are not administering tests and travelers are required to pay any fees associated with taking a test in a foreign country. It may be best to schedule an appointment to ensure you’ll be able to get a test in time. These websites provide an excellent overview of the virus situation at large in any given country and should always be part of the planning process when traveling abroad.
Test at Your Hotel
Believe it or not, hotels are adding testing as a perk to lure travelers towards their properties. Hyatt Hotels Corporation is offering complimentary tests to guests at its resorts in Latin America and the Caribbean through May 31, 2021. Each individual property may require a minimum stay for the free test and the offer is valid for up to two people per room. Additional guests can receive a test for a fee.
There are several other hotel groups and individual properties that are offering free testing to guests. Couples Resorts in Jamaica, Hard Rock all-inclusive resorts in Mexico/Caribbean, and Velas Resorts, to name a few. Los Cabos is even implementing a program to provide free or low-cost testing (starting at $60) at all of its resorts. This is likely to become more common as hotels and cities are trying to bring back tourists and want to make it as easy as possible for their guests to travel safely. When checking for a place to stay, it’s a good idea to call your hotel and check if testing will be available on-site.
Book an All-Inclusive Tour
If you’re the type of traveler who likes to have everything taken care of, there are some luxury tour groups that will arrange it all for you, including your required COVID-19 test before your return flight to the U.S. Heading to the Galapagos Islands? Book with Metropolitan Touring and they’ll arrange a test for you in Quito or Guayaquil before your trip to the islands and before your flight back home.
Classic Journeys, a travel company providing all kinds of tours all over the world, is incorporating testing into the last few days of all international tours so participants won’t need to worry about arranging a test themselves. Embark Beyond goes even further by offering an add-on insurance for $43/day, which, in addition to in-room testing prior to your flight to the U.S., guarantees a return to the U.S. by medical transport should you test positive.
Ask Your Airline
Airlines are also gathering information on where testing can be done for its passengers while abroad. This can be a great way to streamline your test results to your airline as it is the airline’s responsibility to check that you have a negative test before you board your flight to the U.S. Delta and United both have search tools on their website for you to locate testing centers while abroad. Sun Country has a handy list of testing sites for several of its Mexico destinations and other airlines are likely to provide you with some information on where you can get tested by calling customer service.
Test at the Airport
Airports around the world are also implementing COVID-19 testing stations as it is likely to be a standard for international travel for the foreseeable future. In Mexico, multiple airports have either already started or soon plan to offer on-site testing for international travelers. You’ll be able to get a test at Cancun (CUN) Airport, but it states that the mobile testing units are a last-resort and strongly recommends getting tested before arriving at the airport.
A test at the airport could be one of the most convenient locations if your hotel itself doesn’t offer testing, but keep in mind that testing supplies at airports could be limited. Make sure to check your airport’s website so you know if testing is available and if you’re able to make an appointment to take a test before your flight.Adapting to the new way of travel will take some time, but the testing procedures put in place will make for a safer experience all around. And if you’re still having trouble finding a place to get tested abroad, you can check out this great crowd-sourced search tool at testfortravel.com. Simply enter the city and type of test you’re looking for. It will give you a list of locations with contact information so you can call and double check on the availability of testing.