While we don’t know yet where we’ll be able to travel to this summer, we do know that we’ll almost certainly need to have a COVID test before returning to the UK.
It seems likely that we’ll have to arrange and pay for the test ourselves, which adds additional expense and worry to a holiday, especially for families who will require multiple tests.
At the moment, everyone returning must produce a negative Covid test. It can be a PCR, LAMP or lateral flow antigen test and must be taken no more than three days earlier.
If you arrive in the UK without a negative test, you could be fined up to £500.
It’s not yet been confirmed that this rule will stay in place once the ban on overseas holidays is lifted, but the Government has given no hint that there be any changes.
Where can you get a free or cheap Covid test on holiday?
Some hotels in the most popular holiday destinations say they’ll provide free or discounted COVID tests to British tourists.
The Turkish tourist board has stated that hotels will offer Covid tests to holidaymakers for €30.
In Cyprus, Louis Hotels, which has 17 properties in Paphos, Limassol and Protaras, and the Almyra and Annabelle hotels are offering free tests to guests staying seven nights or more.
Louis is offering tests to short-stay guests tests for €25.
Louis hotels are:
Limassol: The Royal Apollonia
Protaras: Louis Nausicaa Beach & Villas, Louis Althea Beach, Althea Kalamies Luxury Villas, Louis St. Elias Resort, The King Jason Protaras, The Infinity Blu, Chris Le Mare Villa, Chris Le Mare Gold Villa
Paphos: Louis Imperial Beach, Louis Phaethon Beach, Louis Ledra Beach, The King Jason Paphos, Louis Paphos Breeze, The Ivi Mare, Polis 1907, Sofianna Resort & Spa
In Greece, Costa Navarino is offering free antigen tests and onsite PCR tests at a discounted rate. The MarBella Collection’s three hotels on Corfu and Parga will also have onsite Covid testing, but it hasn’t said if tests will be free or discounted.
In Ibiza, the Grand Palladium Palace and the Grand Palladium White Island Resort & Spa, will offer onsite Covid tests, with results in less than 24 hours.
In the Maldives, The Heritance Aarah is offering free PCR tests to guests and The Nautilus Maldives is offering onsite PCR testing with results delivered within 24 hours.
Will other destinations offer free or discounted Covid tests?
Last week, the bosses of both TUI and Jet2holidays acknowledged that the cost of Covid tests is a huge barrier to customers travelling this summer.
Speaking at a Cyprus hoteliers conference, Jet2’s CEO Steve Heapy said the costs of tests must come down.
He said he was in talks with the Government, so it’s hoped that ministers will announce cheap or free testing for returning holidaymakers once we’re allowed to travel again.
TUI told hoteliers at the same conference that its customers would be unable to bear the cost of Covid tests and suggested they made testing as cheap and as easy as possible.
It seems at least some hotels have listened; hopefully others will do likewise.
In a statement, TUI said: “We’re committed to finding cost-effective testing solutions that will help make travel possible for our customers this summer.”