The cost of Covid-19 testing is stopping millions of Brits from travelling for holiday abroad. This is according to new research from online doctor service and pharmacy, ZAVA, who say that 42% (22 million) of British adults have been “priced out” of foreign holidays by coronavirus testing.
Here is the lowdown.
What are the current requirements for foreign travel?
Lockdown restrictions in the UK have been eased and people are allowed to travel abroad for holidays.
A traffic light system comprised of three categories; green, amber and red, is being used to guide travel to different destinations. The full list of destinations on each list can be found on gov.uk.
Each category has its own travel rules and restrictions. Destinations on the green list have the most relaxed rules. Holidaymakers to countries on this category do not have to quarantine upon returning to the UK.
Different destinations, including those on the green list, however, have their own guidelines in place. Most European countries, including Spain, France, Greece, for example, require all people aged 12 and above to provide a negative Covid-19 test on arrival.
Now, as research from ZAVA shows, millions of prospective travellers have had their hopes dashed by the cost of securing these Covid-19 tests.
Why is Covid-19 testing pricing many out of foreign holidays?
According to ZAVA, up to 22 million Brits have been forced to give up on dreams of foreign travel this year due to the added expense of Covid-19 testing. This represents about 42% of all adult British adults.
ZAVA reports that those who have enjoyed a holiday since the pandemic’s outbreak in March 2020 have been forced to pay as much as £195 per person in order to obtain tests. So basically, a family of five could be looking at a staggering additional cost of close to £1,000 in testing fees.
It’s not surprising therefore that a large number of would-be holidaymakers have had to postpone or cancel their plans.
What other Covid-19 related problems are holidaymakers experiencing?
It’s not just testing fees that are impeding many Brits’ travel plans.
For example, ZAVA reports that for one in ten (9%) who did manage to take a test, their hopes of a holiday were dashed by either:
- testing positive for Covid-19;
- purchasing the wrong type of test, (i.e. one which was not on the government’s list of providers); or
- falling victim to a fraudulent testing scam.
Further, holidaymakers have had to contend with the administrative challenges of travelling. For example, one in three (37%) have experienced confusion when trying to find a reputable testing provider. Nearly half (44%) report being confounded by the government’s traffic light system.
Overall, the combination of cost and some of these additional stress factors has put nearly half of adults off travelling abroad at all. 49% also report that they are fearful of contracting Covid-19 abroad, while 65% say they are fearful of getting stuck in a country if it changes status on the government’s traffic light system.
What can I do to boost my chances of travel, protect myself and reduce costs?
While the additional testing costs are certainly an inconvenience to many, and for some, a complete impediment to travel, it’s important to remember that the requirements are in place to ensure and promote public health and safety.
As Dr. Babak Ashrafi from ZAVA says, “It’s important to take the care and time to fully understand the obligatory testing procedures we need to undertake, buy from reputable government-backed programmes, and be vigilant against COVID-19 related scams. This will ensure we, as a nation, can return to travel safely and minimise as much stress as possible.”
Finally, to save on costs while on holiday, consider taking a travel credit card with you. Unlike other cards, a travel credit card does not charge you extra for non-sterling transactions or cash withdrawals. It could save you a decent amount on your foreign holiday expenses.
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