If you’re planning on traveling any time soon, it’s a good idea to get yourself tested for the virus. However, adding that to your travel to-do list can be a hassle, but it’s an extra step that you need to take.
To help make it easier on you though, here are a few tips on how you can make COVID-19 testing for travel more efficient for you.
One of the ways COVID-19 testing, while you’re traveling, can be more effective and efficient for you as a traveler would be by making sure you know what tests there are. That way, you’ll know which ones are the most effective for your needs.
With that said, there are two main types of tests that you can get: antibody and viral testing.
Antibody TestsAntibody tests look for antibodies that your body generated to fight against the infection of the COVID-19 virus. That means that it shows you if you have had the infection, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have it right now. Therefore, this test is not the best choice if you want to travel.
Since it shows you a past infection, you can’t use it to diagnose a current infection, so you’ll likely need to take the other type of testing, which are viral tests.
Viral TestsViral tests look for the presence of the virus during the time that you took the sample to find out if you have the infection right now. These tests are much better at letting you know about a current infection, which is why you can use them to diagnose COVID-19.
There are two different types of viral tests as well: RT-PCR tests and rapid antigen tests.
RT-PCR TestsRT-PCR tests, also known as molecular tests, are a very reliable way of finding out if you are currently infected with COVID-19. Its high-reliability rate though is offset by the fact that there needs to be lab testing for you to find out the results, which can take several days to come out.
As you are traveling, if you took the test and went out, you could have been infected as you were waiting for the results to come.
Rapid Antigen TestsOn the other hand, rapid antigen tests can give you your results in a few minutes. You don’t have to send your results to the lab as they can be self-test kits.
For example, if you got FlowFlex COVID test results to show that you’ve tested yourself for the virus, then that counts under the rapid antigen test.
One thing to note about rapid antigen tests is that they tend to show false negatives. However, they rarely ever show a false positive, which is why if you test positive for it, then there is a very high possibility that you are infected with the virus.
As mentioned before, the RT-PCR tests require you to send the sample to the labs which will take a few days. Although it’s more accurate, it takes more time. Therefore, it might be inconvenient when you’re traveling.
On the other hand, rapid antigen tests can show you if you have a current infection all within a few minutes and you can use it on yourself. However, they have moderate sensitivity which can affect their accuracy.
If you want to be as safe as possible, then you should consider quarantining for 14 days before you go on your trip, regardless if you’re showing symptoms or not. You should also self-quarantine while you’re waiting for your results, especially if you’re using an RT-PCR test.
Since you’re traveling, it can be tough to isolate yourself fully. If you’re in a closed space, like a plane or a bus, and want to minimize the risks then consider wearing a mask.
If you aren’t vaccinated yet, some places abroad may not accept you, so consider getting vaccinated as well.
Traveling shouldn’t be a scary thing, but it certainly helps if you can reduce the risks that you can get from doing it. So, apply these tips and learn from them so that you can travel as smoothly and safely as possible no matter where you’re headed.