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How many test kits will you pack?

We will be in Greece for 30 days and we’re trying to decide how many test kits we’ll need to pack.

If we need more, are test kits readily available in most Greek pharmacies?

Thank you!

Posted by
14288 posts

Well, I’ve been in Paris 3 days and had packed 2 kits with 2 tests each. It’s Spring and things are blooming like crazy plus it’s really busy…Metro, parks, restaurants, tourist areas and one museum out of 3 was jammed(Louvre). People are mostly masked on the Metro and inside but few are masked outside or in restaurants.

I’ve used one test already as the woman sitting in front of me on the plane was not keeping her mask on and complained all night about various things including how she thought she might get sick because she was so cold on the flight.

With the blooming I’ve got allergy symptoms but wanted to make sure it was allergy and not Covid.

I opted for just the 2 kits (one a bulky Binax, the other the smaller free one) because that was all the room I had left in my carry on. I did not want to put them in my checked luggage because of how cold it gets in the hold. I’d emailed Abbott Labs to ask if it was OK to put the non proctored kits in a ziplock or combine them and they said no.

So…my plan is to test as I feel the need and buy more kits at the local pharmacy. I know they are fairly readily available in Paris. I do not know about the situation in Greece.

I am also meeting up with a Road Scholar trip the end of the month and will test before the first meet up although it’s not required. With group meals Being unmasked I’ll probably test a few times over that 2 week period.

I’m traveling for 30 days.

Posted by
3260 posts

Pam wrote - "I did not want to put them in my checked luggage because of how cold it gets in the hold. I’d emailed Abbott Labs to ask if it was OK to put the non proctored kits in a ziplock or combine them and they said no." (But how would they know and why would they care?)

You've raised a couple of points that I hadn't thought of as we planned to do both - take the non-proctored test kits out of their original packaging and pack extra kits in our non-carry-on luggage.

Enjoy your travels in France - thank you for taking time to post!

Posted by
6691 posts

The test components - vial, swabs etc can be easily damaged if not kept in original packaging rendering them unusable.

Posted by
2768 posts

For 4 people I’m taking 6 proctored test kits. Maybe 8? They say 2 per person in case one doesn’t work but I don’t know that 4 failing is likely. One each plus 2 extras seems ok.

I might take a few extra non-proctored ones just in case. I do plan to combine them into one box, I won’t open any sealed packages but the cardboard box doesn’t seem to do much besides take up space. You can’t do this with the proctored ones - they need to be intact in the box, probably to make sure no one tampers with them.

All going in carry on bags. I’m a bit concerned about heat - we are driving between cities and will stop at sights on the way and it might be hot in the car.

Posted by
23472 posts

...my checked luggage because of how cold it gets in the hold...... Urban myth !!! The temperature in the luggage area is the same temperature and pressure as is in the main cabin. Think about -- if it wasn't everything would be frozen solid when you got off the plane.

Posted by
6113 posts

I always travel with checked luggage and the contents always feel cooler than the stuff in hand luggage. So, I have just googled this and the hold temperature can vary significantly, but is cooler than the cabin, sometimes significantly, but it’s never freezing.

The issue in Greece maybe keeping the tests cool enough when you are there.

For a 30 day trip, I would take as a minimum enough to test each person a few days after arrival, two each in case you feel dodgy mid trip and two each for the end of the trip.

Posted by
2507 posts

Opening the proctored BINAX Now test kits before the test renders them invalid. The proctor needs to see you open the box.

Posted by
3260 posts

With a little further checking I found that:

The approximate temperature of the airplane baggage hold is 45 Degrees F. - this varies depending on the type of plane.

The kits should be stored at temps between 36 degrees F. and 86 degrees F.

Thanks everyone for you comments!

Posted by
381 posts

I've opened and repackaged all the at-home tests I am taking. Cut the label off the box and put it in a ziploc with the contents. One box that contains 2 tests (a freebie obtained from local health dept) was missing the vile of test juice!

I really hate allocating packing space to these things, especially since we are also taking one proctored test each (and can't repackage those), and we are away for almost 2 months, but it's a necessary evil. We want to easily test if we feel the need.

Posted by
1229 posts

Part of the proctor part of the exam is that the proctor watches you open the package and remove the test. So, while non-proctored tests can be repackaged for luggage, proctored tests have to remain in their original package until use

Posted by
682 posts

I opened two boxes and repackaged the four tests into one zip lock. I have another nine tests and might bring a few more for our three week trip if I have the room.

Posted by
267 posts

Surprise, you can buy these things if you feel they are needed at nearly any grocery store or pharmacy - in Europe.

Saw them as cheap as 4 Euro in Italy last week. Vendors were sellling them outside the train station in Milan.

Not sure that I see the virtue in giving yourself a test anytime you see someone not wearing a mask and such, but that is just me. Our experience in Italy for two weeks is that you are going to see a LOT of people without masks. We tested once to get on the plane.

Posted by
682 posts

Surprise, you can buy these things if you feel they are needed at nearly any grocery store or pharmacy - in Europe.

I tend to follow the BSA motto, "Be Prepared.";)

Posted by
1321 posts

At this point for our trip departing May 23 I plan on brining two of the emed tests and 2 of the self admin test.

Posted by
981 posts

There are 4 of us. I’ll bring the 6 pack emed proctored, and 3 each pp of the regular.

Posted by
140 posts

We leave tomorrow. We got a second boost two weeks ago. Now masking is no longer required on flights. (Ambivalent about this — happy and not happy at the same time 😳). We have 1 proctored test and two non proctored each for a 4 week trip. I was debating if we should bring more, but after reading this thread, I think we are good other than I will add one back up proctored test. Everywhere we are going, we should be able to find “home” tests at a pharmacy. Plus, it’s possible (this I do have my fingers crossed for) that the US entry test may be eliminated before we return.

Posted by
2507 posts

We are bringing the BINAX Now tests (6) as we are required to test before our tour and as of now before we fly home. The extra two BINAX Now are in case we test positive before coming home and need an additional test later on. We are also bringing the free gov’t ones to test if we are symptomatic on the tour to protect the other tour members and also to test 3 to 5 days before we leave as a heads up that we need to find someplace to quarantine. Of course, all this may be moot at the end of our tours if the gov’t ends the test requirement to come home. We can hope. With the end of masking, there may be a lot more of us who get stuck in Europe and elsewhere.

Posted by
147 posts

Opening the proctored BINAX Now test kits before the test renders them invalid. The proctor needs to see you open the box.

This is a very important point made by Mary and others. For the required covid test to return to the US; it must be either performed by healthcare professional (e.g. pharmacy or test center) or by yourself home test to be monitored by a real-time telehealth video observation service (e.g. BinaxNow home test kit with personal virtual visit with a certified professional). Note that some companies sell two types of Covid test kits: one for simple home test (which you can choose to remove package to compact down) and the other home test that comes with telehealth service. So make sure you pack the correct version for your return home testing.

DO NOT open the test kit package until you're instructed by the telehealth certified guide, or it will be rendered invalid for testing.

Posted by
682 posts

I'm only bringing self-tests that were "free," as I'm hoping that by the time we fly home, the US will no longer require a negative test. If so, we will just get a test done in France

Posted by
267 posts

I tested at a pharmacy in Italy because I dropped one of the Binax kits. Actually cost me (in $) a third less than the do it yourself kit. Paid 22 Euro for test that took about 10 minutes and was given a result printed in two languages.