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How to get a Covid test to return to the US

There are multiple posts on this subject daily. The purpose of this thread is to provide some general information about testing and how people can use resources (beyond this forum) to locate testing locations.

The requirement (as of May 22)
A negative Covid test report from a test taken no earlier than the calendar day before your departing flight. May be PCR or antigen.

Where to get tested:
Clinic or lab/pharmacy
Approved proctored home test via internet

How to find a testing location.
Ask your hotel.
Ask your RS guide
Put these words “ Covid testing location in (fill in requested location name) in a search engine.

Please feel free to add more tips to the thread.

Posted by
13527 posts

A1 Guides other than RS guides will probably know
A2 When you book your last accommodation prior to return, contact the accommodation directly and ask for their advice, a lot of hotels have in house methods of getting you tested.
A3 Google Maps for Covid testing,19.0507659,14z/data=!3m1!4b1?hl=en&authuser=0 (always call before you leave for hours and to make sure they are still in business)
A4 Google Maps for Medical Clinic,19.0507659,14z/data=!3m1!4b1?hl=en&authuser=0 (always call before you leave for hours and to make sure they are still in business)
A5 The official tourist information office

Posted by
611 posts

This is a place where you can order the Binax NOW proctored tests that you do yourself. Very convenient, IME. These are accepted for returning to the US.

Posted by
16 posts

Ditto on the Binax NOW proctored test. There are three of us going to Ireland in June and I am ordering a six pack to take with us, cost $25 a test. It is suggested to take extra in case you screw one up. I don't want to deal with having to be in a specific place at a specific time to take a test. Or show up at Dublin airport even earlier than 3 hours prior to take a test. I want to do the test in the comfort of my hotel on my schedule. I may even take a standard Binax NOW test that I have and take it prior to the proctored test so there is no surprise.

Posted by
5116 posts

I did want to add a short caveat on the Binax proctored test. It is important when you are packing that you provide some sort of protection around the box in your luggage. My first experience, and it has been reported by others on the forum, was that my box got pretty smashed in my carryon over the course of my trip. My second trip, I planned a little better. I found that two Binax tests fit perfectly in a Sterlite plastic tray that measured 9 1/4 inches by 6 1/2 inches by 2 1/8 inches that I bought at Walmart. I have seen them at Staples as well. Just a simple desk organizer tray. I put a piece of cardboard over the top and some strapping tape around the whole thing. Problem solved.

It does take up some space in your luggage. However, when I read of people testing positive and not knowing how to access a testing center for that official test to get the certificate of recovery started, I think it is space that is worthwhile.

Posted by
1796 posts

Not to be sacrilegious but I have had good success with getting information on testing locations on TripAdvisor. I prefer letting someone else do the test, when possible, to doing a test myself, although I know that process has its place and usefulness.

I also like having this info ahead of time. Some places do require an online appointment (and payment) ahead and can be busy.

Posted by
902 posts

Carol - just wanted to thank you for your info. It helped me on my future trip in Edinburgh next month.

You have been so helpful on the forum to everyone …….whatever they are asking, plus your kindness in helping 🙂

Posted by
873 posts

In case anyone needs to get their test in Berlin, there are Covid testing booths doing free antigen tests on almost every corner. I kind of wish we would have flown home from there, because in Stockholm, the same tests were $30-40/person.

Posted by
3 posts

One more recommendation for the Binax Now test, although I agree with Carol that the boxes are cumbersome to pack. It was worth the convenience and the online testing process was easy. I received partial reimbursement from my health insurance company, which mitigates the cost (since you have to buy six tests at a cost of $150.00 plus shipping.)

Posted by
2 posts

If you plan to get a test at a local lab or pharmacy, check local holidays/closing days well ahead of time. (We screwed up when our normal testing day turned out to be a national holiday, when all pharmacies are closed.)

Posted by
1725 posts

After a month of travel, our remaining four BinaxNOW tests were crushed in our luggage. I don’t think it’s worth the hassle/space in your luggage to take them. As long as Americans are still required to test before coming home, there will be pharmacies to get tested especially as Americans are a large part of the tourism industry in Europe. Plus we found the initial test taking to be confusing. I will take the gov’t issued tests to self-test (removed from the packaging) so we don’t have any surprises along the way.

Posted by
5 posts

Just wanted share our experience as we wrap our RS Germany/Switzerland Austria tour. This was our last full day in Vienna. Our most excellent guide, himself just getting back on tour and shaking off Covid Rust as he called it, worked with our local guide to find a brick and mortar testing site in Vienna. I'm not aware of anyone that went with a remotely proctored test.
The test site was a few modular buildings and open this day , Sunday , also a holiday weekend in Vienna. We walked to the site as a group after our most excellent tour of the "Third Man Museum". We waited in line as group, showed our passports(or in my case a picture of the passport). Antigen test one nostril swab. The nasal swabbing was stand up , wide open, outside of the building. We then waited and one by one the technician brought out the paper results and handed to each. We snapped a photo of the page just for back up. The results were not provided electronically. It was free and we were blessed to all test negative. Your mileage will vary of course , just wanted to pass along this one tours experience in Vienna after 14 days of tour.