Pappillon - I'm talking about the Day 2 tests required by the UK.
When lateral flow antigen tests were sufficient for Day 2 tests in the UK, you could order one for delivery to your hotel (or AirBnB or wherever else you'd be staying) and complete your testing requirements for 25-30GBP.
Now, PCR tests are required. The basic PCR tests would only cost about 50-60GBP, depending on provider. But those tests would also likely involve a turnaround time of at least 48 hours for results, during which time you'd have to isolate in your room and not go out.
Let's assume you don't want to spend the first 2 days of your 10 day vacation isolating in your hotel room (as I do not). I've looked in to and contacted a few different testing providers who can deliver quicker results, but these faster turnaround times also involve additional expense. Want your PCR results within 5 hours? 150GBP. By midnight same day? 80GBP. That does not include the additional 30GBP lab fee, since these faster tests require physically going in to a lab location for samples to be taken (as opposed to a self-administered, at-home PCR kit).
I had a line item for all testing/health pass expenses for our upcoming trip, and it included:
- 30GBP pp for Day 2 lateral flow antigen tests upon arrival in UK (could get em cheaper but I round my budgets up) = 60GBP
- 36Euro pp for French Health Pass
- 30GBP pp for Day 2 lateral flow antigen tests upon return to UK from France
- 30GBP pp pre-departure tests for US (and it wasn't even certain this would involve added expense. Because we depart from the USA 5 days after returning to the UK from France, representatives from 2 different testing providers told me that as long as we went in to a lab for an in-person Day 2 antigen test, they could also use that same test to provide us with a fit-to-fly certificate to fly back to the USA as it would fall on the 3-day mark).
So at most 180GBP in tests, possibly even just 120GBP, plus 72Euro for the Pass Sanitaire.
In the span of a few days, everything changed.
- 80GBP pp for same day PCR results so we only lose Day 0 to isolation, +30GBP pp lab fee.
- TBD GBP for pre departure to France (no clarity whether it's PCR only, or antigen or what)
- 36Euro Health Pass
- 80GBP pp for another round of same day PCR tests so we only lose 1 more day to isolation, +30 pp lab fee.
- TBD GBP pre departure tests for US (uncertain at this point whether antigen tests would suffice, or more expensive PCR tests are required so we're looking at either 30GBP or 100GBP more).
And that doesn't include any of the costs of isolation. Sure, we had that hotel already. But now it's a lost day, rather than a vacation day. Further, because of the isolation requirements we can no longer double dip on tests (the post-France Day 2 UK test can't double as the 3-Day USA pre departure).
+/- 150GBP in testing fees turned in to +/- 500GBP, very quickly. Even cutting out the France portion entirely (which is what I expect we'll be doing, if the trip proceeds) and thereby taking fewer tests still results in total fees well above what we'd originally anticipated under a pre-omicron, lateral flow antigen-eligible trip.
But hey, what's a vacation without some splurging and some unanticipated hiccups? I was just hoping it'd be on a last minute show ticket or fancy dinner, and not covid tests :P