Have you been dreaming of that next getaway, that feeling of warm air hitting your face as you step off the plane, cocktails by the pool…but all this testing malarky has left you in a spin?
You’re not alone! It can be hard to know what tests you need and what the process is for completing them. Travelling may be a little different than what we’re used to, but believe us when we say a couple tests here and there are worth that gorgeous getaway in the sun!
And, thanks to testing requirements having been recently eased for those who are fully vaccinated, it could be a lot simpler to go on holiday than you think!
Cheaper than you think
If you didn’t already know, the great thing about travelling with us is that we’re part of TUI, which means we have amazing discounted testing packages available.
TUI have teamed up with testing provider Chronomics to provide tests from just £20 per person – a massive deduction in price in comparison to other providers!
Although other testing providers are available, our team have personally tried and tested Chronomics for themselves and we’re confident their process is the simplest way to secure your tests. For that reason, the information to follow will be based around Chronomics.
Easier than you think
Once you’ve booked your holiday, you’ll be able to book your testing packages. You simply need to visit TUI’s Chronomic’s site, where you’ll need to input your booking number and a few other details – and voila! You’ll be given all the package options to choose from.
What are the packages – and their costs?
The package you need and the cost of your tests all depends on these things –
- The destination you’re travelling to
- When you’re travelling
- Your vaccination status
- The UK country you live in
Those who are fully vaccinated will need fewer tests – when you return, you’ll only need to complete a lateral flow test. If you’re unvaccinated, you will still need to purchase a PCR testing package for your return.
The packages are –
Fit to Fly Tests For Departure Flight
- Fit to Fly PCR – £40 per person
- Fit to Fly Rapid Antigen – £10 per person
- None – your destination country does not require a test
Not sure if you need these? Check the FCDO website to find out if your chosen destination requires you to have a test before you depart.
UK Return Tests
If you’re vaccinated, you’ll only need a lateral flow test package – £20 per person
– 1 x UK return pre-departure Rapid Antigen (lateral flow)
If you’re unvaccinated, you’ll need a Return PCR test package – £50 per person
– 1 x UK return pre-departure Rapid Antigen (Lateral Flow)
– 2 x Inbound PCR tests for Day 2 and Day 8 back in the UK
When should I book my tests?
You can book your tests any time after you’ve booked your holiday, but we recommend booking them two weeks before your departure date. The latest you can book tests is –
- UK return test packages with no fit to fly test, or with an antigen (rapid flow) fit to fly test is by 12pm 5 days before your holiday is due to begin.
- UK return test packages with a PCR fit to fly test is by 12pm 7 days before your holiday is due to begin.
We also recommend you use Google chrome, not safari, when you’re using the Chronomics site.
How does it all work?
Fit to Fly Tests
Once you’ve chosen and paid for your desired testing package, you’ll get a confirmation email, and will also be able to log into your Chronomics account and see the status of your tests on your own personal dashboard.
Then, it’s simply a case of waiting for your tests to be delivered to your door! You’ll get an email, text, and a notification on your dashboard alerting you that your tests are on their way to you. You’ll then get a text and email on the day of delivery, giving you a specific delivery time within a one hour time slot, so you can make sure you’ll be in to accept them.
Your tests usually arrive three days prior to your departure date, which gives you plenty of time to perform the test and await your results.
If you’ve opted for a rapid lateral flow Fit to Fly test, you simply need to check how many hours your test needs to be performed within, in relation to your departure/arrival time in your holiday country. With Greece for example, your rapid antigen test needs to have been performed within 48 hours before your arrival into Greece.
With the rapid tests, you just do your test at home, and upload a photo of your negative test result to your Chronomics dashboard. All instructions on how to do this will be printed on the box your test arrives in – it’s really straight forward and goes through everything step by step! Once you’ve uploaded your photo, you’ll usually get an email back pretty promptly (within the hour) informing you your photo has been accepted and a document containing proof of your negative result will be included. This is what you then show when you arrive at the airport of your holiday country.
The same goes if you need a PCR Fit to Fly test – you just need to check whether your test needs to be performed within a 48/72 hour window prior to your departure/arrival, and do the test accordingly. With the PCR tests however, these need to be sent back to the lab to get an accurate result. So, you simply perform the test at home – all instructions on how to do this correctly are included on the box the test comes in – then you just need to seal it all up back in it’s box, and place it in the pre-paid return bag you get. You then need to drop this off at a designated TUI drop-off store – you can find a list of all the TUI shops offering this service here. It’s recommended that you deliver your sample to your chosen TUI store before 2pm.
And that’s it! Your test will be picked up from the store and taken to a lab, where your result will be confirmed and emailed back to you. From our experience, this process has been very quick – with test results coming back around 24 hours (sometimes less!) after you initially dropped them off. You’ll receive an email informing you your results are in, which you can then click through to see yourself and download a PDF file of your document results. This is what you then show at the airport of your holiday country, as proof of being negative.
UK Return Tests
When it comes to returning home, you currently need to complete a Fit to Fly rapid antigen test prior to entering the UK. Your rapid tests will be sent out to you around three days before your departure, so you can pack them safely in your suitcase.
Then, before you come home (up to 72 hours before your flight home departs) simply perform the test in the comfort of your hotel room, and send in your result in the same way mentioned above for the Fit to Fly rapid test, by uploading a photo. You’ll get confirmation of your result emailed back to you, with a PDF document that you can then download or screenshot to show at the airport on your return home. It’s really easy!
Once home, you’ll then have your Day 2 PCR test posted out to your home address. You just need to follow the instructions on the box to complete your swab, then package it back up in it’s box as instructed, pop it in the bag supplied and drop it off at either a designated TUI store or pop it in your local Royal Mail Priority Post Box.
If you are currently not vaccinated, and need to isolate for 10 days upon your return, your Day 8 test will be posted out to you a week after your return. You then need to complete this at home and pop it in your local Royal Mail Priority Post Box. Then, if negative, you’ve got two more days of isolating and you’re all done!
How to complete the tests
If you’re still unsure how to exactly complete the tests at home, these handy videos will help –
Antigen (rapid) tests
Are there any testing exceptions?
The simple answer is yes – but every country is different, so you need to research and follow the Foreign Travel Advice for the country you’re going to. For example with Greece, you can currently enter the country if you fulfill the following criteria –
- To have completed a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before arrival into Greece.
- Proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test, undertaking within the 72 hour period before arrival into Greece, OR
- Proof of a negative Covid-19 rapid antigen test from an authorised laboratory (not an NHS test), undertaken within the 48 hour period before your arrival into Greece, OR
- Proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least 14 days before travel OR
- Proof of recovery from Covid-19 – evidence of a positive Covid-19 PCR test result taken between 30 to 180 days of your travel dates
So as you can see, testing isn’t the only way you can gain access to the country – vaccination proof or proof of recovery are also accepted. If you fall into any of these categories and your destination is allowing them, then you’ll save yourself a few bob on the costs of Fit to Fly tests! You will however still need a UK Return test package.
What about forms?
Most countries are also requiring you to fill out a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) as well as proof of your negative tests – so make sure you don’t forget to complete these. They don’t take long – it’s usually just your general information, the dates you will be entering and leaving, and the hotel or place you will be staying in for the duration of your holiday.
Time to book?
We hope this guide has given you all the information you need to feel comfortable booking your next holiday. Although there may seem like a lot to it, when you break it down step-by-step, the process is really easy and straightforward. It’s well worth it to get away!
There’s still plenty of amazing deals to be had on last minute summer escapes, so take a look at today’s top deals and bag yourself some sunshine!