What you need to know about COVID PCR travel testing and Quarantines
Confused about where you can travel to, the COVID testing regulations & quarantines?
It is all very confusing, even for us travel experts to keep up to date on what is now required when travelling on holiday. With different countries’ regulations changing daily, it’s a minefield out there and can be quite daunting if you‘re looking for an international getaway. But never fear! We at Pentravel have your back. We can guide you along the process, offering advice and tips about where to go and what is required.
If you are looking to leave South African borders and venture overseas somewhere in the next few months, here are our tips on where you can travel to and how COVID PCR testing works.
Firstly, most of the countries that are allowing South Africans to their shores, are insisting on travellers having a negative PCR COVID test no older than 48– or 72–hrs (country depending).
Pentravel can advise you of which countries these are and refer you to several nationwide labs we have partnered with. The cost of the test is R850 per person, and we will try and guide you as to the best time to get this test done, as it is dependent on your arrival time in your destination. The swab is normally taken from your nose or throat and does not take much time. Just keep dreaming about lying on that beach drinking cocktails! You’re in your happy place now…
Travel insurance is also now required by most countries. Pentravel will advise you of this and can offer you the best options available.
You will need a negative PCR test on arrival back in South Africa, after your well-deserved break. But where would you get one done overseas? Depending on your destination, we will guide you as to where you can get your test done before your return to South Africa.
Let us take Zanzibar as an example. The Spice Island is the ideal quick getaway being only a 4–hour direct flight from Johannesburg and is open to South African travellers. We can guide you to a variety of hotels that offer in–house testing, where a nurse will come to the hotel and test you 3 days before departure and your results will get sent to the hotel. The costs vary between USD120 – USD150 (R1,759 – R2,199 at the time of writing this article) per person. If your resort of choice does not offer testing in–house, then we can arrange for the hotel to have a transfer collect you and take you to one of the closest local or private clinics, and then have the result sent to the hotel before departure. Costs for the test at these clinics vary between USD80 – USD120 (R1,172 – R1,759 at the time of writing this article) and you will also need to factor in the cost of the transfer.
Another great option for South Africans who want to get away now, is the Maldives. These beautiful islands are naturally social distancing friendly, with only one resort per island. We can guide you here on a variety of resorts that offer in–house testing. Costs also vary between USD120 – USD150 (R1,759 – R2,199 at the time of writing this article) with some 5–star resorts offering the service completely free of charge. In–house testing is the way forward and we hope more resorts worldwide will offer this service in order not to interrupt travellers’ holidays.
Now let’s talk quarantine. There are several countries that will allow South Africans entry, as long as you book into their government quarantine facilities. These will obviously differ from country to country, however, in most cases you will be bound to your hotel room for around 14 days, before being able to enter the country as such. We will refer you to the local government authority should you need or want to travel to any of those destinations.
While we wait for the world to open up, and the rules and regulations continue to change, it’s best to always check in with your friendly travel agents at Pentravel, and let our family look after yours.