If you are planning to travel, it is important to ensure that you are not carrying COVID-19. This guide explores why a PCR test is the best option. 

Are you planning to travel in the near future? If so, then you do need to be aware of the continued danger from COVID-19. While the situation surrounding the coronavirus is beginning to rapidly improve due to the widespread use and availability of vaccinations, individuals must still be aware of the danger of spreading the disease. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you are not carrying COVID-19 before you travel. 

Should You Get A PCR Test Before You Travel?

You should complete a PCR test before you travel. In some cases, this will be a legal requirement from a local government to prevent the risk of a breakout in a local area. Some local states also have their own requirements when it comes to testing for COVID-19. A PCR test can accurately check whether you are carrying COVID-19, regardless of whether you are showing signs or symptoms. 

If you are showing symptoms such as a fever or shortness of breath, it is recommended that you complete a PCR test before you travel. You may also want to complete a PCR test even if you are not symptomatic. Do be aware that the majority of people who test positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic and will remain so for the full period where they are contagious. 

Why Should You Use A PCR Test Before You Travel Instead Of An Antigen Test?

You can use an antigen test before you travel. However, it is also recommended that you complete a PCR test as well. The reason for this is that PCR tests are considered to be the gold standard by professionals and governments for identifying whether someone is carrying COVID-19. 

While antigen tests can check for the virus, they do not provide the same level of accuracy as a PCR. One report suggests that PCR tests will provide an accurate result more than 97% of the time with some studies suggesting that this could be closer to 99%. In contrast, a study in 2021 suggested that antigen tests correctly identify the virus 78.9% of the time and correctly identify people who are negative 97.1% of the time. This means that an antigen test is more likely to provide a false negative compared to a false positive. It is one of the main reasons why it is recommended that a PCR test is completed before you travel. 

Should You Take Multiple PCR Tests?

Some governments do advise that you arrange to take at least two PCR tests when traveling. The first should be taken no more than 24 hours before you travel and the second should be taken once you reach your destination. The reason for this is due to the latency period of the virus. There is a certain amount of time when you are carrying the virus but a PCR test may not accurately provide a positive result. This will usually be the case if you test the same day that you came in contact with the virus. However, do note that it is possible to test positive with a PCR test if you are asymptomatic. 

Do You Need To Complete A PCR Test If You Are Vaccinated?

It is still advised that you complete a PCR test even if you are vaccinated. This is particularly important if you are showing symptoms that are associated with COVID-19 such as a fever or shortness of breath. It is important to note that it is still possible to become infected with the virus if you are vaccinated although you are less likely to be contagious and your symptoms are more likely to be milder. There are also conflicting reports about how long a vaccination will provide protection from COVID-19. This is why governments are providing several booster vaccinations. This is also the reason why governments like the US are requiring negative tests for individuals planning to fly into the country, even if they are fully vaccinated. This was a requirement as late as October 2021

It is important to get a PCR test before you travel. This is true regardless of whether you are staying in the country or traveling to an international location. A PCR test will provide peace of mind that you are not carrying COVID-19 and may also be a legal requirement depending on your travel plans. You should always check this before booking a trip.