How to Book a PCR Test for Travel

As the world collectively recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, safeguarding the health of everybody has become a key priority in order to avoid further infections and another lockdown.

The effort of preventing the spread of infection isn’t limited to domestic life, it also applies when it comes to travelling overseas. Depending on where you visit, you may need to book a PCR test. Now you may be wondering, what is a PCR test, or you may want to know how to book a PCR test for travel, in this article, we at Official Rapid Tests have all the answers you need.

What is a PCR test

Created in the 1980’s, PCR stands for ‘Polymerase Chain Reaction’ which is a common technique used in laboratories for research and clinical purposes. PCR’s amplify or copy small segments of genetic material.

Using COVID-19 PCR kits as an example, they use a ‘primer’ which is a strand of DNA sequence that matches and amplifies a strand of the virus in question if detected, in this case SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

If the sample provided by the testee is positive, it means the primer within the test kit found and reacted with the virus from the testee’s body, amplifying the primer sequence which results in a positive test from an infected individual.

Negative tests occur when the testee is not infected at all, resulting in the primer from the test kit having nothing to amplify. On the other hand, false negative tests can occur, this is when a testee is newly infected, but their sample does not contain enough genetic material for the primer to react.

False positive test can also occur at a much rarer rate, sometimes due to outside factors such as improper preparation before a test like not cleaning the surface it will be used on. For a deeper insight into the science of PCR click here. Read on to find out how to book a PCR test.

How to book a PCR test

With all the information we provided previously, you may be anxious to know ‘how do I book a PCR test?’ We have you covered. With over 120 clinics nationwide, it’s never been easier to book a PCR test.

If you want to know how to book a PCR test online or how to book a PCR test for travel, it’s as simple as heading over to our website.

We are frequently asked ‘how to book a PCR test near me?’ Well, all you need to do is simply click this link and enter your address to find your nearest test centre, then proceed to book your test.

If you’d like to book a PCR test for travel, simply take our questionnaire, whether you are entering or leaving the UK. We would also recommend that before even booking your tickets to travel, you become familiar with the government guidelines on travel.

Please note that whether you feel ill or not, taking a test is a requirement to ensure the safety of other passengers. Unless you have a medical exemption clarified by your doctor, the likelihood is you will not be allowed to travel abroad without taking a test.

How to do a PCR Test

If you decide to take your PCR test at home, after ordering and receiving your test kit follow these guidelines on how to take a PCR test:

  1. Clean your hands with sanitizer, or wash your hands with soap and blow your nose.
  2. Clean the surface your test kit will be on, lay all the test materials on the surface once it is dry.
  3. Open your mouth and rub the swab over both your tonsils (or where they were) at the back of your throat. Do this 4 times on each side.
  4. insert the same swab inside your nose (about 2.5cm up or until you feel some resistance) and wipe the inside of your nose.
  5. Put the swab facing down into the tube and screw the lid tight.
  6. Put the tube in the bag provided.
  7. When posting the used kit, make sure to only post it in a Royal Mail Priority postbox which are for the sole purpose of receiving and delivering test kits.

If you are in need of booking a PCR test for travel, we recommend you take a read of our blog which provides extra information when it comes to a ‘fit to fly PCR test’.

Antigen testing kits

Antigen test kits are not the same as a PCR test kit. As we mentioned earlier, PCR test kits use a primer (a particular strand of DNA of the subject being looked for) to ascertain whether the testee is infected. Whereas Antigen test kits use lab-made antibodies to search for antigens from the COVID-19 Virus.

Antigen testing kits have become a common method in establishing whether or not the testee has COVID. This is because antigen testing kits can be done from home, with results made apparent in a much shorter frame of time.

As opposed to PCR test kits that provide results in 24 hours (due to them being tested in labs), antigen kits provide results in 15 minutes. The method of testing follows a simple procedure, different to the PCR method. The method for taking a rapid antigen test:

(Not all rapid antigen tests are the same. E.g. some test kits come with the tube and liquid in separate parts. So, always read the instructions on the box or leaflet before you do the test.)

Start by washing your hands with soap or clean with sanitizer, then grabbing a watch or timer.

In the test kit, there should be a:

  • White strip which shows you the test result
  • A long stick with 1 soft end (swab)
  • A tube with liquid inside
  • A lid for the tube

When taking the test, make sure to:

  1. Take the long stick (swab) out of the packet. Do not touch the soft part at the end of the stick.
  2. Put the soft part of the stick up your nose.
  3. Put it all the way up until you feel it touch the back of your nose.
  4. Rotate the swab around the inside of your nose.
  5. Count to 15 slowly.
  6. When the stick is in your nose, you can press on the side of your nose to ensure the swab has made proper contact.
  7. Repeat the process in the other nostril with the same swab you used initially.
  8. When you are done, put the stick into the tube.
  9. Stir the stick in the tube 10 times.
  10. Gently squeeze the sides of the tube together 10 times.
  11. Take the stick out of the tube.
  12. Put the cap tightly on the tube.
  13. Squeeze 3 or 4 drops of liquid onto the tiny circle on your white strip.
  14. Set your timer or watch to the time that the box says (this could be 10, 15 or 20 minutes).
  15. When the time is up, check the strip to see what it says. Only read the strip at that time and not later. It might be incorrect then.

Do you need an antigen test kit? Our website provides these test kits for you. Want to know some more information about antigen test kits? Our blog contains all the relevant information that you need.

Book your test today

Official Rapid Tests is a trusted global supplier for Covid testing. We are the highest-rated UK Government listed provider on Trustindex.

All Official Rapid Tests are verified by the EU and the UK Government. We work with qualified front line doctors and tech experts to come up with the most convenient testing solutions for travel. We blend technology and medical expertise to offer the fastest and most convenient PCR testing service on the market.

If you are not sure which Covid test you may need, take our Quiz on our webpage here, and this will tell you which type of Covid test is suitable based on your travel requirements.

Within this article, we hope to provided valuable information for your travelling needs whilst answering the question ‘how to book a PCR test for travel’.

Find out more about Official Rapid Tests by browsing our website here.

We have over 120 clinics nationwide where you can get a Covid test. Find your nearest test centre by clicking here.

We are open 24/7, seven days a week.

Read more articles on travelling and Covid tests on our blog here.

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