I spent $200 more on COVID-19 tests than on flights for my vacation to Greece – but it was still worth it

Selfie of Insider's Kate Duffy holding passport and negative COVID-19 test
Insider's Kate Duffy holding her passport and negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test.
  • I had to pay for five COVID-19 tests to go on a week-long vacation to Greece this summer.
  • Overall, I spent nearly $500 on the tests, which I took before, during, and after my trip.
  • This was $200 more than the $300 return flight to Greece.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.
I went on a week's vacation to the Greek island of Santorini and was met with five expensive COVID-19 tests that cost more than the $300 flights.
Passengers queuing up to check their suitcases in before departure in Gatwick Airport
Passengers queuing up to check their suitcases in before departure in Gatwick Airport.

I travelled from Gatwick airport in London to Thira airport in Santorini.

You must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of full vaccination to enter Greece.
Cliff coastline of Fira, the capital city of Santorini, Greece.
Coastline of Fira, the capital city of Santorini, Greece.

Greek authorities require arrivals to take a COVID-19 test three days before they travel there, the UK government website says. 

These tests have to be done privately, not through the UK's National Health Service (NHS), so people have to pay for them.

People from the UK, who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine, don't need to test to enter Greece. They just have to show proof of of being fully vaccinated at least 14 days before their trip.

 

I took a rapid antigen test, which cost $42, within 48 hours of arriving in Santorini and tested negative.
Insider's Kate Duffy waiting in an airport queue
Insider's Kate Duffy waiting in line to board the aircraft.

There was also the option to take a PCR test 72 hours before arrival — this test costs around £75 ($105).

Having caught COVID-19 a week before my first vaccine appointment and one month before my flight to Santorini, I wasn't able to get the first shot in time for my vacation.

After showing my negative test result to airport staff, I got a slip of paper indicating I was safe to travel.
Picture of passport and slip of paper saying "good to travel" after showing my COVID-19 test
UK passport and slip of paper indicating a passenger tested negative with COVID-19.
Proof of a negative test meant I could board the flight and enter Greece.
Picture of an EasyJet plane in London Gatwick Airport
Leaving Gatwick Airport, London, on an EasyJet flight to Greece.
When I arrived in Santorini airport, I had to stand in line to show the authorities my $42 negative COVID-19 test and a passenger locator form for contact tracing.
Poster showing passengers that must present a negative COVID test to airport authorities
Posters around Santorini airport instructed people to get their COVID-19 test results or vaccination-status certificates ready to show.
Unexpectedly, I was tested for COVID-19 again at the airport. This time, the test was free.
The front of Santorini airport.
Departures at Santorini airport.

One person from every group on the flight had to have a free rapid antigen test at the airport. I got my negative result within five minutes and was free to go.

Six days into my chilled vacation, I had to pay $117 for a PCR test to return to the UK.
Coastline of Fira, the capital city of Santorini, Greece.
The coastline of Fira, the capital city of Santorini, Greece.

I had to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of landing in the UK.

My $117 COVID-19 test in Santorini got me onto an empty plane back to London.
A selfie of Insider's Kate Duffy sat on an empty plane
Insider's Kate Duffy sat on an empty plane back to the UK.
As soon as I arrived in the UK, I had to isolate for 10 days and pay $208 for COVID-19 PCR tests on day two and day eight of quarantine.
The COVID-19 test center in London where Insider's Kate Duffy went to get tested.
The COVID-19 test center in London, where Insider's Kate Duffy went to get tested.

The UK currently classes countries as green, amber, and red on its traffic light system, spawned from the pandemic. Green countries are deemed safer to travel to compared to red countries, therefore they have less restrictions.

Most of the rules depends on whether you're fully vaccinated.

Greece is classed as amber. This means people traveling back to the UK must quarantine for 10 days when they return.

Fully vaccinated travelers don't need to quarantine, the UK government announced in July. They still have to take a COVID-19 test on or before day two of their return.

I went to the test center and took my first PCR test in the morning of day two. I received a certificate of my negative result by 6pm the same day.
Selfie of Insider's Kate Duffy holding a COVID-19 test tube
First day of COVID-19 testing in quarantine.
I chose to pay another $105 for a test on Day 5, which allowed me to come out of isolation so long as I tested negative. This is called the Test to Release scheme.
Selfie of Insider's Kate Duffy holding COVID-19 test tube
An optional, second test on day five.
"Test to Release" is optional and cuts the quarantine period in half, but I still had to take a test on day eight.
Test tube for COVID-19 test
Test to Release COVID-19 test tube for day five.
I had my sixth and final PCR test on day eight and tested negative. Overall, the three quarantine tests after my vacation cost $312.
Picture of COVID-19 test tube
Final COVID-19 test on day eight.
The five COVID-19 tests, totalling $470, were more expensive than the $300 return flights to Santorini, but it was still worth the money after such a turbulent year!
Sunset in Santorini
Sunset in Santorini.
Read the original article on Business Insider

Comments are closed.