- 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.
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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.
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.
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. Proof of a negative test meant I could board the flight and enter 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. Unexpectedly, I was tested for COVID-19 again at the airport. This time, the test was free.
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.
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. 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 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. 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. "Test to Release" is optional and cuts the quarantine period in half, but I still had to take a test on day eight. I had my sixth and final PCR test on day eight and tested negative. Overall, the three quarantine tests after my vacation cost $312. 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!