How To Find Your Local Test Pod In The United Kingdom: Useful Tips

Since the emergence of coronavirus took us by storm at the beginning of 2020, almost all countries in the world kept enforcing rules constraining us in our homes, making us follow all sorts of steps when going out to reduce the risk of getting infected. At some point, going out to your favorite place for a nice hot cup of tea or coffee was unimaginable, and traveling was close to impossible. The UK was no different, and still is to some extent, but luckily the rules have been loosened up a bit after vaccines were introduced. Still, though, whether you are a citizen of the UK thinking about traveling or working on reducing self-isolation time or are on the other side planning to visit here, you’ll need accurate government-approved PCR tests. This text will assist you with finding the test pods nearest to you in the UK and getting acquainted with the current rules regarding testing in the UK.

Current Travel Rules

The UK just started changing its rules for traveling from abroad. They most recently used a system of red, amber, and green light traffic systems for countries either considered safe, less safe, or unsafe to travel from but are now changing to a more simplified system. Starting October 4th, there will be only a single red list on one side and the rest of the world on the other. Everyone coming from a country that isn’t on the red list will have to follow a set of travel measures in order to visit. 

If you are fully vaccinated (with the UK approved vaccines) at least 14 days before visiting the United Kingdom, you must:

  • Book (and pay) for a test to be taken when you arrive (day 2 test)
  • Fill out a form for passenger location (48 hours before you arrive)
  • Take a covid test before or on the 2nd day of arrival to the UK

If you are not fully vaccinated, you will need to take a pre-departure test before traveling here and quarantine for 10 days at the place you’re staying in the UK. You will also need to cover all the steps mentioned for the fully vaccinated travelers. 

Private PCR Tests

If you decide to get a private PCR or lateral flow test or buy a home testing kit, you should check if they are approved by the government. Your test results will only be accepted if whoever provides them has finished a UKAS accreditation process. 

You can order these tests online, make an appointment at a local approved clinic or drive-in testing pod. You can also lookup airlines and holidays companies that provide free or low-cost testing for their customers. Most will cost from 40-80£, and one of these companies, called On the Beach, offers a free PCR and antigen test for customers traveling to certain countries. 

You can also check if there are private testing stations near the place you are or will be staying during your visit. Companies like Prenetics offer you an online overview of the locations where you can find their Project Screen’s walk-up Covid testing stations; beware that some of the companies in the UK offering cheap tests are overwhelmed by requests and probably won’t deliver the results as fast as they promise. 

COVID Rules (Dos And Don’ts)

While the rules have been eased all across the country lately (masks are no longer required by law but still remain a recommendation), some places will still expect you to follow certain regulations. You’ll still have to maintain a social distance of 1m+ in some places like hospitals or passport control areas. Also, in some transports and shops you’ll be required to wear a mask, so always have it somewhere on you. This relaxed sort of plan is their plan A, but if it doesn’t work and the number of infected keeps rising, they have a plan B in store with much stricter regulations, so if you’re deciding on visiting, recheck if the situation hasn’t changed. 

Hopefully, this worldwide situation won’t last much longer, but we are all morally obligated to be as careful as possible. Also, with all the rules everyone keeps changing, getting yourself informed as much as you can is a must if you think about traveling. It will both save you from wasting your valuable time and ensure both your and the safety of others. We hope this text was informative enough, but if there’s something you feel we haven’t covered, you shouldn’t hesitate and explore a bit further to make sure you get everything right for your next trip. Stay safe and enjoy the UK! 

Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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