With international borders opening first for those in New South Wales, and all of us crying over the scenes of families reunited at the airport this week, we’re all desperate to get ourselves back on a plane – whether it’s to see loved ones or finally get back to the slopes.
One of Australia’s best-loved travel agents, Blue Powder Tours, have now #pivoted in a post-COVID world to organise pre-departure COVID tests for every traveller looking to leave the country after November 14.
“In June last year, unable to work as a travel agent, I started working part time with a diagnostic lab delivering COVID self-tests kits to incapacitated patients all over Sydney,” Michael from Blue Powder Tours tells us.
“I recruited all my Blue Powder staff and a few other travel industry orphans – and all of a sudden we had a team of 12 couriers and admin staff servicing every suburb in Sydney with home testing tests.”
And so an idea was born, coming up with the easiest possible way to get your test requirements ticked off, and with several options to suit every kind of traveller.
We’ve unpacked – pun intended- everything you need to know about the new requirements and the tests to match, so that you’re well-informed and ready to book in.
Why you need a pre-departure COVID test?
All countries now have vaccination requirements, entry restrictions and requirements for compulsory managed quarantine – many of which can change quite rapidly. Each airline also has requirements, which can make things quite complicated when it comes to abiding by all of the above.
Thankfully, the Blue Powder Tours team are experienced in travel and know how important good planning is to ensure a stress-free start to a trip. That’s why they have developed this service to ensure you can tick off one of the key elements at check-in with your airline – proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from a laboratory that has been taken within 48 or 72 hours of departure.
This isn’t like the free COVID tests that we’ve been getting throughout the pandemic. The ones required for travel are provided by private pathology clinics only; free testing clinics don’t provide the approved pathology tests or dated reports that meet airline and Government travel requirements.
Why does it cost money?
The cost of a COVID-19 PCR or RT-PCR test for travel is at the expense of the traveller and not covered by Medicare. This is because it’s a specialised molecular test and requires complex laboratory equipment and trained technicians; it’s also turned around on the same day, or the next day, to ensure you have it in time for your flight.
Blue Powder Tours have partnered with Medlab, a leading diagnostic lab for the PCR test results, ensuring that fast turnaround and reliable, certifiable PCR results. They’re accepted worldwide as the most accurate and best test for COVID.
Costs via Covidtest.com.au are $115 per person for the drive-thru service, or $145 per person for the home delivery.
Melbourne clinics open next week and are $150 for drive thru and $198 for home testing.
What service would I use?
The drive-thru clinic locations are all over Sydney, and you can opt for your choice of location when booking in. This is best for those who are organised and have the time to go and get a test the day prior to travelling.
For those who don’t have the time, have kids in tow or are too busy trying to weigh their ski bag, the at-home delivery option is great for doing the PCR test in the comfort of your own home or office. A fully qualified pathology collector who will come to you in the Sydney metropolitan area.
And while they’re currently on offer just in Sydney and in Melbourne from next week, the tests will soon roll out to other states as soon as they also open up to international travellers.
What will i get out of it?
Plus a results certificate from your test that you should that you should carry along with your vaccination certificate with you while travelling.
And yes, you’ll still need to give evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result even if you’d had a COVID-19 vaccine.