Antigen (lateral flow) COVID-19 tests for travel

With several countries now accepting antigen (lateral flow) COVID-19 tests for travel, we've got everything you need to know about getting yours sorted.

Some countries and airlines are now accepting antigen tests as acceptable proof that you're fit to travel, and the Government has announced that from 24 October, antigen Day 2 tests will accepted for fully vaccinated arrivals. These lateral flow tests are cheaper and faster than standard PCR tests, but with so many on the market at the moment, it can be tricky to find the right one that's going to get the job done for you. Let's get you up to speed on everything you need to know.

We'll be adding lateral flow day 2 tests to our comparison as soon as test providers start marketing them.

Use the filters to find the right test for you. Commissions affect the default sort order
Name Product Test purpose Test type Test location Price (from) Key benefits
VERIFIED
Project Screen Lateral Flow Home Fit to Fly Test – results in 20 mins
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£25
VERIFIED
Dante Lab Lateral Flow Fit to Fly & General Testing Kit
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£20
VERIFIED
Official Rapid Tests COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test
Pre-departure from the UK, Pre-departure to return
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£29
VERIFIED
Corona Test Centre Fit to Fly Antigen Test
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£45
Covid Smart Antigen Test for International Travel
VERIFIED
Covid Smart Antigen Test for International Travel
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Clinic, Home
£35
VERIFIED
Kurix Health Lateral Flow Antigen Fit to Fly & General Testing Home Test Kit
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£20
VERIFIED
Harley Medic International Fit to Fly Antigen Test
Pre-departure from the UK, Pre-departure to return
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£29
VERIFIED
Project Screen Remote Lateral Flow Test to Return to England
Pre-departure to return
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£30
VERIFIED
ExpressTest Pre-return to the UK Antigen Test
Pre-departure to return
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£35
VERIFIED
Accendo Lab Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Travel Test Go Express
Pre-departure to return
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£39
Test to Explore Antigen Rapid Test for Travel
VERIFIED
Test to Explore Antigen Rapid Test for Travel
Pre-departure from the UK, Pre-departure to return
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£39
VERIFIED
Corona Test Centre Test to Return Antigen Test
Pre-departure to return
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£45
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

What is an antigen (lateral flow) test for travel?

An antigen test works a little differently to a PCR test by looking for proteins in the virus to detect its presence, while a PCR looks for the RNA material that tells the virus to produce these proteins.

On a practical level, an antigen test is a lot easier, quicker and cheaper to do. You can even do it yourself at home as it doesn’t necessarily require a lab technician’s input.

Some countries and airlines will accept an antigen (lateral flow) test for travel, but be sure to check the specific requirements carefully before you settle into a decision, as well as the airline policy.

How do antigen tests for travel work?

Depending on the provider, you may be required to get an in-house test or do it from home.

If you’re going into a clinic, you’ll either be supervised taking your own swab or have a professional take it for you. It can be taken from the tonsils, nostrils or both. Once the swab is taken, the results can be as quick as 15 minutes. Once proven negative, you’ll get a certificate to travel with. Simply show this at the airport and you’re good to go.

If it’s an at-home antigen test, you’ll take the swab from the tonsils, nostrils or both (whichever the instructions specify). Depending on the delivery service and level of demand, it can take up to 3 working days to arrive. Some providers may require a supervised test from home, which is usually done via Zoom or other video chat services. You’ll be instructed on how to develop your sample and once it’s proven negative, you’ll be issued with a certificate proving that you’re fit to fly.

How much do lateral flow tests for travel cost?

Excellent question, thanks for asking. We’ve actually been comparing the cheapest COVID tests for travel, including lateral flow tests.

From the places we’ve looked at, you can get an at-home pre-departure antigen test from £28 and a test to return from the same price (both from Chronomics).

Prices vary depending on the provider, but you shouldn’t be paying much more than the £40 mark for a rapid antigen lateral flow test (from home), as that seems to be the standard maximum price across the board. That said, if you need a super-speedy turnaround, you may pay more.

Where can I get an antigen test for travel?

The Internet and word of mouth are your best friends here. There are a lot of providers around at the moment, many of whom we’ve reviewed here.

So long as you’re making sure that the government-listed provider’s service is matching your budget, requirements, turnaround time and the airline and destination country’s rules, you can’t go too far wrong. Keep an eye on the Trustpilot reviews for any unknown providers and don’t be afraid to speak to their customer service if you’re unsure about anything. Always check the refunds policy, too. Government guidelines are continuously changing, so it’s worth making sure you can get your money back if you need to.

Pros and cons of antigen travel tests

  • Cheaper than a PCR test
  • Instructions are easy to follow
  • Tests can be self-administered at home with no need to wait for lab analysis to get results
  • Results are quick
  • Not accepted by every airline or country
  • Delivery time can be vague, hindering plans
  • Less accurate than a PCR test
  • Rapid turnaround tests are more expensive

Popular Reads

COVID travel tests: Government confirms lateral flow can be used from 24 October for arrivals

COVID travel tests: Government confirms lateral flow can be used from 24 October for arrivals

Vaccinated travellers will be able to use cheaper lateral flow tests for day 2 checks from 24 October in England, the government announced.

Read more…
Red list for travel reduced to just 7 countries from today

Red list for travel reduced to just 7 countries from today

The government’s red list has been cut and you can now travel to another 47 countries without needing to quarantine on your return.

Read more…
Project Screen by Prenetics review: Private COVID-19 testing for travel

Project Screen by Prenetics review: Private COVID-19 testing for travel

We reviewed Project Screen, a government-listed COVID test provider which offers a full range of PCR and lateral flow travel testing services.

Read more…
Corona Test Centre discount codes 2021

Corona Test Centre discount codes 2021

See if you can get your next Corona Test Centre order for less with our hand-tested voucher and promo codes.

Read more…
Corona Test Centre review: COVID testing for travel

Corona Test Centre review: COVID testing for travel

Where does Corona Test Centre land in the ranking of government-listed COVID test providers? Close to the top, if you’re working alphabetically.

Read more…
Official Rapid Tests review: Private COVID testing for travel

Official Rapid Tests review: Private COVID testing for travel

Just how rapid is the Official Rapid Tests COVID testing service? We put this popular provider to the, er, test

Read more…

More guides on Finder

    Ask an Expert

    You are about to post a question on finder.com:

    • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
    • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
    • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
    • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked
    Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

    By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

    Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
    Go to site