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.

Many countries and airlines that require proof of a negative COVID test are now accepting antigen tests. These lateral flow tests are cheaper and faster than 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.

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 Click & Collect
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£14
Exclusive low price with code FINDER5
VERIFIED
4Medical Fit to fly Lateral Flow In-Clinic Test
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Clinic
£17.50
VERIFIED
Corona Test Centre Same-Day Fit to Fly Antigen Test
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Clinic
£39
Skyway Testing Fit-to-Fly Lateral Flow Antigen Test
VERIFIED
Skyway Testing Fit-to-Fly Lateral Flow Antigen Test
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£17.50
Get £2.50 off antigen tests. Use code CTFLFD at checkout.
Kurix Health Lateral Flow Antigen Fit to Fly & General Testing Home Test Kit
VERIFIED
Kurix Health Lateral Flow Antigen Fit to Fly & General Testing Home Test Kit
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£18.50
VERIFIED
Official Rapid Tests COVID-19 Test For USA (Video Supervised)
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£24.99
VERIFIED
Chronomics COVID-19 pre-departure rapid antigen test
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£15
VERIFIED
Project Screen Lateral Flow Home Fit to Fly Test – results in 20 mins
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£17
Exclusive low price with code FINDER5
VERIFIED
Accendo Lab Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Travel Test Go Express
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£19.99
VERIFIED
Harley Medic International Fit to Fly Antigen Test
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£19.99
VERIFIED
Official Rapid Tests COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£19.99
VERIFIED
MyHealthChecked Fit-to-Fly Rapid Antigen Test
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Home
£20
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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.

Countries that require proof of a negative COVID test from arrivals may accept an antigen (lateral flow) test, 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?

We’ve 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 around £20 and a test to return from the same price.

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). 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

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