Traveling soon? Here’s where you can quickly get a COVID-19 PCR test for travel

© Provided by The Points Guy MSN has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. MSN and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers. At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, several countries that once welcomed U.S. citizens closed their borders. In […]



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© Provided by The Points Guy


MSN has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. MSN and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.

At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, several countries that once welcomed U.S. citizens closed their borders. In other words: They rolled up the welcome mat and packed it away. It wasn’t just other countries, though. Many U.S. states all but closed to visitors by mandating 14-day quarantines upon entry.

Since then, more than 230,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S., which remains one of the hardest-hit countries. 

For more TPG travel news and tips delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our free daily newsletter.

But as travel begins to pick up ahead of the holiday season, several countries are accepting U.S. travelers again — albeit with several new restrictions, such as a negative COVID-19 test taken before departure. Some states, such as Alaska and Hawaii, have also transitioned to a model that allows visitors to skip the 14-day quarantine with an eligible negative COVID-19 test.

Related: Where can Americans travel internationally?

If you need a coronavirus test for travel, you might be wondering where you can get one, what type of test you’ll need to take, how long it will take to get an appointment (and wait for results) and what it will cost. 



(Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)


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(Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

To help you prepare, we visited testing sites in several cities across the country —  and researched where you can get tested in 25 major metropolitan areas.

We found that some tests are entirely free, while others require a copay or can be covered with insurance. There are also some that, when requested for travel (instead of because of due to symptoms or exposure), will require full cash payment. Many countries and some states require negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests taken within a certain amount of time — usually 72 hours —before departure. And we found many facilities providing results between 48 and 72 hours, but that isn’t always true. 

Also, keep in mind that some testing sites deliver results over the phone, which likely won’t be suitable for boarding an aircraft or entering a country. 

What type of coronavirus test do you need?

There are many different types of testing when it comes to coronavirus, and the devil is in the details if you need a test for travel.

Two types of tests that often won’t help you when it comes to travel are rapid antigen tests that check for proteins on the virus’s surface and antibody tests (a blood test that can identify if a previous COVID-19 infection caused your immune system to produce COVID-19 antibodies). 

What you’ll usually need for travel is a PCR test (polymerise chain reaction). These are the most reliable tests for detecting active COVID-19 infections and are considered the “gold standard” in current testing options. We’ll focus in this guide only on those sites that are providing these more-accurate PCR tests, though keep in mind that some destinations — like Hawaii — only accept PCR tests from a specific list of testing providers.

Related: How rapid COVID-19 testing can help travelers

Nationwide coronavirus testing options

If you’re in a location without many COVID-19 testing sites, you may want to head to your neighborhood drugstore. 

You’ll notice several major chains on the list of where to get a COVID-19 test including CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid, all of which often offer PCR testing at no additional cost if using insurance, or if you fall under some federal programs for those without insurance. Ride Aid specifically offers test at no cost to anyone 18 and older.

Even better, you can make these appointments online, which may save precious time instead of waiting in a long line. Many of these locations offer drive-up testing, where you swab yourself and don’t need to leave your vehicle.

You may need to complete an online questionnaire to see if you qualify for testing and then make an appointment one to three days in advance. In our experience, living in an area with community COVID-19 spread (which, sadly, is most of the U.S. right now), often qualifies you for a test with these providers if a questionnaire is required. 

Several TPG Lounge members and TPG staffers have taken advantage of this option. Amanda in Arizona said she got her results in four days, while Larry S. in Chicago said he received results within 48 hours. Some drugstores are even providing same-day PCR test results, though that availability varies from location to location.

Increasingly, these nationwide providers are serving younger patients. Currently, CVS serves patients 10 and up while Walgreens serves patients as young as 3.

Also, several third-party companies partner with major cities like Houston and San Francisco on widespread testing. These companies, like Color and Curative, offer results in one to three days.



a man and a woman standing in a room: (Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)


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(Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Mail-in COVID-19 testing options

There are many mail-in COVID-19 testing providers available. Some are not valid in certain states and some are not available in all situations.

Most will not bill insurance for you, with Pixel being an exception to that general rule. Some mail-in tests are nasal swabs while others are now saliva samples. Some are only valid for adults and others require a Zoom appointment. But, these are all the gold-standard PCR tests that are considered highly reliable.

Note that some of these companies have partnered with various airlines and the State of Hawaii as approved providers, so this can be a legitimate testing option for travel. In fact, if your airline has a mail-in testing partner valid for your travel destination, I recommend going through their system as it may get your sample prioritized in the lab’s testing order.

Some mail-in COVID testing programs include:

  • Everlywell: Results of the nasal swab available within 24 to 48 hours of the lab receiving the sample. Available to people 18 and older only. Cost: $109
  • Pixel by LabCorp: Results of the nasal swab are available one to two days after arriving back in the lab. Available to people 18 and older. No upfront cost, or $119 if you’re not eligible for insurance or federal funds.
  • Vault: Results of the saliva test taken via Zoom call are available within 48 to 72 hours. The test is valid for both children and adults. Cost: $150
  • Azova: Available at Costco.com and results of the saliva test, taken via a Zoom call, are available within 24 to 48 hours. Cost: $139.99
  • Quest Diagnostics: Results of the saliva test taken while on Zoom are typically received within 24 to 48 hours of arrival at the lab, but are prioritized within 24 hours of arrival for people testing through a travel partner such as Hawaiian Airlines. This test is available to people $18 and older. Cost: $119

How long will test results take to arrive?

Most states or countries that require negative COVID-19 test results to enter (or enter without quarantine) utilize a 72-hour timeframe from the time of testing until either the time or flight departure or arrival to the destination. However, sometimes the window is even smaller.

For example, in Croatia, where TPG’s founder and CEO, Brian Kelly, traveled to in August, there’s a requirement for a negative test result that was swabbed within 48 hours of arrival into the country to avoid quarantine. That’s a very small window that virtually necessitates same-day results to comply.

Kelly was able to get his results within 10 hours in New York City at NYU Langone Health with a physician’s order. But, to get a better sense of what COVID testing is like for travelers, we had five TPG staffers take COVID-19 PCR tests midweek at different providers across the country within a 24-hour period in October.

  • At a Walgreens outside Houston, Texas, results were returned in 36 hours.
  • New York City’s free city testing program in Brooklyn took 48 hours for results.
  • It took 72 hours to get results from an urgent care in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Drive-up testing at a hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan returned results in 48 hours.
  • A CityMD clinic in New York City delivered results in 78 hours.



(Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)


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(Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Also in October, a TPG staffer took a mail-in Pixel test and received results within 48 hours of putting the test back in the mail, with the fees fully covered by insurance.

While there are exceptions, especially if an area is experiencing a surge in both cases and testing, two to three days for COVID-19 test results seem to be common across the country. That may be cutting it close for many travel requirements, so you may need to research PCR testing locations that promise same-day results if the arrival of your test results could make or break your trip.

COVID-19 testing in airports

There are a growing number of U.S. airports that offer COVID-19 testing either to all passengers or those heading on specific flights or to specific destinations. If you can drive to the airport to get a test a day or two ahead of your trip, this could be a great option. However, we don’t recommend waiting to get a test until your travel has already started if you can avoid it in case you do get a positive result. Quarantining for at least two weeks at a connection city will likely be expensive and problematic.

Some current airport testing centers available within the U.S. include:

  • Tampa International Airport: This testing center is meant for passengers traveling to and from Tampa International Airport (TPA) so bring proof of travel. PCR test results come back in about 48 hours and cost $150.
  • Oakland International Airport: There are two testing centers at OAK, one in the airport and a drive-up location. Only passengers heading to Hawaii are encouraged to use this, though technically any passenger can book the drive-up location. Appointments are required and there is no out-of-pocket fee.
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport: Testing is open to all at MSP and done with saliva. This is free for Minnesota residents and $94 for others. Test results are back within 24 to 48 hours. Appointments are accepted but not always required.
  • Anchorage International Airport: Testing at ANC is free for Alaska residents and $250 to others. All nonresidents that cannot provide proof of testing prior to travel will be required to test upon arrival.
  • Burlington International Airport: Testing is open to all at Vermont’s BTV airport Monday through Friday with appointments recommended and results available in 36 to 48 hours. Without insurance, the test is $175.
  • Bradley International Airport: Open seven days per week, if the test is not covered by the passenger’s insurer, tests are still available for $125 each. Results will most likely be available within 72 hours of testing, however, it can take longer. Testing is only available to passengers traveling through Connecticut’s Bradley Airport (BDL) on the day of their flight and you can preregister before arriving at the testing site.
  • New York-LaGuardia: PCR testing is free with no appointments necessary in LGA’s Terminal B parking garage with results delivered by phone within 48 hours. However, this won’t be very useful for travel verification purposes since results are verbal.
  • XpresCheck: XpresCheck is currently open to passengers in Newark-EWR and New York-JFK, with Boston (BOS) soon to come online for passenger use. PCR tests are available by appointment or potentially via walk-up and insurance is accepted or costs $75. Turnaround time is two to three days.
  • Dallas – Fort Worth International Airport: Those traveling on American Airlines to Hawaii can get a rapid PCR test at DFW on the day of travel for $249 with results available in about 15 minutes. Travelers can also visit designated CareNow urgent care locations in the area for $150 testing.
  • San Francisco International Airport: Those San Francisco-based travelers flying on United Airlines to Hawaii can get a rapid PCR test at SFO on the day of travel with an appointment for $250. There is a drive-up option near the airport that can be booked a couple of days in advance of travel for $105.



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City-by-city guide on Where to get a COVID-19 test

Finding a reliable place to get a PCR COVID-19 test for travel with quick results is tough. In some parts of the country, it still borders on impossible.

But to give you a headstart in your research, these testing facilities may meet your COVID testing needs for travel. Because things change so quickly in 2020, you’ll need to contact the sites directly to confirm this information is still accurate.

If you encounter a spot that should be added (or removed) from the list, please email [email protected]

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Atlanta

TPG’s loyalty and engagement editor, Richard Kerr, got tested with his entire family outside Atlanta at Summit Urgent Care and described the process as “incredibly efficient.”

“We made an appointment at a local urgent care [center] via a Telehealth appointment and then were given an arrival time to the testing facility the next day,” Kerr said. “At arrival, we were the only patients in the entire parking lot. Between my ID being checked and the swab being performed, we were in and out in less than a minute.”

Summit Urgent Care

1825 GA-34, Newnan, Georgia 30265

Hours: Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Holidays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cost: Accept most insurances, no copay for virtual visits

Appointment required? No

Turnaround time: Three days

Peachtree Immediate Care

1256 Briarcliff Rd. NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30306

Hours: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cost: For most insurance plans, there is no copay or deductible required; a $ 175 self-pay option is also available.

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Two to three days

Viral Solutions

1995 Clairmont Road, Decatur, Georgia 30033

Hours: Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cost: No out of pocket cost with insurance

Appointment required? No

Turnaround time: Two to three days

Community Organized Relief Effort

Select locations across Georgia, including Atlanta

Cost: Free

Appointment required? Walk-up and drive-through available, all sites subject to early

closure once 500-test daily max is reached

Turnaround time: One to three days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Boston

TPG Lounge member Raeanna S. visited a Rite Aid drive-thru in Revere, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. It was free “via Project Baseline,” Raeanna said. “[It] says it takes two to seven days [for results],” she said, “but it’s taken 48 hours … three different times.”

Tufts Medical Center

171 Harrison Ave. Boston, Massachusetts 02111 Tye Pavilion

Hours: Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cost: If insurance carriers do not cover a test, the cost is $135

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Two to three days

CareWell Urgent Care

Cambridge Fresh Pond

601-603 Concord Ave Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

Hours: Open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cost: Covered by insurance, $160 if paying out of pocket

Appointment required: No

Turnaround time: Less than two days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Charlotte

Senior associate Meg Palmer was tested at a Novant Health screening centers in the Charlotte area. “I needed an appointment,” she said, “but they screened me on the phone and it was pretty easy.” When she arrived, Palmer said she was the only person at the drive-in and she received results in about 36 hours.

BetterMed Urgent Care – Charlotte

1431 South Boulevard, Charlotte, North Carolina 28203

Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cost: For those with commercial health insurance, the expected out-of-pocket cost for the medical evaluation and test is your copay. A PCR medical evaluation and test will cost $159 plus outside lab costs.

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Two to four days

StarMed Healthcare – Eastland

5344 Central Ave Ste. B, Charlotte, North Carolina 28212

Hours: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: Covered at 100% for most insurance carriers. There’s a $195 out-of-pocket fee for lab rush.

Appointment required? No

Turnaround time: Three to seven days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Chicago

Howard Brown Health 55th St.

1525 E. 55th St., Chicago, Illinois 60637

Hours: Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Appointment required? No

Turnaround time: Three to seven days

Howard Brown Health 63rd St.

641 W. 63rd St., Chicago, Illinois 60621

Hours: Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: Free

Appointment required? No

Turnaround time: Three to seven days

Innovative Care

1111 W. Diversey Parkway,1111 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, Illinois 60614

Hours: Open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cost: Covered by insurance, or can self-pay $250 for the examination and COVID-19 test

Appointment required? Yes, but the location releases 150 appointments at 8 a.m. each morning to accommodate same-day visits.

Turnaround time: Two to four days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Cleveland/Akron

The Centers, East Office

4400 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44103

Hours: Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cost: No out-of-pocket costs for most patients. No insurance required, and Medicaid and other insurance accepted

Appointment required? Appointments encouraged, with walk-ins available each day

Turnaround time: One to two days

The Centers, Uptown Office at Circle Health Services

12201 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44106

Hours: Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., second and fourth Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cost: No out-of-pocket costs for most patients. No insurance required, and Medicaid and other insurance accepted

Appointment required? Appointments encouraged, with walk-ins available each day

Turnaround time: One to two days

Rite Aid No. 02456

4053 South Main Street, Akron, Ohio

Hours: Open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Cost: Free testing available to anyone 18 or older

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Two to five days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Columbus

Hometown Urgent Care

4300 Clime Road, Columbus, Ohio, 43228

Hours: Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: Covered by insurance; copay or deductible may be required. Uninsured patients may be eligible to have the cost of their test covered by Medicaid under the CARES Act.

Appointment required? No

Turnaround time: Three to six days

CVS Minute Clinic

1400 Parsons Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43206

Hours: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cost: No out-of-pocket cost with insurance

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Two to three days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Dallas/Fort Worth

Lounge member Ginger U. recommends Curative, saying there’s a free drive-thru for anyone. She recommends making an online appointment, saying, “usually, [the] same day [is] available.”

Real Time Laboratories

4100 Fairway Ct. Suite 600 Carrollton, Texas 75010

Hours: Open daily; see website for details

Cost: $250 to $400 depending on turnaround time

Appointment required: Yes.

Turnaround time: Six to 24 hours, depending on the level of rush paid for at booking

DevLab Bio

4100 Fairway Drive, Suite 100, Carrollton, Texas 75010

Hours: Open Monday to Saturday; see website for details

Cost: $150, insurance not accepted for travel requests

Appointment required: Yes

Gallery: How Much Will It Cost To Get the Coronavirus Vaccine? (GOBankingRates)

Turnaround time: One business day, excluding Sunday

State of Texas/Texas Division of Emergency Management

Mountain View College, 4849

W. Illinois Ave., Dallas, Texas 75211

Hours: Wednesday to Friday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Cost: Free

Appointment required? No

Turnaround time: Three days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Denver

American Family Care Urgent Care

850 S. Monaco Pkwy, Suite 10, Denver, Colorado 80224

Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cost: Most major insurance covered

Appointment required? No

Turnaround time: Three to five days

Advanced Urgent Care

3890 Quebec St., Ste A & B, Denver, Colorado 80207

Hours: Seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cost: Covered by most major insurances

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Three to seven days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Detroit

CVS Minute Clinic

1935 Campbell, Detroit, Michigan 48209

Hours: Seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Cost: No out-of-pocket cost with insurance

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Two to three days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Houston

Curative

Houston Community College – South, 1990 Airport Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77051

Hours: See website for more information

Cost: No out-of-pocket cost when billed to your health plan or the government

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: One to two days 

Any Test Now

2282 W Holcombe Blvd., Houston, Texas, 77030

Cost: $199

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: 48-hour turnaround Monday through Friday

Memorial Village ER

14520 Memorial Dr Houston, Texas 77079

Hours: Drive-up COVID evaluations ‪between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.‬ daily

Cost: $150 or insurance is accepted

Appt required: No

Turnaround: Two to three days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Las Vegas

Pharmatech

546 N Eastern Ave Suite 130, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101

Hours: See website for more information

Cost: $120

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: One to two days

Cuur Diagnostics

8275 Spring Mountain Road, Las Vegas, Nevada 89147

Hours: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Cost: $125

Appointment required? No

Turnaround time: One to two days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Los Angeles

Reliant Urgent Care

Multiple Los Angeles-area locations

Hours: See website for more information

Cost: $150 (results within 48 hours), $195 (results within 24 hours), $295 (results within 12 to 14 hours)

Turnaround time: 12 to 48 hours, depending on the level of service booked

Curative

Kedren Community Health Center, 4211 S Avalon, Los Angeles, California 90011

Hours: See website for more information

Cost: No out of pocket cost when billed to your health plan or the government

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: One to two days

Curative

Camino Nuevo High School (drive-thru only), 3500 W Temple St, Los Angeles, California 90004

Hours: See website for more information

Cost: No out of pocket cost when billed to your health plan or the government

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: One to two days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Miami and Fort Lauderdale

Lab Doctor

1425 SE 17th St, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316

Hours: Monday to Saturday, see website for specifics

Cost: $179

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Next-day results

Hialeah drive-thru testing

401 East 65th Street, Hialeah, Florida 33013

Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cost: Free

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Three to five days

Youth Fairgrounds at Tamiami Park

10901 SW 24th Street, Miami, Florida 33165

Hours: Seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cost: Free

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Three to five days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Minneapolis/St. Paul

CVS

3655 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55418

Hours: By appointment

Cost: No out-of-pocket cost with insurance

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Two to three days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in New York/Newark

Several New York City-based TPG staffers took COVID-19 tests in recent weeks and most reported quick turnaround times. If you need the test and don’t have an advance appointment, however, the process of getting tested at an urgent care center (or similar) may take a while — especially once you get outside the city.

TPG writer Victoria Walker got tested at one of the free city pop-up sites and received her results within two days. She also recently got a PCR test at a Brooklyn CityMD, one of the popular urgent care facilities in New York City, and she got results back in three days. Senior news editor Clint Henderson also visited a CityMD location in Manhattan and received results in three days.

“I stood in line for an hour at the CityMD clinic in the East Village, but I was able to get a PCR test for free,” Henderson said.

There are hundreds of testing sites across New York City, and you can also find pop-up mobile testing sites at different locations throughout the five boroughs. Not all of these will return COVID-19 test results in a timely enough manner for travel, however. 

Carecube

Multiple locations in Brooklyn and the Bronx

Hours: Depends on location

Cost: Accepts insurance or $200

Appointment required? No

Turnaround time: Results in 24 to 48 hours

CityMD

Locations across New York City and the boroughs

Hours: Depends on location, however, all locations will close 90 minutes earlier

Cost: CityMD is not collecting copayments for COVID-19 related visits

Appointment required? No

Turnaround time: Three to four days

There are several free COVID testing options available for Newark residents, with no appointment or insurance needed. Get more information here.

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Orlando

COVID Testing LLC

Multiple Orlando-area locations

Hours: Open seven days a week, see site for hours

Cost: With insurance, $35 for next-day results, $75 for same-day results. Without insurance, $115 for next-day results, $155 for same-day results

Appointment required? No

Turnaround time: Same or the next day. Tests for same-day results must be taken between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. or noon, depending on location. Same-day results are not available on Sundays.

Paramount Urgent Care

5833 S. Goldenrod Rd., Orlando, Florida 32822

Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cost: Free for self-pay and insured patients, excluding Medicaid

Appointment required? No

Turnaround time: Two to four days

Paramount Urgent Care

8972 Turkey Lake Road South, Orlando, Florida 32819

Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cost: Free for self-pay and insured patients, excluding Medicaid

Appointment required? No

Turnaround time: Two to four days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Philadelphia

CVS

3300-10 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19145

Hours: By appointment

Cost: No out-of-pocket cost with insurance

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Two to three days

American Family Care (AFC) Urgent Care

1444 W. Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19145

Cost: No charge for PCR tests with insurance

Appointment required: Yes, and telemedicine visit

Turnaround time: Usually one to three days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Pittsburgh

Curative

Pittsburgh Mercy, 249 South 9th Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15203

Hours: See website for more information

Cost: No out-of-pocket cost when billed to your health plan or the government

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: One to two days

Curative

East Liberty Family Health Care Center

6023 Harvard St, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206

Cost: No out-of-pocket cost when billed to your health plan or the government

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: One to two days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Portland

American Family Care Urgent Care

Multiple locations

Hours: See website

Cost: $199

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: 60 minutes to three days, depending on test type

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Sacramento

Anyone 18 years of age or older living in Sacramento County can ​get tested for COVID-19 for free after completing an online screening. COVID-19 testing will then be scheduled.

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake InstaCare

389 S 900 E, Salt Lake City, Utah 84102

Hours: Monday, Wednesday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cost: Most insurers have said they will cover 100% of the testing cost

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Two days 

Intermountain Health

Multiple locations

Hours: See site for individual location information

Cost: May vary if testing for travel versus symptoms or exposure

Appointment required: Yes

Turnaround time: 90% of tests returned within two days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland

My Doctor Medical Group

450 Sutter Street Suite 840, San Francisco, California 94108

Hours: Depends on location

Cost: $365, $50 extra lab fee for Tahiti and French Polynesia only

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: 5 p.m. next day after collection

Color

Embarcadero site at Piers 30/32, Bryant and Embarcadero

Hours: Depends on location

Cost: Free

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: One to three days

Alameda Health Systems

Henry J. Kaiser Center at 10 10th Street, Oakland, California 94607

Hours: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: Free

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Two to five days

​Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) – Valley Health Center Downtown

777 E Santa Clara Street, San Jose, California 95112

Hours: Seven days a week, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: Free

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Three to seven days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Seattle/Tacoma

Discovery Health MD

Two locations: SeaTac DoubleTree and SeaTac Airport

Hours: Seven days a week, see site for details

Cost: $250

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Same-day or next-day, depending on what you booked

West Seattle Walk-Up Site

2801 SW Thistle Street (Southwest Athletic Complex)

Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: One to two days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in St. Louis

ARCpoint Labs

11255 Olive Blvd, Creve Coeur, Missouri 63141

Hours: Open Monday to Friday, see website for hours

Cost: $225 for same-day results

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Same-day with expedited service

CVS

3925 Lindell Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri 63108

Hours: By appointment

Cost: No out-of-pocket cost with insurance

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Two to three days

CVS

4100 Gravois Ave, St. Louis, Missouri 63116

Hours: By appointment

Cost: No out-of-pocket cost with insurance

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Two to three days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Washington, D.C./Baltimore/Arlington

Preston’s Pharmacy

Location in Arlington and Fairfax

Hours: Monday to Saturday, check the website for details

Cost: Two-day results for $200, Next-day results for $350

Appointment required? Yes

Walgreens

1401 Rhode Island Ave., NE, Washington, D.C.

Hours: Seven days per week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: Free for patients 18 and older

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Three days

CVS

2560 West Franklin Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21223

Hours: By appointment

Cost: No out-of-pocket cost with insurance

Appointment required? Yes

Turnaround time: Two to three days

Bottom line

While it has generally been getting easier to obtain a COVID-19 PCR test for travel purposes in some locations over the past few months, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the average turnaround time increase now that cases are surging across much of the country.

A two- to three-day turnaround time was common with our October in-house tests, but even that would be cutting it very close for travel purposes for destinations that require tests taken within 48 or 72 hours of either departure or arrival. The safest bet, if you need COVID-19 PCR test results in advance of a tight travel deadline, is to use a provider that can guarantee same-day or next-day service. That’s generally going to cost extra and isn’t yet available all across the country.

Some destinations will allow you to simply quarantine upon arrival until your test results arrive. But processing your release from quarantine may not be immediate. And, in the event you do test positive (presumably asymptomatically), you will need to be prepared to quarantine in place wherever you are for at least two weeks. This is not to mention the reality that you could get ill and may have exposed others on your journey before you knew of your positive result.

Featured photo by Getty Images

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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