covid-19 testing

Traveling Internationally? Here's What to Know When You Need a COVID-19 Test

It’s important to research what testing policies each country has before traveling.

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With so many people traveling internationally over the next few weeks during the holiday season, COVID-19 testing has now become a mandatory part of travel plans.

Right now, anyone traveling into the United States will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within one day of boarding.

Travelers reported, though these guidelines are necessary, they can be expensive and time-consuming.

“For the traveler, it can be very stressful, but that’s what you have to do,” said international traveler Arame Strachan.

Strachan and her husband had a long layover Thursday at Miami International Airport. They arrived from Nassau, Bahamas, and their next trip is to Qatar.

With no direct flights from the Bahamas to Qatar, they had no choice but to layover in the U.S., making the test requirements a costly headache, though a necessary one.

“We have to get a PCR test within 72 hours. A PCR test takes about 24 hours to get the results, but a 24-hour test to come to the United States would be too late and that would not be valid to come to this country in order connect to get to Qatar, so it’s been kinda stressful,” said Strachan. “It’s extremely expensive, at home a PCR test is $125 and to fast track it’s an extra $100.”

For those who need tests ahead of local travel or family gatherings, MiamiDade.gov provides a list of the nearest testing site and the hours.

Tropical Park will be one of the sites that will stay open seven days a week, 24 hours a day during the holidays.

“People are very concerned, as well they should be," said Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava. "And we want to continue to make our sites available. We’ve been able to add sites as needed, as always we’ll continue to monitor to make sure people have access to what they need."

At MIA, airport officials say both their on-site testing facilities will continue their normal hours during the holidays. The Central Terminal site is open 24/7 and the South Terminal site will be open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Nomi Health runs the testing site at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. They will close four hours early on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Their operating hours will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

As for Strachan and her husband, they have a long way to go. But they say it’s worth it to keep others safe and to see loved ones.

“When we get to Qatar we’ll have to take another PCR test which, God knows what that will cost," Strachan said. "And then we’ll have to sit and wait for the results before we’re allowed out of the airport. But, that’s what you have to do."

It’s also important to research what policies each country has before traveling.

For a full list of testing sites in South Florida click here.

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