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

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Editor’s note: While TPG will continue to provide information about COVID-19 testing and tips for traveling as safely as possible, do note that the CDC is recommending against holiday travel this year. 


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.

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But as travel begins to pick up, 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. And the CDC is even considering a shorter recommended quarantine period that could be between seven and 10 days when combined with a 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 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. When requested for travel (instead of due to symptoms or exposure), some 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 for 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” of current tests. 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

Check to see if you can get a Rapid PCR test

As I said above, PCR tests generally take around 72 hours for results. Some urgent care facilities, however, have introduced “rapid PCR tests,” where you can receive your results in as few as 30 minutes. That said, if you’re looking for a faster way to get a PCR test, it’ll cost you.

Some rapid PCR testing options include:

  • Complete Health Partners in Nashville, Tennessee. Results in 30 to 45 minutes. Cost: $250, not billed to insurance
  • Urgent Medical Care and MRI in Jersey City, New Jersey. Results normally in 30 minutes but now three hours because of the holidays. Cost: $250 out of pocket, not billed to insurance.
  • Elite Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Results in 24 hours. Cost: $350

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.

However, if you’re heading to Hawaii, CVS says you may want to look for another option. CVS recently updated its testing site to read: “NOTE: We cannot guarantee a specific turnaround time on the lab tests accepted by Hawaii – travelers to Hawaii should make other testing plans.”

(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-19 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
  • OnSight Safe: OnSite Safe:  Results of PCR saliva-based tests are available within 48 hours after being received by the lab. Available for children and adults nationally. Physical testing locations in New York City, Tampa and Van Nuys. Costs $127.95 with free shipping

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) use a 72-hour timeframe from the time of testing until either the time or flight departure or arrival to the destination. Sometimes, however, the window is even shorter.

For example, in Croatia, where TPG’s founder and CEO, Brian Kelly, traveled 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 practically 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-19 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)

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. Another TPG reader recommended Genotox Laboratories, a home test that costs $130 and promises results 72 hours from the time it is received.

While there are exceptions, two to three days for COVID-19 test results seem to be common across the country.

But with the country experiencing both a surge in cases and demand for testing ahead of the holidays, delays should be expected. One facility in Jersey City, New Jersey said lab results typically take three to five days, but laboratories are warning clinics that a crush of new samples could delay results to between five and eight days.

Even best-case scenario timing may be cutting it too close for many travel requirements, so you may need to research PCR testing locations that promise same-day results, or provide rapid PCR tests analyzed on site, if the arrival of your test results could make or break your trip.

COVID-19 testing in airports

A growing number of U.S. airports 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 if 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 before 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 passenger’s insurer does not cover the test, 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 the results are verbal.
  • XpresCheck: XpresCheck is currently open to passengers in the New York City area at Newark-EWR and New York-JFK, as well as Boston (BOS) and Arizona’s Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX). 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. The BOS, EWR and JFK locations also provide rapid tests.
  • Dallas – Fort Worth International Airport: Those traveling on American Airlines to Hawaii can get a rapid 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 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.
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Don’t fake a COVID-19 test

As testing becomes more widespread, efforts to bypass requirements have as well. Several news outlets have reported a black market for negative coronavirus tests, which are required to enter several countries.

Not only does a fake negative COVID-19 test defeat the purpose of testing and tracing, it could land you in jail. According to the Associated Press, police in France arrested seven people in early November for allegedly selling negative COVID-19 tests. They face up to five years in prison.

Expect to wait in line around the holidays

The CDC has strongly advised against Thanksgiving travel, as cases in every region of the nation continue to skyrocket. But if you’ve seen COVID-19 testing lines in recent days, it’s clear that people are still planning to hit the road for the holiday.

CityMD, one of the more well-known urgent care centers in New York City, recently cut hours due to long lines and high demand. Across the river in Jersey City, people are lining up outside CityMD locations more than an hour before they open, as only the first 100 to 150 people are being seen for COVID-19 tests.

People wait in line to the enter CityMD in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn on Nov. 23, 2020, in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

If you’re trying to get a COVID-19 test right now, you may face extremely long lines (for both the test and the results) and, in some cases, shorter hours. A TikTok user grimly suggested paying people on TaskRabbit to wait in line.

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 tips@thepointsguy.com.

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Atlanta, Georgia 

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
Locations at 17 drive-thru sites and 24 curbside urgent care centers around the Atlanta metropolitan area
Hours: Drive-thru locations open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., though some locations are closed on weekends. Curbside testing open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., select locations close at 6 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-thru testing available, all sites subject to early closure once 500-test daily maximum is reached
Turnaround time: One to three days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in the Bay Area, California 

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

McCampbell Analytical
1534 Willow Pass Road Pittsburg, CA 94565
Hours: Drop off samples between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday
Cost: 5-hour results are $450, same-day results are $250, next-day results are $180 and results in two to five days are $130.
Appointment required? Yes
Turnaround time: See above

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

Downtown Medical Group
450 Sutter Street, Suite 1723 San Francisco, California 94108
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $250 for 24-hour turnaround; $350 for 24-hour turnaround with certificate and blood test (required for travel to China)
Appointment required? Yes
Turnaround time: 5 p.m. next day after collection

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Boston, Massachusetts 

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 does 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, or $160 if paying out of pocket
Appointment required: No
Turnaround time: Less than two days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Charlotte, North Carolina 

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 you 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, Ohio 

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, Ohio 

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, Texas

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
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, Colorado 

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, Michigan 

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, Texas

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, Nevada

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, California 

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

Onsite Safe
6411 Sepulveda Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91411
Hours:  Monday-Saturday, see website for specifics
Costs: $164
Appointment Required:  Yes
Turnaround time:  48 hours after being received by lab; guaranteed by midnight the next day with expedited processing

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

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, Minnesota 

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 City, New York and Newark, New Jersey

If you need a COVID-19 test and don’t have an appointment, the process of getting tested at an urgent care center (or similar) may take a while — especially once you get outside the city. Even in the city, increased demand is causing lengthy wait times. 

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. But that was back in October.

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. Even the cited turnaround time may no longer be accurate. 

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.

OnSite Safe
Location in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood with home/office visits for groups of 5+
Hours: Monday-Saturday, see website for specifics
Costs:  $184
Appointment Required:  Yes
Turnaround time:  48 hours after received by lab; guaranteed by midnight the next day with expedited processing

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Orlando, Florida

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, Pennsylvania 

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, Pennsylvania 

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, Oregon 

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, California 

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, Utah 

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 Seattle/Tacoma, Washington 

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), Seattle, Washington 98126
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, Missouri 

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

Farragut Medical & Travel Care
815 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, D.C. 20006
Hours: Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $300
Appointment required? Yes
Turnaround time: Two days

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

Preston’s Pharmacy
Locations 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

McLean Pharmacy
1392 Chain Bridge Road, Mclean, Virginia 22101
Hours: Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.to 5 p.m., Closed Sunday
Cost: $250 for a 48-hour turnaround, and $500 for a 24-hour turnaround.
Appointment required? Yes
Turnaround time: Up to three business 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’re seeing the average turnaround time increase now that cases are surging across much of the country — and yet more people are traveling.

A two- to three-day turnaround time was common with our October in-house tests. Still, 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. If you need COVID-19 PCR test results in advance of a tight travel deadline, the safest bet 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 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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