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

Feb 12, 2021

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with more recent information.


At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, several countries that once welcomed U.S. citizens with few restrictions 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 470,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. alone, 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.

And despite the arrival of promising new vaccines, it’s been a pretty grim winter. While positive cases are beginning to trend downward, highly contagious variants of the coronavirus have emerged. And many countries are tightening their borders or adding mandatory testing requirements, including the U.S., which now requires a negative viral COVID-19 test for international arrivals.

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. Many facilities can provide 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.

The tests that often won’t help you with travel are antibody tests, which are blood tests that can identify if a previous COVID-19 infection caused your immune system to produce COVID-19 antibodies. Rapid antigen tests check for proteins on the virus’s surface and are popular for their quick turnaround times, but are rarely accepted.

What you’ll usually need for travel is a PCR test (polymerase chain reaction). These are the most reliable tests for detecting active COVID-19 infections and are considered the current “gold standard” of 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

Though PCR tests generally take around 72 hours for results, some urgent care facilities 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 in an hour or less only for travelers who need documentation. Cost: $250 out of pocket, not billed to insurance.
  • Elite Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Results in 24 hours. Cost: $299 with promo code ELITE02LUV during the month of February.
  • Medical Offices of Manhattan in New York City, New York. Same-day results. Cost: $225 for the test, which doesn’t include doctor consultation.
  • Frontage Laboratory in Exton, Pennsylvania (35 minutes from Philadelphia). Offers COVID-19 tests for travelers with same-day turnaround time. Cost: $200 for an RT-PCR test.

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 tests at no cost to anyone 18 and older. Passport Health also has a network of clinics in over 100 locations nationwide, primarily for people who need a negative PCR test to fly or return to school. 

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 often qualifies you for a test with these providers if a questionnaire is required. Increasingly, these nationwide providers are serving younger patients. Currently, CVS serves patients 10 and up while Walgreens serves patients as young as 3. 

Several TPG Lounge members and TPG staffers have taken advantage of this option. TPG founder and CEO Brian Kelly visited a CVS drive-thru pharmacy in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and received his results in 30 hours.

Turnaround times can vary by chain and location:

  • CVS: Average turnaround time for receiving results from lab tests is two to three days
  • Walgreens: Turnaround time varies
  • Rite Aid: Turnaround time is one to three days

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.

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

Mail-in COVID-19 testing options

There are many mail-in or in-home 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.

TPG senior associate Katharine Leitch ordered a Pixel test, which arrived the next day. She received her results two days later. But TPG’s social media producer, Caroline English, said she was turned away from Pixel even though she had possibly been exposed.

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, we 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 a Zoom call are available within 48 to 72 hours. The test is available to children and adults. Cost: $119
  • Azova: Available at Costco.com. The saliva test results, taken via a Zoom call, are available within 12 to 48 hours upon being received by the lab. This test is approved as part of Hawaii’s trusted testing partner program and for travel to Bermuda. Cost: Between $114.99 and $118.99
  • Quest Diagnostics: Results of the saliva test are typically received within 24 to 48 hours. This test is available to people 18 and older. Cost: $128
  • OnSight Safe: Results of PCR saliva-based tests are available within 48 hours after being received by the lab; expedited processing is also available. Available for children and adults nationally. Physical testing locations in New York City, Tampa and Van Nuys, California. Cost: Starts at $127.95

How long will test results take to arrive?

Most states or countries that require negative COVID-19 tests for entry (or entry without quarantine) use a 72-hour timeframe, from the test until either the time of your departure to or arrival in the destination. Sometimes, however, the window is even shorter.

To get a better sense of what COVID-19 testing is like for travelers, several TPG staffers shared where they took COVID-19 PCR tests across the country throughout February:

  • At NYU Langone in New York, New York, results were returned in 8 hours.
  • At a Walgreens in Avon, Colorado, results were returned in 24 hours.
  • At a CVS drive-thru pharmacy in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, results were returned in 30 hours.
  • At a mobile testing site in Jersey City, New Jersey, results were returned in under 48 hours.

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

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. Several facilities on the list below reported delays in test results due to an increase in demand.

COVID-19 testing in airports

A growing number of U.S. airports offer rapid COVID-19 testing to all passengers or travelers on specific flights or heading 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.

But 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 an expensive hassle.

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

  • Anchorage International Airport: Testing at ANC is free for Alaska residents and $250 to others. All non-residents who cannot provide proof of testing before travel will be required to test upon arrival.
  • Bradley International Airport: Open seven days per week. If the passenger’s insurer does not cover the test, tests are available for $125 each. Results will most likely be available within 72 hours of testing but 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.
  • 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. The test may have a fee.
  • 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.
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport: Testing is available at FLL between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. PCR tests are $106, and rapid antigen tests are $74. Rapid test results are returned in about 30 minutes. Expect next-day results for PCR tests done before 4 p.m. and a 48-hour turnaround for tests taken after 4 p.m.
  • 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 “in a few days.” Appointments are accepted but not always required.
  • 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.
  • Oakland International Airport: There are two testing centers at OAK, one in the airport and a second 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 a $120 lab fee for expedited processing and a $20 administrative fee for Hawaii’s mandated travel. Results in 30 to 45 minutes for rapid testing and 24 to 48 hours for PCR tests.
  • San Francisco International Airport: San Francisco-based travelers flying on United Airlines to Hawaii, as well as select destinations in Central and South America and the Caribbean, can arrange for a mail-in PCR COVID-19 test. Travelers will receive results in 24 to 48 hours, and the cost is $119.
  • 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, while rapid tests come back in less than an hour and cost $60.
  • 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), Salt Lake City (SLC), Denver (DEN) and Phoenix (PHX). PCR tests are available by appointment or potentially via walk-up; costs vary. Many locations also provide rapid tests, but the Denver and Salt Lake City locations are after security and open to ticketholders.

Hawaii-bound travelers at Newark, Denver and San Francisco can also get a rapid test on the day of travel. Newark (outside New York City) costs $200, but a 10% discount will be applied for customers who get tested before the day of travel. The Denver location costs $200, while San Francisco is $250. There is a drive-up option near SFO airport that can also be booked a couple of days in advance of travel for $105.

Hotels offering COVID-19 tests

The Rosewood Baha Mar. (Photo by Melanie Lieberman / The Points Guy)

Pre-travel testing is also becoming more common at hotels, as dozens of hotels and resorts roll out plans to provide on-site testing.

The Wynn Resort in Las Vegas is reportedly building an on-site testing facility, while the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi offers an on-site doctor and complimentary COVID-19 test. The Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa partnered with a local clinic to offer on-site testing for guests that can either be billed to your insurance or paid out of pocket.

Some current hotel COVID-19 testing options available worldwide include:

  • Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport: “Test, Rest and Fly” package includes an overnight stay, breakfast and one PCR test with results in 24 hours. The package starts at $301.
  • Sofitel London Heathrow: The hotel at Terminal 5 in London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) rolled out a “Test and Rest” program, a package that includes a room and a PCR test. The package starts at $273, and the test can be submitted by 7:30 p.m. for overnight results.
  • The Elmwood Resort & Hotel: This Maine hotel will reimburse the costs of up to two rapid tests (not PCR tests) for guests staying a minimum of three nights.
  • The Baha Mar hotel complex in the Bahamas requires guests to take a rapid antigen test upon arrival. The complex also offers optional PCR and rapid COVID-19 tests ($125 and $25, respectively) for guests before they depart.

Related: Forget free breakfast: The hottest hotel amenity is a nasal swab

COVID-19 testing is now required to enter the U.S.

If you’re traveling back to the United States from abroad, you will now need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding.

All passengers will be required to get a viral test within three days of departure. Even if you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, you’ll need to provide a negative test before boarding. Airlines must confirm the negative result (or recovery from COVID-19) for all passengers, and travelers without documentation, either printed or digital, will be prohibited from flying to the United States.

If you get a negative test, travel and return within three days, the test taken before departing the U.S. will be accepted.

There are several exemptions to this rule. Travelers flying back from U.S. territories; travelers arriving via a land border such as Mexico or Canada; and flight crew members will not need to present a negative COVID-19 test.

Related: What you need to know about getting COVID-19 tested for US-bound international flights

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.

Not only does a fake negative COVID-19 test defeat the purpose of testing and tracing, but it could also 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.

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

(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

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

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

If you encounter a location that should be added (or removed) from the list, or if you’re a healthcare provider conducting PCR testing, please email tips@thepointsguy.com.

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

Kevin Gutierrez, a member of the TPG Lounge Facebook group, got tested at a Community Organized Relief Effort site in Atlanta, Georgia. “[My] test results were delivered 48 hours after being swabbed,” he said.

Community Organized Relief Effort
Various locations throughout Georgia, including Atlanta
Cost: Free
Appointment required: Walk-up and drive-thru testing available, all sites subject to early closure once the 500-test daily maximum is reached
Turnaround time: Typically three to five days

Summit Urgent Care
Various locations throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area
Hours: Varies by location

Cost: Accepts most insurance, no copay for virtual visits
Appointment required: No
Turnaround time: Three to five days

Peachtree Immediate Care
Various locations throughout 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 is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 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: Typically three days

Viral Solutions
1995 Clairmont Road, Decatur, Georgia
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 days

ARCpoint Labs of Atlanta-Northeast
3635 Savannah Place Drive, Suite 450-B Duluth, Georgia
Hours: Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Cost: $169 for lab-based PCR test, $249 for rapid PCR test;  Self-pay option only
Appointment Required: Yes, but same-day appointments are available.
Turnaround Time: 30 to 45 minutes for rapid PCR test, 48 hours typical for lab-based PCR

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

My Doctor Medical Group
450 Sutter Street Suite 840, San Francisco, California
Hours: Varies by location
Cost: $240 for visit and swab collection, $125 lab fee for expedited next-day PCR results, $35 for customized additional travel documentation and certificates (in addition to lab report) if needed.
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: 5 p.m. next day after collection

McCampbell Analytical
1534 Willow Pass Road Pittsburg, California
Hours: 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., seven days a week
Cost: 3-hour results are $699, 5-hour results are $450, same-day results are $250 and next-day results are $180.
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: See above

Color
Embarcadero site at Piers 30/32, Bryant and Embarcadero
Hours: Varies by location
Cost: Free
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: One to three days

Alameda Health Systems
Various locations throughout Alameda County
Hours: Varies by location
Cost: Covered by insurance
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: Two to three days

County of Santa Clara
Various locations throughout Santa Clara County
Hours: Varies by location
Cost: No upfront cost
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: Varies by location

Downtown Medical Group
450 Sutter Street, Suite 1723 San Francisco, California
Hours: Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $250 for next-day turnaround, $375 for same-day turnaround
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: See above

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

Tufts Medical Center
276 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts
Hours: Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m
Cost: If insurance does not cover a test, the cost is $135
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: Results may be delayed 48 to 72 hours

CareWell Urgent Care
Cambridge Inman Square
1400 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts
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: Yes
Turnaround time: Varies

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

BetterMed Urgent Care – Charlotte
Various locations throughout Charlotte
Hours: Varies by location
Cost: For those with commercial health insurance, the expected out-of-pocket cost for the medical evaluation and test is your copay. For self-pay PCR medical evaluation and test will cost $159 plus outside lab costs in North Carolina
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: Three to five days

StarMed Healthcare
Various locations throughout Charlotte
Hours: Varies by location
Cost: Covered at 100% for most insurance carriers, or $199 for self-pay. There’s a $195 out-of-pocket fee for lab rush.
Appointment required: No
Turnaround time: One to three days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Chicago

Howard Brown Health
Various locations throughout Chicago
Hours: Varies by location
Cost: Free
Appointment required: No
Turnaround time: Three to seven days

Innovative Care
1111 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, Illinois
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
Turnaround time: Two to four days

Prime Care Physicians
1355 Remington Road, Suite Q, Schaumburg, Illinois
Hours: Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cost: $125 self-pay, most insurance accepted
Appointment required: No
Turnaround time: Same day if tested before 2 p.m., next day if tested after 2 p.m.

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

The Centers, Midtown Office
4500 Euclid Avenue Cleveland, Ohio
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and the first and third 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

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Columbus, Ohio 

Hometown Urgent Care
Various locations throughout Columbus
Hours: Varies by location
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: Two to four days

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

Ayass BioScience Drive-thru
8501 Wade Blvd Bldg 7 Frisco, Texas
Hours: Hours are shown upon registration
Cost: Covered by insurance
Appointment required: Strongly preferred. Walk-ins are permitted but will require filling in paperwork on-site
Turnaround time: Same-day results if collected by 2 p.m.

Real Time Laboratories
4100 Fairway Ct. Suite 600 Carrollton, Texas
Hours: Open daily; see website for details
Cost: $125 to $475 depending on turnaround time
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: 6 to 48 hours, depending on the test

DevLab Bio
4100 Fairway Drive, Suite 100, Carrollton, Texas
Hours: Open Monday to Saturday; see website for details
Cost: Covered by insurance, except for travel requests
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: Same-day or next-day results

State of Texas/Texas Division of Emergency Management
Various locations throughout Dallas County
Hours: Varies by location
Cost: Free
Appointment required: No
Turnaround time: Varies by location

L&H Scientific
2801 Osler Drive, Building B, Suite 123, Grand Prairie, Texas, 75051
Hours: Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Prices start at $150 to $425, depending on turnaround time
Appointment required: Strongly encouraged. Same-day results require testing before 3 p.m.
Turnaround time: Same-day to 48 hours

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Denver, Colorado 

American Family Care Urgent Care
Various locations throughout Denver
Hours: Varies by location
Cost: Most major insurance covered
Appointment required: No
Turnaround time: Three to five days

Advanced Urgent Care
Various locations throughout Denver
Hours: Seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Cost: Covered by most major insurance
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: Three to seven days

Various locations throughout Denver
Hours: See site for details
Cost: Accepts all insurances in cases of symptoms, exposure, or doctor recommendations; for travel or other purposes, testing is $200
Appointment required: No
Turnaround time: Within 48 hours

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Detroit, Michigan 

CVS Minute Clinic
1935 Campbell, Detroit, Michigan
Hours: Pharmacy open until 8 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
Various locations throughout Houston
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
Various locations throughout Houston
Hours: See website for details
Cost: $199
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: Two to three days

Memorial Village ER
14520 Memorial Dr. Houston, Texas
Hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.‬ every day
Cost: $150 or insurance is accepted
Appointment required: No
Turnaround: Two to three days

Rapid COVID Clinic
Various locations throughout Houston
Hours: Varies by location
Cost: $250
Appointment required: Appointments preferred, drive-ins accepted
Turnaround time: Next-day results

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Las Vegas, Nevada

Pharmatech
546 N Eastern Ave Suite 130, Las Vegas, Nevada
Hours: See website for more information
Cost: $120
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: One to two days

Cuur Diagnostics
3450 S. Maryland Pkwy Las Vegas, Nevada
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
Various locations throughout Los Angeles
Hours: See website for more information
Appointment required: Yes
Cost: $195 for 24- to 36-hour turnaround, $175 for 1-hour turnaround (not covered by insurance)
Turnaround time: Depends on the level of service booked

Curative
Various locations throughout Los Angeles
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, California
Hours: Monday-Saturday; see website for specifics
Costs: $164
Appointment Required: Yes
Turnaround time: 24 to 48 hours, next-day available with expedited processing for an extra cost

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

Lab Doctor
1425-A SE 17th St, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hours: Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: $179
Appointment required: No
Turnaround time: Next-day results

Miami-Dade County testing sites
Various locations throughout Miami-Dade County
Hours: Varies by location
Cost: Free
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: Two to three days

American Scientific Diagnostics
1860 Old Okeechobee Road Suite 508, West Palm Beach, Florida
Hours: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $150 for next-day results, $250 for same-day results
Appointment required: Yes, it can be booked online
Turnaround time: 12 to 48 hours

LabDX
1515 NW 167th St Suite 410, Miami Gardens, Florida 33169
Hours: Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $129 for home or office visit, or $89 per test when you drive up to the lab. Mention the discount code LABDX10PTSGUY for an exclusive $10 discount from TPG.
Appointment required: Yes for Concierge, walk-ins accepted at Lab drive-up location
Turnaround time: Within 24 to 36 hours

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

CVS
3655 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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 longer wait times. In response, the city announced on Nov. 30 it would roll out a new online wait tool for testing sites throughout New York City.

If you require a quick PCR test, however, NYU Langone Health might be your best option. I got a PCR test at an NYU Langone Health hospital in Murray Hill in early January and received results in just 12 hours. NYU Langone Health offers an appointment system, where you take a Zoom health screen before scheduling a test.

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
Various locations in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx
Hours: Varies by location
Cost: Accepts insurance or $200
Appointment required: No
Turnaround time: Results in 24 to 48 hours

CityMD
Various locations across New York City and the boroughs
Hours: Varies by location
Cost: CityMD is not collecting copayments for COVID-19 related visits
Appointment required: No
Turnaround time: Five to seven days

OnSite Safe
Location in Chelsea with home or office visits for groups of five people or more
Hours: Monday to Saturday; see website for specifics
Costs: $184
Appointment Required: No
Turnaround time: Two days, next-day available with expedited processing for an extra cost

There are several free COVID-19 testing options available for Newark residents, with no appointment or insurance needed. Get more information here.

In-home COVID-19 testing programs include:

Zeel
Offers COVID-19 swab PCR testing in homes and offices, administered by LPNs and RNs, to the New York-metro area. Available in New York City, Westchester County, Nassau County, North Jersey and Lower Fairfield County, Connecticut.
Cost: $249 for the first person tested in-home plus $50 per additional person.
Turnaround time: Results within 24 hours.

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

COVID Testing LLC
Various locations throughout Orlando
Hours: Varies by location
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 before noon.

Paramount Urgent Care
Various locations throughout Orlando
Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Cost: Free for self-pay and insured patients, excluding Medicaid
Appointment required: No
Turnaround time: Three to four hours

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

American Family Care (AFC) Urgent Care
1444 W. Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cost: No charge for PCR tests with insurance
Appointment required: Yes, and telemedicine visit
Turnaround time: One to three days

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Curative
Various locations throughout Pittsburgh
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 Portland, Oregon 

American Family Care Urgent Care
Various locations throughout Portland
Hours: Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $139 to $199, depending on test type
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: 15 minutes to five 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 

Intermountain Health
Various locations throughout Salt Lake City
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

Various locations throughout Salt Lake City
Hours: See site for details
Cost: Accepts all insurances in cases of symptoms, exposure or doctor recommendations; for travel or other purposes, testing is $200
Appointment required: No
Turnaround time: Within 48 hours

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

Discovery Health MD
Two locations: DoubleTree Suites – Southcenter and Seattle Airport
Hours: See site for details
Cost: $176
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: Same-or next-day, depending on what you booked

Seattle testing locations
Various locations throughout Seattle
Hours: Varies by location
Cost: Free
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: Two to three days

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

ARCpoint Labs
11255 Olive Blvd, Creve Coeur, Missouri
Hours: Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $250 for same-day results
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: Same-day or 48 to 60 hours, depending on what you booked

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

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

Preston’s Pharmacy
Various locations in Arlington and Fairfax
Hours: Monday to Saturday, check the website for details
Cost: $45 for three- to five-day PCR testing, expedited processing available for an additional cost
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: Three to five days, faster for expedited processing

McLean Pharmacy
1392 Chain Bridge Road, Mclean, Virginia
Hours: Appointments scheduled Monday to Friday at 9 a.m. only
Cost: $200 for a 48-hour turnaround and $250 for a 24-hour turnaround
Appointment required: Yes
Turnaround time: See above

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, turnaround times can still fluctuate.

A two- to four-day turnaround time was common with our December 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.

Some providers that initially guaranteed results in 24 or 48 hours have increased their turnaround times, in some cases up to seven days. That means 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. However, these rapid PCR test options will cost extra and aren’t yet available 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, if 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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