Welcome to Travel Well with Allan Wright!
In this week’s episode, Allan discusses different COVID-19 testing options that are currently available. With proper testing, precautions, and conditions, safe travel is possible in the coming months.
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Can’t watch the video right now? Here’s the video transcript of COVID Testing for Travel:
Hi this is Allan Wright. Welcome to the Travel Well with Allan video update. Today, I’d like to give you a refresher on testing for travel during the pandemic. I’ve been saying for half a year – accurate testing is the solution to safe travel. The good news is we’re getting there. The bad news is we’re not there quite yet.
There are three types of testing you should be aware of. There is the antibody test which tests whether or not you’ve already had COVID-19. Because we don’t know how long immunity lasts we don’t know if that’s really very predictive of whether or not you won’t be getting it again.
The second kind are the antigen tests. Those are the quick result but much lower accuracy tests and the problem with those are the false negatives and false positives you can get. When it’s hard to rely on those for travel.
The third kind are the PCR tests which are definitely the gold standard for testing for COVID-19 almost 100% accuracy for positive tests and really high accuracy for negative tests. The problem is the turnaround time. Six hours for the lab and then additional hours or days for waiting in line to get the lab results or to have the mailing of them back to you.
So this is happening right now. While we have no national policy for testing for travel, what we do have are companies and governments that are requiring or offering solutions for testing for travel.
So just as one example, some airlines are offering on airport tests and even requiring them to get on certain airplanes right now. The negative is these are almost all the quick result tests which are also the low confidence test the low accuracy tests. However, there are also other ones that are being offered to airline passengers where you can mail in your testing results and you can then get a result within 48 to 72 hours. The quality varies, you need to be doing it correctly and then the lab has to be good at it as well, but in general this is something that definitely will give people much more confidence so they can travel safely.
As a very specific example, we at Zephyr Adventures and our new brand Travel Montana are going to require tests for our very next public tour. It’s at the end of February and is a Yellowstone Winter Snowshoe tour. We will ask everybody to do a PCR test in advance either locally if they can get it done that way or we will provide a service online. It will only cost you an additional $119 with that service and you’ll get your tests within 48 to 72 hours. We’ll then also ask everybody to essentially quarantine themselves from the time period after they take the test until they get the results and actually start traveling, and then to be as safe as possible while getting to Montana.
The beauty of this is that we will then all feel pretty confident of being in our own travel bubble and we can keep everybody safe by keeping us together as we’re enjoying the beauty of Yellowstone outdoors via snowshoe in the winter. So that’s just one example of how testing is improving and is something that can actually work to make travels safe.
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