How I Used Free Govt At-home Covid Test plus Rapid Test and Trace for Pre-Cruise Covid Clearance

Over the past two years, I’ve done many, many Covid tests before and after traveling. In the past, I’ve simply made an appointment at my local CVS store. I’ve taken both PCR and antigen tests as required.

So, for my recent cruise, Royal Caribbean required a negative Covid test 2 days prior to sailing. I figured I would simply go to my old standby, CVS. However, when I went online to make an appointment two weeks before my cruise, I discovered that CVS was no longer doing antigen tests near me. The PCR test was not guaranteed to give me results on time, and my nearby Walgreens was being remodeled. I needed to find another option.

I looked into buying Covid test kits that included online proctoring. But, I found something even less expensive.

Rapid Test & Trace

On a cruise message board, a few people recommended Rapid Test & Trace. This company lets you use a Covid test kit you already have in possession and add online proctoring.

My family has several Covid test kits at home from the free government test kit giveaway. I purchased “Observed Test for Travel” from Rapid Test & Trace for $20 a person. I had to make separate appointments for each of us. But, since we were testing on a school day, it was nice that we could pick a time that worked for us and do the test at home.

On the morning of the test, I received an email with a meeting link. It turns out I needed to download Microsoft Teams app on my phone for it to work. The rep ended up doing all 4 tests on the same appointment.

One by one, we did our Covid test in front of the camera. While we waited for the results, we verified our passport numbers and birthdates (required for the cruise tests). After 15 minutes, the rep emailed our negative test results and stayed on the meeting to verify that we received them. That was it!

I had no issues at the cruise port with this company or lab.

Free Covid tests from the government

Using for U.S. Re-entry?

Currently, the U.S. still requires everyone who enters the country by plane to show a negative Covid test. I know Covid tests will be readily available in Europe, but the price at airports is steep. I’m considering bringing our “free” tests with us and using Rapid Test & Trace for our re-entry tests.

Of course, I hope that the U.S. will drop this re-entry testing requirement. Most other countries have stopped. But, who knows. Until then, it’s nice to have at-home options.

What is your go-to convenient Covid test for travel?

I have no affiliation with Rapid Test & Trace. I’m just sharing my experience.

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