Covid Testing in Los Angeles for Travel
(Including where to get tested to comply with the approved list of tests for travel to French Polynesia)
Headed someplace that requires an FDA-approved RT-PCR test for travel? I just had to do this for a recent trip I took to French Polynesia, and the guidelines weren't super easy to understand, so I thought I would spell out the process. If you're in the Los Angeles Area, this post spells out some of your options.
We recently had to get RT-PCR tests taken within 72 hours of departure to French Polynesia in October of 2020. A lot of international destinations are also requiring proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to arrival, including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ireland, Jamaica, the Maldives, Morocco, Peru, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Turkey and Hawaii (not international, I know, but still requiring a test), among others. You can refer to the U.S. News website, which has an updated list of countries open to Americans HERE. Though testing turnaround times have changed at the non-rapid testing centers due to a surge in coronavirus cases recently, there are several companies that will guarantee the results within 24-48 hours.
We used MyConciergeMD and were very happy with the results. Not only do they guarantee the results, but they offer weekend testing and at-home testing if you’re willing to pay the high price. With travel to French Polynesia, the testing is a bit trickier than other destinations because your test has to be from an approved list of tests, and needs to be administered within three days (72 hours) of departure to French Polynesia, with your results checked right at the gate. That means that if you are flying out late on a Sunday or any time Monday or Tuesday, you’ll likely need to get a weekend test, which most facilities do not offer.
What I liked most about MyConciergeMD was that the booking process was super easy (everything was done online) and when I had questions about the testing—particularly, whether or not the test they used was on the French Polynesia approved list of tests, and also whether or not the timing of my appointment and departure were appropriate—I received a response back by phone rather quickly each time I reached out to them.
I actually scheduled my appointment for the wrong date first and they immediately responded to an email of mine and said they could change the appointment. It might not be the cheapest test in town ($225 pp), but I will happily pay that price over and over again for the ease of booking, guaranteed turnaround and peace of mind knowing I was for sure getting the right test. There’s nothing worse than the horror stories I’ve heard about people showing up for their dream vacation and getting turned around at the gate. Don’t let that person be you.
And the best part? Though the test is guaranteed in less than 48 hours, we got our results back in just 18 hours!
Do you have travel insurance for your trip yet? Many international destinations also require proof of travel insurance, with medical coverage, prior to entry. I like World Nomads for their super transparent, affordable insurance policies.
I’ve also been told that GenX labs and Good Life Medical are other great options. Good Life Medical (which actually has a location directly next to MyConciergeMD in Beverly Hills), which costs $125 for drive-thru testing and another $125 for guaranteed 48 hour results, so it’s no cheaper than MyConciergeMD. A good benefit is that they too offer in-home testing as well, for about $375 (for guaranteed 48 hour results).
If you’re traveling to a destination with less strict testing requirements (e.g., not RT-PCR, from an approved list of tests, or within 72 hours—some require up to a week!), you can also get away with getting your test at one of the hundreds of urgent care locations across the county. A friend of mine said she has been getting her tests done at Dodger Stadium. You schedule an appointment window and drive up in your vehicle, and then somebody inside of a container hands you a test kit to self-test in your car, and then you swab your mouth and put the vile back in the bag and drop it in a bucket on your way out. She said she’s been getting results in as little as 1-2 days! She complimented the process, noting it was very easy and that felt very safe—perfect for anyone in the East Los Angeles area.
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