Travel in the Time of the Pandemic

Do you know what I’m most afraid of related to my PCT thru-hike attempt? Getting a positive COVID19 test just before my flight to the US. Re-organizing everything in few hours scares me more than the actual disease.

Vaccines + Test = Good to Go

As a non-American hiker I have to obey the rules set by CDC to enter the United States. Or even to board a flight heading there. Now as I’m writing this, I’m required to have a full set of vaccinations to be allowed to board. Luckily the shots approved in Europe are accepted in the US as well.

In addition to the vaccinations, I have to have a negative COVID19 test or documentation of recovery from COVID19. There are several tests that are accepted, but it must be taken no earlier than on the day before your flight.

For me there is available either the PCR test or the antigen test. The PCR can take almost a day, where the antigen test result comes in few hours. Because getting the test result on the way to the airport would be way too intimidating, I’m choosing the antigen test.

A COVID19 home test kit – got a bunch of these.

Nose Picking for My Nerves

Especially what it comes to the antigen test, I’ve heard that it might give a positive result long after the recovery. Because there is no way for me to know if I’ve had an unsymptomatic COVID19 it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Hence I went to the local grocery store and got a pile of home tests – about 3€ each. The plan is to do one test in a week for roughly a month before I’ll start my hike. This way I might be able to catch an underlying infection and get the recovery papers before my flight.

Of course there is still the possibility that I get the disease just a few days before I leave and end up in quarantine after the official antigen test. But at least I’m doing my best to avoid that scenario.

So far all the tests have been negative.

Disclaimer: Always check the most recent travel restrictions and test requirements directly from the CDC.

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Comments 4

  • Scott Naucler : Mar 4th

    You should verify that the antigen test is acceptable. A year and a half ago, I had to travel to Canada for work. I got my Covid (antigen) test two days before, as recommended. I received my negative result and never gave it another thought. The morning of my flight, I arrived at the airport 3 hours before my flight, and I was promptly told, by the ticket agent, that the antigen test was not sufficient, and that I needed results from a PCR test. At the time I didn’t even know there were different kinds of tests.

    I was able to find a place that offered PCR tests with rapid results. The airlines then booked me on a later flight, I took a 45-minute Uber ride to the test facility, waited an hour and a half for them to open, got my test, and then took another 45-minute Uber ride back to the airport. My results were emailed to me and I had them by the time I got back to the airport. It was a lesson in frustration, to say the least.

    Good Luck!

    • Finnisher : Mar 4th

      Hi Scott! That was truly a close call! I believe that I have been pretty thorough with my efforts to confirm that all my travel documents are valid. Currently the CDC website (which I think is the most reliable source) states: “You must be tested with a viral test to look for current infection – these include an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT).” Therefore I think I’ll be fine with the antigen test.

  • Roo : Mar 5th

    FINNISHER!!!!!! No comment on the testing shenanigans, except that I hope you pass all your tests and get on the trail and post frequently so I can follow along and hike with you again in spirit, if not in real life. Big hugs and best wishes to you. Roo

    • Finnisher : Mar 6th

      ROO! I have been planning to email you about this trip. So happy to have you follow along. And why not join, if you have a chance. All the best for you as well!


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