We wanted to give you a taste of our upcoming ultimate guide on cheap tests here in Canada (and even around the world). So we’re starting with at least this tip for $16.99 tests even if there is a caveat… and also the ≈ $30 or $40 tests available more widely.
We’ve often repeated that it’s completely false to believe that COVID-19 testing is necessarily expensive. I guess this myth exists for the same reason that the myth that travel itself is expensive exists. People plan poorly and don’t make choices accordingly… and then wonder why it costs so much.
But hey, that will be for another article to help you travel more in 2022.
They are no longer required to enter Canada, but even molecular tests (PCR) are not necessarily expensive. It’s only in the USA that free tests are easy to find (it’s so sad that lots of people pay hundreds of dollars there because they don’t know the pro tricks), but my 2 PCR tests abroad outside of the US cost me an average of $30.
By the way, it is important to read the introduction to COVID-19 tests for travel, to understand that there are 2 main types of tests: Molecular and antigen.
This tip today is just about rapid antigen tests (the rest will be in the full guide).
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But here are the details of the cheap tests in Canada.
Tests for $16.99 at Costco
The caveat is that this works only in a few provinces and also that the locations offering this (and even appointment slots) are limited. Perhaps because a record number of Canadians are traveling.
We can hope that they will add this service in more locations or add more time slots. We’ll keep an eye out.
First, here are the provinces with Costco locations offering $16.99 tests:
You can see the Costco website (different link for Québec) for a list of the locations that offer this.
The links are the direct links to go book online, but as I found out trying to book some in advance for my almost-free trip planned to Miami in December, it said the appointments were all taken (at least in Québec).
In Québec, YOU HAVE TO BOOK ONLINE ONLY. That’s what their online appointment system is for, via Clic Santé.
I don’t know why there are people who always want to call when something can be done online, I’ll never understand… except maybe in this case since online it says it’s full… but anyway, they still clearly say not to call.
In other provinces, I don’t see the same note about only booking online, but I just checked very quickly.
Obviously, $16.99 is quite a bit cheaper than the $149 test scam at Montreal airport (YUL) for example. Especially since it’s the very same test. Note that even though Costco only accepts Mastercards, there’s a trick to earn over 5% on all your Costco purchases with the American Express Cobalt Card to get a lot more free travel.
But there are still several cheaper testing alternatives available in the meantime.
Tests for $19.97 at Walmart
If you prefer, many Walmart locations also offer $19.97 antigen tests in 4 provinces:
- Nova Scotia
That is also very cheap.
Tests for $25 (plus tax) remotely from anywhere in the world
With our exclusive FLYTRIPPERS22 promo code with Go Rapid Test, you can get a valid test for $25 (plus tax) remotely from anywhere on the planet if you have your antigen tests provided for free by the government (or if you buy some).
They will supervise your test in telehealth mode via video to provide an official lab report.
Be careful: this is accepted to enter the United States (and Canada if you still need it because you are not vaccinated, or for your kids), but for other destinations, make sure to check if telehealth tests are accepted. Unlike the other options in this post, this is the only one that is not necessarily accepted by all countries that require rapid antigen tests because of the telehealth element.
Another option we highly recommend is with Summit Health Travel Clinics, for $45 (tax included) with FLYTRIP5 promo code. They are a great full-service health clinic with plenty of appointment availability.
I used that one for my last 2 trips to the USA and it was great!
You can read more details in our post about remote self-tests coming very soon.
Tests for $40 in pharmacies
Another option is that many pharmacies offer the same service for $40.
It seems available in these provinces:
- Nova Scotia
For the first 4 provinces, it’s through Shoppers Drug Mart.
In Québec, many pharmacies offer this as well through Clic Santé.
In short, you’re still paying more than twice as expensive as at Costco for exactly the same thing. But it’s a lot cheaper than elsewhere at least! And there seems to be plenty of availability.
I repeat that these are rapid antigen tests. Some countries don’t accept this, just like some countries don’t even require a test at all to enter (106 at last count).
Anyway, a newsflash if you’ve just woken up from a deep sleep of 2 years: You have to read the countries’ entry rules if you want to travel, you have no choice. It’s mandatory.
Drive-through tests for $70
With the FLYTRIPPERS22 promo code, you can get a $5 discount on the Go Rapid Test drive-through (or walk-through) test services in many locations across the country. I’ve used them twice and it is very efficient and practical!
The locations are:
- Montreal (6 locations)
The Montreal and Toronto locations are through a different website (Go Test Rapide) but the same FLYTRIPPERS22 code gives you the same discount. Montreal (Saint-Laurent) is the one I used, it’s very convenient just a few exits before the airport!
I’ll soon share a video and review of my experience there too.
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There are fairly affordable tests in most parts of Canada, especially in terms of rapid antigen tests.
What would you like to know about COVID-19 tests in Canada for travelers? Tell us in the comments below.
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