We told you we’d keep you informed, and the news is already in: Iceland will be picking up the tab for travelers’ COVID-19 tests on arrival that will allow international visitors to enter the country with no quarantine starting June 15th.
But there’s an important detail: it will be for a (very) limited time.
Iceland COVID-19 test for travelers
We shared that Iceland would be reopening to international travelers on June 15th, with travelers having the option of taking a test, going into quarantine, or providing a recent test result.
The big question was who would pay for the tests: we told you Austria had been offering tests, but they cost €190 (C$290). That’s the cost of 10 days of traveling in affordable countries, all expenses paid. So the test cost is very prohibitive for budget travelers, especially since Iceland is already one of the most expensive countries in the world even without paying for the test.
And unsurprisingly, in Iceland, the same test will cost… 50,000 ISK, or €319 (C$488)!!! 68% more than in Austria—a country that is by no means an affordable one either. Anyway, that’s why we can’t say it enough: Iceland is one of the most expensive countries on Earth.
So the good news is the government will be paying for the test… for the first two weeks.
That’s the caveat. That would mean it would be free only for travelers arriving in the country from June 15th to June 29th approximately. Depending on how everything goes, the government would extend the program, but with travelers required to foot the bill for the tests.
Now, even though Iceland only has 4 active coronavirus cases, we know that many of you aren’t ready to travel yet. That said, many have told us they would at least be considering Iceland in June.
At least you know the cost of Iceland’s COVID-19 test won’t need to be covered by travelers for the first two weeks, which removes one of the barriers.
Are any of you considering it? We’d love to know.
Here are the facts: with their border reopening, the fact that Canada has never had any restrictions for Canadians as we explained yesterday, and at least some flight options possibly being available before then (Icelandair is supposed to resume YYZ flights next Wednesday)… the question finally switches to “should you travel” instead of “can you travel” for the first time in months.
That’s definitely a step in the right direction and something to be happy about as travelers. Since 75% of the world’s countries are objectively doing better than we are in Canada in terms of dealing with the coronavirus, there’s a reason for cautious optimism even for overseas travel, as I said in great detail in the initial post about Iceland reopening to international travelers.
The main issue right now is travel insurance. It normally makes absolutely no sense not to be covered since most good credit cards offer free medical travel insurance (in addition to giving you welcome bonuses worth hundreds of dollars if you choose the right ones), but because of Canada’s travel advisory, that insurance coverage is voided… and it doesn’t seem possible to be covered currently by any plan on the market.
I’ve been looking into the insurance question myself, since I miss traveling so much. Let us know if you happen to have any insights on travel insurance. We’ll keep researching ourselves and we’ll have a lot more content in the coming weeks on what to consider and when it will be responsible to travel again!
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Iceland will be subsidizing travelers’ COVID-19 tests for two weeks once the country reopens to international travel on June 15th.
What do you think of Iceland offering free COVID-19 tests? Tell us in the comments below.
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