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Switzerland’s new testing rules: How much travelling abroad now costs

If you are planning a foreign trip in the coming weeks, be ready to pay higher costs than before when leaving and re-entering Switzerland.

These nasal swabs will add quite a bit of money to the cost of foreign travel. Photo by JUAN MABROMATA / AFP
These nasal swabs will add quite a bit of money to the cost of foreign travel. Photo by JUAN MABROMATA / AFP

Going abroad this holiday season will cost much more, but this time you can’t blame it only on the price of airline tickets (or another mode of transport if you are not flying).

Instead, additional expenses are due to the new testing requirements that Switzerland and many other countries have put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus, and its newest variant, Omicron, as the epidemiological situation is deteriorating in many parts of Europe and the world.

For instance, on December 4th, Switzerland scrapped the ten-day quarantine requirement in favour of a testing scheme

Under the new rules, everyone arriving in Switzerland must show a negative PCR test and then take another PCR or antigen test taken four to seven days later. 

This requirement applies to tourists as well as Swiss citizens and permanent residents, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.

READ MORE: What are Switzerland’s Covid test requirements?

This is a costly undertaking, according to calculations done by Switzerland’s Watson news platform.

Prices of tests vary throughout Switzerland, but a PCR test for people without symptoms costs around 180 francs and a rapid  antigen test about 50 francs.

Because one negative test is needed by most countries to enter, and two tests are now required to return to Switzerland, you have to add, at the very least, 230 francs to the price of your ticket, per person.

Again, depending on the cost of testing in a foreign country and in your Swiss canton, it could add up to more than that.

This means that if a family of two adults and two children over the age of two for travel to the United States, age 11 for the UK and 16 for most other countries, is going abroad, the cost of tests will add up to 920 francs, which may well be (depending on your destination) more than economy class tickets.

These links provide more information about what tests are needed for entry to the UK and the US, so you can calculate ahead of time their costs, in addition to the price of tests needed to re-enter Switzerland.

KEY POINTS: What are the new Covid travel rules between Switzerland and the UK?

Travellers from Europe to US face tougher Covid test restrictions

Member comments

  1. This also does not take into account the cost of obtaining a Swiss COVID Certificate, which will be needed to enter most bars, restaurants, and other public spaces. It can be presented as a printed PDF document which contains a QR code, or via an app on your phone. I obtained one online from the US recently, and it cost me 30 CHF (about 32 US Dollars). Response time was very quick (<24 hours). Applicants must provide a copy of their valid entry document (e.g. passport/visa), proof of your entry plans into Switzerland (e.g. flight or train reservation), and a copy of your vaccination record (e.g. CDC card for US residents).

    1. Thanks Chris C,

      That’s right, for people from the US or other countries which don’t have a vaccination pass Switzerland recognises, a Covid certificate will cost CHF30.

      This wasn’t mentioned above as this article is about Swiss residents heading abroad (who therefore probably already have a Covid certificate), but more information on this and how to get it is in the following report:


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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”