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Cheapest Day 2 and 8 COVID tests – the hidden costs explained

When you need a Day 2 and 8 test package, how do you know what to look for? Is it as simple as searching ‘Day 2 and 8 COVID test, UK cheapest’? Or is there more to consider? As you might have guessed, cheap COVID tests sometimes have hidden costs.

What’s the best Day 2 and Day 8 COVID test to buy?

It depends on your circumstances – cost, convenience and the reliability of your provider are all factors to consider. And you need to know if it’s the correct testing package for your travel circumstances too. Here’s a handy checklist to consider before you make a purchase:

  1. Choose a Government-approved provider
  2. Check where your tests will be analysed
  3. Be sure that the Day 2 and Day 8 test package is the one you need

Top tip: be sure to understand the November travel rules update before you purchase – there’s a guide to testing for travellers arriving in England here.

Choose a Government-approved Day 2 and Day 8 provider

First, you’ll need to choose a test provider who is on the Government-approved list so your gov Day 2 and Day 8 result is valid. You can find the list here – MyHealthChecked is an approved provider, of course. 

Take particular care with the cheapest Day 2 and 8 tests – double check that your provider is on the list and it’s not a scam. If the price seems ‘too good to be true’, it probably is! 

Check where your COVID day 2 and 8 tests are analysed

It’s important to look at whether the test provider has their own lab facilities and can fulfil all testing promised. As demand for Day 2 and Day 8 tests increases, there may be a delay with despatch and analysis of testing kits if the provider you choose is not in control of their lab facilities.

If your results are delayed, you’ll be putting friends and family at risk – and will be asked to take a second set of tests at you own expense – so that cheap Day 2 and Day 8 test kit might end up a false economy, and could increase your quarantine time.

Be sure the Day 2 Day 8 COVID test package is right for you

Now you’re clear on the considerations of what to look for in your Day 2 and Day 8 package, let’s recap on what the test package is, what it’s for, and who actually needs it. Before you get your credit card out, it’s vital to know you’re buying the right test package for your needs.

Which COVID test do you need?

On November 28th, new guidance was released updating the rules for travellers arriving in England. The old ‘traffic light’ system has been replaced – now there are rules for travellers arriving from Red List countries, and guidance for everyone else.

We have created guides to help you understand the rules in both circumstances, but in brief here are the new rules:

  • Arrivals from ‘Red List’ countries
    • If you arrive in England from a Red List country you must stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status. You will need to organise your accommodation and testing package before arrival, and testing is included in the package. Read the Red List country travel guide.
  • Arriving from other countries
    • If you are travelling from any other country, the rules depend on your vaccination status – it’s all covered in our latest travel guide – but in summary:
      • If you are fully vaccinated – people who meet the government vaccination criteria need only take a Day 2 Test. From 28th November, this must be PCR test.
      • If you are not yet fully vaccinated – if you can’t yet meet the vaccination requirements laid out by the UK government and don’t qualify for exemption, you’ll need a Day 2 and Day 8 test package.

For more in-depth information, please read our guide to the new travel rules, or visit GOV.UK.

What is the Day 2 Day 8 test package?

A Day 2 and 8 COVID testing package for travel is a mandatory COVID test for travellers who are not yet fully vaccinated in-line with the UK government requirements. You will be asked to provide details of your testing plans on your Passenger Locator Form as you travel. If you haven’t organised your test before you fly, you face a fine.

The first test will be sent to your place of quarantine to take on Day 2. If it comes back negative, you will be sent a second test on Day 8. If this comes back negative, you can end your quarantine on Day 10. If either test comes back positive, you have to follow the latest rules on self isolation. There’s a handy timeline that explains it all on the Day 2 and Day 8 test package page.

Do I have to quarantine while I wait for results?

If you are entering the UK from a Red List country, your tests will be sent to your government-approved quarantine hotel as part of your quarantine package.

If you are travelling from any other country, you can choose your place of self isolation and we’ll send your tests there.

Reducing quarantine with Test-to-Release

If you are travelling from a country that is not on the Red List but require Day 2 & Day 8 testing, you have the option to try and reduce your quarantine time using the test to release scheme alongside the mandatory Day 2 & 8 Testing programme.

Can’t I just use NHS lateral flow tests?

No. The travel rules state that you need to buy your own PCR or Lateral Flow testing from a Government-approved provider to be compliant after travel. Unvaccinated travellers must have a PCR test instead of a lateral flow test. This is because PCR tests are more reliable than lateral flow tests. You can read about the benefits of PCR testing here and you can find the list of approved providers here.

Where can I buy day 2 and 8 COVID tests?

MyHealthChecked offers reliable Day 2 & 8 testing. We are a Government-approved provider, and run our own labs – so you can be really confident about getting your test and results in good time . You can also pick up a MyHealthChecked Day 2 and Day 8 test package in Boots or Lloyds if you’d prefer.

Reviewed and updated 28/11/2021

Date of publication 26/05/2021


GOV.UK – Guidance – Red list of countries and territories

GOV.UK – Booking and staying in a quarantine hotel if you’ve been in a red list country

GOV.UK – Guidance – Travel to England from another country during coronavirus (COVID-19)

GOV.UK – Guidance – Approved COVID-19 vaccines and countries with approved COVID-19 proof of vaccination

GOV.UK – Press release – Lateral flow tests to be introduced for vaccinated international arrivals