We recently traveled from New York to Mexico, so in order to re-enter the US and to follow CDC travel guidelines back at home, we had to take Covid tests. This was the first time any of us had taken a Covid test, so we were not sure what to expect.

Here are our experiences with taking our Covid tests.

Covid test – Mexico

The rule for re-entering the US is that you have to show proof of a Covid test taken within 3 days of departure. We had to show our negative test results at the airport before getting on our flight. We saw this room at the hotel that was being quarantined, because you test positive, you have to quarantine and re-test before leaving. Our fingers were crossed for negative results!

Originally, we were going to take our Covid tests at the hotel, but they only had a 1pm slot available when the Doctor visits the resort, and the tests were $40 per person. We had plans for during the day, like SCUBA dives and day trips, so we weren’t quite sure about making it to a 1pm appointment.

On a quick trip into Tulum, we saw lots of places to stop for $25 Covid tests, so we decided to do that instead, saving us both time and money.

As you drive near the main intersection, there were so many places to choose from, all advertising Covid test. They all looked to be about $25 USD, so we picked one on our side of the road with good parking (and a Hot Summer Sale on Covid test!). While the hotel tests are convenient, it was nice to get a cheaper test (and it saved us $60). If you are at a resort without a car, a. resort test may be your only option.

At the booth, we scanned a QR code with our phones and filled out a form online for each person, including our name, address, age, passport number, and so on.

Once the forms were filled out, we went one by one into a mobile unit to take the test.

The test was administered by a practitioner, and was a long nasal swab. We compared our experiences afterwards, and I think I thought it was the worst, because the kids said it was not that bad! The kids (especially my younger daughter), had some anxiety about the test, but it was quick and easy.

The test results come back in about 30 minutes. We left right after taking our tests, and we received our email results in about 30 minutes. We were all negative for Covid, so cleared to get on our flights!

Covid Test – New York – CVS Pharmacy

Back at home, I wanted to make sure the kids took another Covid test before going back to sports and camps. When I looked at Covid tests, there were a variety of rapid and PCR tests (all free). Of all the locations (urgent care, pharmacies), I found that my local CVS PCR test was the most convenient.

I went on CVS.com and searched for my local CVS, just a mile or so from my house. I chose a time. In this case, it was about noon and I selected the next available slot, which was 3:20. I reserved the time, and I received confirmations via email and text, as well as an informational video about how the process works.

We arrived at the CVS drive-through with our masks on. The employee there pulled up our info, handed us a bag, and walked us through the process.

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Basically, you take a swab out of the package, swab each nostril for 15 seconds, and place the swab end in a tube. Then you place the kit in a drop box, wipe the drop box with a sanitizing wipe, and you’re done.

The CVS website said the results could take 1-2 business days or more. However, we took the test at 3:20pm and I had my results 11am the next day via text (negative for Covid!). Obviously the length of time it takes to come back could depend on how many tests have to be processed, but I was very happy with the entire process and how quickly and smoothly everything went. Additionally, my 11-year-old was happy to administer her own test, compared to the test in Mexico (even though she said it wasn’t too bad). Again, the test was completely free.

Home test kit

We have had a few symptoms here and there where we wanted to test at home. We stocked up on some Binax brand Covid tests from CVS. These can often be out of stock, so check their website or call ahead. The pharmacist also noted that there are usually kits not just in the pharmacy, but behind the front desk checkout, so to check both places. You can also find test kits at other stores and online at Amazon (affiliate link).

The Binax brand kit was basically like the CVS drive through kit. You get one swab, you swab each nostril thoroughly, then place it in a tube. Then you get a readout similar to a pregnancy test. We were happy to have this kit on hand.


Before traveling, we never had to take a Covid test before. I did have some anxiety about the tests, but everything went smoothly. I highly recommend both of our testing experiences if you need to get a test done.

Any questions? Feel free to drop a comment or email me!