Going on your 1st post-pandemic vacation? Experts recommend overpreparing

ATLANTA — It’s starting to heat up. Students are starting to get out of school for the summer, and many families are looking to head out on vacation.

COVID-19 cases are dropping, but mask requirements and certain restrictions remain in place throughout the summer.

Several metro Atlanta families are getting their summer travel plans ready.

“[We’re] going back to Orlando, going back to Universal, thinking about going and seeing family we haven’t seen in a year,” said traveler Kelvin Meregildo.

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But experts told Channel 2′s Matt Johnson you might want to overprepare for your first post-pandemic vacation. Many things look different from how they were in 2019.

“It’s going to be a weird experience because it’s been like over a year, year and a half,” said traveler Calvin McCurdy.

It can take up to two hours for the entire process from checking in to boarding your flight. Internationally, things are more difficult than ever.

“Even if you’re fully vaccinated, you need a negative test to get back into the country,” said Shelby Behret with Cruise Planners.

“[Travelers] were literally left stranded in many cases. And there’s a lot of things that could have been prevented,” said Jason Block with Travel Quest Network.

Each country has different documentation you are expected to show, and not having it can lead to different disasters.

“You lose that flight, and you have to rebook yourself, or you have to scramble to get the documentation that they’re looking for,” Behret told Johnson.

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Local doctors said one of the reasons 3.2 million Georgians are now fully vaccinated is because they want to travel with fewer concerns.

“You can travel with more liberties if you’re vaccinated. So there is certainly an upside to being vaccinated,” said Dr. Gary Voccio with the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Northwest District.

People aren’t just looking ahead to this summer either. They’re planning out the next several years of trips.

“The late summer and into the fall is where travelers are really going to get the best value for their travel dollar as we start to get into 2022. And even into 2023, we’re seeing prices are much higher for the same product in 2021,” said Block.

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Meregildo told Johnson he just got his second vaccine dose, and a trip to see family in the Dominican Republic isn’t too far away.

“We want to travel, and now we feel safe; now we’re vaccinated,” he said.