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    Booked Your First Big Trip In Forever? Here’s What Experts Recommend You Do Before Traveling

    Several things have changed.

    As more people get fully vaccinated and travel restrictions start to ease in different parts of the world, it's understandable that travel might be on your mind.

    A masked airline passenger displaying her digital passport on her cellphone

    If you are itching for a change of scenery and just booked your first big trip somewhere, there are some things experts want you to know before you pack your bags.

    A suitcase with a hat, sunglasses, passport, and small airplane next to it

    To get the full picture of exactly what's changed (and what hasn't) around air travel for summer 2021 and beyond, we spoke to 10 experts.

    Inside of an airport as a plane is taking off outside

    Here are their air travel tips, tricks, and things to remember:

    1. If your destination requires a negative COVID-19 test, pay close attention to the dates for when your test results come back.

    A sample sheet of paper displaying COVID test results

    2. Check your passport expiration date right away — and if you need a renewal, be aware of the extra hoops you may need to jump through just before your flight.

    A traveler holding a passport

    3. Keep your important documents organized — and know that you may need more now than before the lockdown.

    A traveler holding travel documents

    4. If you haven't booked your flight yet, be sure to do so at least three weeks before the departure date.

    Booking flights in advance via Google Flights

    5. Consider buying travel insurance — it may be more important now than ever before.

    A travel insurance policy paper, a calculator, map, and phone spread out on a table

    6. Make a very detailed list of things to pack.

    A small suitcase with packed clothes, a hat, sunglasses, and a mask

    7. Find out your destination's COVID-19 details well in advance of your trip — and then again as your travel dates approach.

    A person looking up information on a laptop

    8. Do your homework on your airline's expectations, too.

    Multiple masks and a small airplane

    9. For the actual flight, pack or buy all your food ahead of time.

    A packed sandwich for a flight

    10. Not ready for air travel just yet? Get your feet wet by going on a postpandemic-travel test drive.

    A person holding a car steering wheel

    11. Find out what the best time of day is to visit popular attractions.

    The Eiffel Tower

    For more information and current guidance on domestic and international travel, visit the CDC's website.

    Have you flown lately — or traveled for the first time in a while? What, if anything, was different? Is there anything you wish you'd known in advance? Share your experience in the comments.