You’re vaccinated. Can you finally take a vacation?

PETER VOLNY, a retired advertising executive, typically flies more than 100,000 airline miles annually with his wife, and has even been to offbeat places like North Korea and Tajikistan in his quest to visit every country on earth. Fully vaccinated at last, he’s determined to make up for the lost pandemic year. “We are decidedly sick of being homebound,” he said. On the calendar: a five-week Greek idyll, an African safari and a trek to the jungles of Suriname and Guyana. Getting the shot, Mr. Volny said, gave him the confidence that “I’m vaccinated and I’m not scared of anything.”

After a year of isolation and oppressively endless Zoom sessions, many of the newly vaxxed feel the same way. But it’s not a get-out-of-jail-card quite yet: In Mr. Volny’s case, with the exception of Greece this fall, his journeys can’t happen until 2022. And that gets to the paradox of the vaccine rollout and hopes for a travel reboot: Most of the world isn’t ready to roll back testing and quarantine rules for travelers just yet. We’re still in a pandemic, after all, and only a small percentage of the world’s population has gotten the jab.

Many countries — including most of Western Europe— still aren’t open to U.S. tourists. Cases are rising in some areas; most of Italy, for example, just retreated into lockdown after a variant reared its head. You’ll still need to practice social distancing and wear masks for the foreseeable future, especially when you are in public with people you don’t know.

Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which recently eased restrictions on small gatherings, continues to counsel against travel, even for the vaccinated. That’s because there’s still a risk of getting and spreading Covid-19 while away from home, the agency said. But the advice could change, according to a spokesman for the agency “as more people are vaccinated and we learn more about how vaccines work in the real world.” As travel resumes many people will want to dip their toe in gradually, said Joe Brancatelli, who runs the road warrior site joesentme.com. Here, some things to keep in mind as we get on the road again:

An expanded version of this article appears on WSJ.com.

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