Travel intel to know now from Virtuoso editors and experts.
● Euros vs. Dollars
“Would you like to pay in euros or dollars?” It’s the first question you’ll hear when paying with a credit card at nearly every restaurant or shop in Europe. The correct reply: euros. At issue is dynamic currency conversion, which allows the merchant (and ATMs also) to charge up to seven percent on your total and pocket the profit. Always check your bill: Some vendors will automatically present it in dollars “as a convenience;” it’s your right to have it re-rung in the local currency.
● Airport Security News
Keep your laptop and La Mer stowed. Coming soon to a security checkpoint near you: CT scanners for carry-on baggage that will allow screeners to view the contents of your carry-on from all sides – in 3-D. The machines should eliminate the need to unpack liquids and electronics for screenings and speed up checkpoint processing. (Of course, travelers who have TSA PreCheck can already sail through without unpacking.) The TSA has indicated that the new scanners could roll out sometime after October 1.
● Cape Town Water Crisis
While Cape Town has officially dodged “Day Zero” for now, water restrictions remain in place. Virtuoso agency executive Jack Ezon, who recently visited the city, shares his take: “Yes, Cape Town has a strong campaign to conserve water, but it’s really no different from the initiatives I’ve witnessed in Los Angeles or San Diego when they suffer from drought,” he says. “It gave my children incredible perspective. For the first time, they appreciated what it meant to have running water.” He also points out that, although travelers to Cape Town in peak season account for less than one percent of the city’s population, their presence supports more than 300,000 jobs. “If you postpone or cancel plans to visit the city, many locals may be out of a job.”
● Secret Hotel Perks
Virtuoso travelers who book through their advisors always get extra perks – room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, spa credits, and the like. Now, at a select few hotels, those perks have doubled or even tripled to include, for example, sundowner cocktails and a visit to a wildlife conservancy’s headquarters (Loisaba Tented Camp in Kenya) and a $300 resort credit or an overwater couples hydrotherapy treatment (The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort).
Top photo courtesy of iStock/Getty Images