Are visions of sipping wine in Provence clouding your thoughts at work? Cave in to them. The weakening euro makes Europe a relative summer bargain. Since its 1999 debut, the euro has lost almost 25% of its value with respect to the dollar. For U.S. manufacturers that export, that's not good, but for tourists it's a boon. The currencies of 11 European countries are tied to the euro, so their values have fallen in kind. In France $1 is worth 6.9 francs this month, versus 6.3 last year. That means a Paris hotel room, regularly $200 a night, now runs about $181. In Italy the dollar buys a hefty 2,038 lira, up 9.2% over last year. Buon giorno, Florence! Even getting across the pond is a bit cheaper. Summer airfares to Europe are down 5% from '99, according to the American Express International Airfare Index.
--By Anamaria Wilson