Buying foreign currency is a lot like redeeming frequent-flier miles: Knowing when to do it can be something of a mystery. Before you leave? After you arrive? "I always recommend purchasing some foreign currency prior to your departure," advises Alex Beuzelin, a senior market analyst at foreign exchange company Ruesch International in Washington, DC. "Once you arrive, you have to buy currency from a change bureau or kiosk at the airport, and the exchange rates may not be favorable." A good rule of thumb: Buy enough currency before your trip to cover cab fare, a meal and hotel incidentals such as tips. Once you pass through customs, chances are you'll find a bank or an ATM with a more competitive exchange rate.
Don't want to go to the bank for currency? At Travelex, order with your credit card and have foreign currency delivered to your address for a $15 charge.
Note: If you're traveling to Europe early next year, remember the switchover to euro notes and coins. The process starts January 1 and ends March 1, after which only euros will be accepted in the 12 participating European countries. For more information, go to the European Central Bank's Web site.
Summer is an ideal time to visit Vail, a mountain resort in Colorado that offers not only a welcome respite from heat and humidity, but also prices considerably lower than during the peak winter season.
What to do: Everything from llama trekking to rock climbing is on the summer agenda. Visit www.vailsummer.com for more information.
Where to stay: You'll find ample meeting space at the Vail Cascade Resort, as well as an excellent restaurant, Chap's Grill & Chophouse.
Don't miss: A hot-air balloon ride over the mountains with Camelot Balloons.
Christopher Elliott is a writer and commentator and the editor of www.elliott.org.