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US dollars will go further on European vacations right now

By Maureen O’Hare, CNN

This week in travel news: What it takes to master one of the world’s most difficult airport landings, Japan’s picky penguins and why US travelers might want to consider a trip to Europe this year.

Destination inspiration

The euro is plummeting. For American tourists, that means European vacations are more affordable in dollars than they’ve been in two decades. So while airfare and other travel costs are rising, the strong dollar might help offset those increases for lucky Europe-bound Americans.

At the time of writing, the euro and dollar are almost at parity. The UK pound is also weak: It’s exchanging at $1.20.

If you’re planning a trip to Europe, why not consider Occitanie, a region of France that includes a long stretch of Mediterranean coast dotted with laid-back seaside villages and one of the country’s largest wine regions. Or perhaps Dublin, Ireland’s lively, walkable capital where you can take in the sights and then go sea swimming at a bathing spot loved by Harry Styles and Matt Damon.

Greece is another classic choice for US tourists. It certainly worked out for Cleveland native Sura Crutch, who had a fling with an Athens local in 1971 — and now half a century later, they’re still together.

Our animal friends

Back in 2015, New Jersey man Tom Turcich rescued his dog Savannah from a shelter in Texas and took her for a walk. Seven years and thousands of miles later, they’re finally finished. Here’s the story of how one man and his best friend walked around the world.

In other animal news, over at Hakone-en aquarium in Japan, animals including penguins and otters are not happy at all about being fed cheaper fish as a cost-cutting measure. Have you ever seen a more disgruntled aquatic bird than this one?

Wildlife fans might also enjoy CNN’s new original documentary series “Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the World,” which premieres Sunday, July 10, at 9 p.m. ET. Filmed over one action-packed year, it shows what it takes to survive and thrive in one of the wildest places on Earth.

Travel trends

Glamping — that portmanteau of “glamor” and “camping” — is the latest travel fad among China’s young people. Northwest China, where travelers can leave city life behind and be surrounded by farms, pastures, goats and yaks, is a popular destination.

When it comes to trend-setting around the world, the power of the social media influencer cannot be ignored whether you love them or hate them. As the travel world reopens, we caught up with brands and with influencers to get their view.

Hotel news

Norway’s Juvet Landscape hotel is made up of 10 cabins on a vast nature reserve, each of which has a unique view. The minimalist interiors only help to highlight the glory of the forest scenes outside.

Farther east in Dubai, Anantara has opened its new resort on World Islands, an archipelago of 300 man-made islands. Just 15 minutes from shore but totally secluded, it’s accessible only by speed boat.

Nashville’s 112-year-old landmark hotel The Hermitage has just had a lavish makeover.

And in London, the legendary Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair is undergoing a major renovation, with its new interiors set to be revealed in September 2022.

World’s shortest commercial runway

The airport landing on the tiny Caribbean island of Saba is so challenging that only an elite group of specially trained pilots are equipped to do it. Says veteran aviator Captain Roger Hodge, “Once a guy has been fully trained and we’re satisfied, we radio into operations that another Top Gun is born.”

In case you missed it

An Airbus A380 flew from Dubai to Australia with a hole in its side.

Passengers only saw the damage when they exited the plane.

A train enthusiast solved a real-life Orient Express mystery.

It began with freeze-framing a YouTube video.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned Thursday, after a tumultuous few years in British politics.

Anthony Bourdain visited London for “Parts Unknown” just after the seismic Brexit vote in 2016. Here’s how he found the mood back then.

Quit bugging me

Picture it. A warm evening breeze, a margarita and a date night with your beloved at a ritzy resort you’ve been saving for all year. And the one thing spoiling your vibe: your sun-kissed limbs being covered in big, red, itchy insect bites.

To prevent that from happening on your next vacation, our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have tried and tested the best bug sprays on the market. Here are the sprays they recommend.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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