Black Road to Capri

Like some 70,000 other Americans, a West Coast advertising executive wanted to go to Europe this year. Like many of the others, he was worried by stories of fantastic prices, poor food, primitive living conditions. But he went anyway, firmly resolved to cut corners, stretch every dollar to its limit. What he found out was that the ubiquitous black market in currency enabled tourists to eat well and travel cheaply, though there was a slight risk in patronizing it.

He started out with $300 in cash and traveler's checks, a $500 letter of credit—and by cutting his...

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