Travel: The Precious Few

That major American export, the tourist, is once again beginning to fan out across what Novelist Nancy Mitford's Uncle Matthew used to call "bloody abroad." The old familiar faces ¬ócollegian and schoolteacher, all-expenser and retiree¬óare about to turn up in the old familiar places, at the old familiar prices.

This year there will be more of them than ever. Airlines estimate an increase of about 25% over last year's record load of 683,000 Europe-bound passengers from May through September.* It is not just that hotels in Paris, London, Rome and Athens are jammed;...

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