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Lots of bang for the buck in Europe this summer

Americans can expect good value in Europe this summer, thanks to the dollar's continued strength against the euro -- slowly being phased in as the dominant currency abroad. And when they're ready to head home, U.S. tourists can still count on browsing for bargains in the airport duty-free shops -- which after June 30 become off-limits to travelers whose destination is any of the 15 member nations of the European Union.

The intra-Europe ban was approved in 1991 as part of a long-range plan to create a single-market European community where duty-free shops don't enjoy an advantage over local stores -- except for visitors who live outside the region. Biggest losers are expected to be ferries that run between Britain and the continent and within Scandinavia, whose duty-free shops have been a major draw for Europeans.