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T+L Favorite: Tory Burch’s Travel-Friendly Dress

Tory Burch dress

Q: We’re attending a wedding in Bali. The ceremony is on a beach, but the reception is indoors. Can you recommend a dress for the occasion? —Hiromi Tsunashima, Coral Gables, Fla.

A: The batik-style print of this silk dress by Tory Burch ($350) evokes the traditional look of the region but is still lightweight and travel-friendly. The long sleeves—a must for formal events in Bali—are fairly loose-fitting, cool enough for the beach but also just right for air-conditioning. Add sandals and a clutch and you’re good to go.

Packing is rarely easy—we’re here to help. Send your question to tripdoctor@aexp.com.

Photo courtesy of Tory Burch

Packing Tips for Business Travel

business travel packing tip: Land's End tie

Q: I take frequent business trips and want to update my wardrobe. Any advice? —John Kinninger, Las Vegas, Nev.

A: The new reversible ties from Canvas Lands’ End ($50) multiply your style options without adding bulk. It’s also worth investing in Ted Baker’s three-piece suit ($825), made from wool that’s spun specifically to resist creases. You’ll go from plane to boardroom looking like you mean business.

Packing is rarely easy—we’re here to help. Send your question to tripdoctor@aexp.com.

Photo by John Lawton

How to Book Insurance for a Foreign Rental Car

rental car insurance

Q: I’m renting a car abroad. Should I get collision insurance through the rental agency or my credit card? —Hannah W., Portland, Ore.

A: Domestically, the answer would be simple: go with the insurance offered by your credit card company (after reading the fine print, of course). Once you head overseas, though, it becomes much more complicated. All four major card networks offer qualifying cardholders some form of insurance for international rentals, but you have to check your policy carefully. American Express (Travel + Leisure’s parent company), MasterCard, and Visa do not cover rentals in Ireland, Israel, and Jamaica. American Express also disqualifies cars in Italy, Australia, and New Zealand. There are other exceptions (American Express doesn’t cover certain SUV’s; MasterCard won’t let you drive on unpaved roads; most policies preclude rentals of exotic and expensive vehicles), so do your homework. Cardhub.com provides an excellent annual comparison of all of these policies.

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Do You Need a Chip & PIN Card?

chip and pin card

Q: What’s a Chip & PIN card, and do I need one if I’m going to Europe?

A: For the past decade, Europe has been moving away from the swipe-and-sign credit cards that we use domestically and toward those employing a Chip & PIN system (also called EMV). These cards protect users from fraud by asking them, with each purchase, to confirm a numeric code that’s stored in the card’s data chip. But although Chip & PIN is now the primary payment method in much of Europe, you can still get by with your American plastic—just as long as you can find an attendant to process the transaction. Even so, it’s best to prepare for the rare occasion when nobody is available. If you don’t already use one, call your bank to establish a four-digit PIN, which will make any card compatible with EMV machines. And while some travelers may feel it’s more hassle than help, you may buy a Chip & PIN Cash Passport from Travelex which allows you to preload euros or British pounds on to a universally accepted card (leftover cash can be transferred back into your bank account).

Amy Send your dilemmas to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @afarles on Twitter.

Photo by Forbes Stuart / Alamy

How to Drink Espresso Like an Italian

how to drink espresso

A Roman institution since 1938, Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè brews 2,000 cups of espresso a day. Co-owner Roberto Ricci shows us how to fit in with the caffeinated locals.

Order: Approach the cashier and say, “Un caffè, per favore.” Or, to make it a double, “un caffè doppio.” Hand over your euros, and make sure to keep the receipt.

Stand: An espresso will cost about three times as much if you sit at a table—a dead giveaway that you’re not from around here. Find an opening at the bar and give the bartender your receipt.

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Trip Doctor: How to Avoid Getting Sick While Flying

how to avoid getting sick while flying

It’s not the air quality you have to worry about (cabin air is well circulated and filtered) but rather germs transmitted through shared surfaces. So wash your hands frequently, use a sanitizer, and clean surfaces with a disinfectant wipe. And always keep yourself hydrated and well-rested.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Photo by istockphoto

Trip Doctor: Dreamliner Update

787

The news over the last few days about Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner has been unnerving—to say the least.

Last night, the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority grounded the aircraft pending a comprehensive review of the fire risk posed by the plane's lithium-ion battery. This comes a day after a Dreamliner in Japan's All Nippon Airways fleet was formed to make an emergency landing because of a defective battery—and a week after the battery was faulted with starting a fire aboard a parked Japan Airways 787 at Boston's Logan airport. Both of Japan's airlines grounded their fleets after the emergency landing. With the FAA directive, other international carriers with 787s followed suit. Among them: Air India, Chile's LAN Airlines, LOT (Poland), Qatar Airways, and United Airlines here in the States.

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Trip Doctor: Hotels and Rate Transparency

The Venetian

Ever wonder what that $30-a-night “resort fee” on your recent hotel bill was actually paying for? Depending on the property, it could have covered anything from Wi-Fi and “complimentary” bottled water in your room to gym and business center access—which you may not have even used during your stay. Either way, you were going to end up paying for it, no matter how enticingly low that advertised rate was. This practice of tacking on additional (and sometimes mandatory) fees to basic rates is known as “drip pricing,” and is most commonly encountered in resort destinations such as Hawaii and Vegas.

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Trip Doctor: Avis + Zipcar- What It Means for Travelers

Zipcar

You've come a long way, Zipcar.

The recent announcement that the Avis Budget Group is aiming to acquire the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company for nearly $500 million marked the pioneering car-sharing service's evolution from an upstart launched at the turn of the Millennium to a lucrative brand with serious international potential. Though Zipcar members (a.k.a. Zipsters) may squirm at the idea of a traditional (read: staid) car-rental agency holding sway over their quirky, beloved service, the deal could have great advantages for everyone.

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T+L's Favorite Travel Shoes: Tieks

Tieks foldable shoes

Q: I’ve seen a lot of folding travel shoes that seem like they’d be comfortable (especially after an evening in high heels). Which are your favorites? —Cass Mitchell, Santa Monica, Calif.

A: You’re right—there are dozens of collapsible shoes on the market, but some are flimsy. Personally, I love Tieks by Gavrieli (from $165), which have a sturdy rubber sole and a breathable leather innersole. Each pair comes in a pouch—and with a small nylon bag to carry your heels. They’re incredibly versatile, transition easily from day to night, and are available in bright patent-leather colors for extra kick.

Packing is rarely easy—we’re here to help. Send your question to tripdoctor@aexp.com.

Photo by John Lawton

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