How ‘dupe’ destinations can cut the cost of travel

How can you keep costs down when you want to travel? The "dupe" destination can be a solution. The idea is to choose an alternative destination to your original vacation hotspot, requiring a lower budget while offering a similar experience.

There are a whole host of tips to help cut the cost of travel. While booking ahead can be a good plan, some comparison sites and travel agencies recommend booking a flight on a Sunday, or booking a weekday departure to save cash. Otherwise, you can try booking a ticket at night or avoiding doing the same search several times with the same IP address.

But there’s a more radical solution, which you may not have thought of: opt for an alternative destination to the one you were initially thinking of – one which closely resembles your original idea. Typically, these destinations might be geographically close, or they may promise the same kind of experience because of their cultural and historical offer. In any case, you won’t be disappointed, especially as visiting this kind of “dupe” destination generally costs less than a trip to a better-known counterpart.

Perhaps you dream of visiting the Greek island of Santorini, for example, but you balk at the price of its magnificent beachfront hotels? Then the trick is to opt for another island in the Cyclades, such as Paros, conveniently located to hop to other Aegean hotspots.

Between 1 September 2022 and 31 August 2023, searches for this Greek destination increased by 193%, according to the digital travel agency Expedia, which considers Paros to be Santorini’s “dupe” destination. Over the past year, the champion of “dupes” is reported to be Taipei, designated as an alternative destination for Seoul, South Korea, with searches skyrocketing by 2,786%.

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So how does a global hotspot find its “dupe”?

If the most popular destinations listed by the Expedia platform are anything to go by, they’re often globally known cities whose popularity is overshadowed by the aura of a major destination, often geographically close and considered a must-see when visiting the country or region in question.

In the USA, for example, Memphis is seen as the “dupe” for the world’s country music capital, Nashville. Similarly, a trip to Australia would not be complete without seeing Sydney. However, Perth’s location on the west coast makes it the perfect “dupe,” especially as its skyscrapers and its location on the banks of the Swan River can recall the atmosphere of Australia’s iconic city, home to the famous opera house. Searches for trips to Perth reportedly increased by 109%.

Dupe destinations can also involve city breaks. If a weekend in London is too expensive, for example, why not try a trip to the northwest coast of England, to Liverpool (+97%)?

If the concept of the “dupe” – or at least the term – is new to tourism, it is commonplace in fashion. Sometimes coming close to counterfeiting, wardrobes are now being flooded with low-cost imitations of brand-name items, with everything from clothes and shoes to handbags and even perfumes. On social networks, a host of influencers proudly show off the very similar fashion items they’ve bought at much lower prices.

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