Top 10 ‘destination dupes’ for a more-affordable getaway


Paros, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, is a destination dupe for Santorini.
Paros, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, is a destination dupe for Santorini.
‘Destination dupes’ are holiday locations that offer similar appeal (without the cost or crowds) of popular tourist hot spots.

Ever had a disappointing destination experience?

With annual-leave days limited and prices skyrocketing, it’s frustrating to arrive at a coveted travel location to find it overpriced, overcrowded and far less impressive than the Instagram snaps might suggest.

It’s why a new trend is blowing up that offers advice on more affordable holiday suggestions, pinpointing cities or towns that offer a similar vibe to those of hyped hot-spots and overrun tourist hubs globally.

The “dupe” trend — affordable alternatives to popular products — that has flooded TikTok and Instagram feeds is now taking over travel. Now, ‘destination dupes’ – have been flagged by global travel agent Expedia as one of the hottest travel trends right now.

The organisation says it has chosen ten of the best destination dupes of 2024, calling them places that are ‘a little unexpected, sometimes more affordable, and every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true destinations travelers love’.

Expedia says the destination dupes have all experienced a notable uptick in searches over the past year. In fact, global searches for the Top 5 destinations on the list more than doubled year on year.

Taipei (dupe for Seoul)

The site suggests Taipei is just as much a hub for  tech startups, foodie culture, and fun nightlife as Seoul.

“Even non-nerds will be fascinated by the tech market at the Guang Hua Digital Plaza; vegans will appreciate plant-based menus at the likes of, well, Plants; the adventurous can try oyster omelets and stinky tofu at the Shilin Night Market; and everyone will savor the views from Elephant Mountain, a short hike away.”

Pattaya, Thailand is suggested as a destination dupe for Bangkok.

Pattaya (dupe for Bangkok)

A wide range of entertainment options is also found in Pattaya says Expedia. “The neon lights of Walking Street (packed with clubs and music venues) will give adults one side of nightlife, but (as in Bangkok) family-friendly activities abound, from the Cartoon Network Amazon Waterpark to the resorts on Jomtien Beach.”

Paros (dupe for Santorini)

Santorini, the postcard-perfect Greek island in the Aegean Sea, is undoubtedly a drawcard but it can regularly be teeming with tourists.

“Paros’s ancient marble quarries and Ekatontapiliani Church will give you just as much to ponder as Santorini’s Venetian Castle, says Expedia. “Both islands ooze Cycladic charm, with iconic blue-domed churches, white-washed buildings, and the kind of twisting alleys where getting lost will make for a classic travel story. ”

Liverpool (dupe for London)

Up 97% in searches according to Expedia, Liverppol has two must-do options: “A pilgrimage to The Cavern Club, where the Beatles were discovered (they played there 292 times), or Anfield stadium (and its behind-the-scenes tour), home of Liverpool FC. The city has the UK’s largest number of museums and galleries outside London: Add Tate Liverpool and The International Slavery Museum to your itinerary, too.”

Palermo (dupe for Lisbon)

“The Sicilian city of Palermo checks many of the same boxes: Moorish castles, jaw-dropping views of the harbors, fresh oysters, and cotton-candy sunsets. As with all these dupes, get in before word spreads.”

Quebec City (dupe for Geneva)

Geneva’s drawcards include being located on a striking body of water, a well-preserved Old Town packed with historical significance,  lined with cobblestone streets, and has a multilingual culture. The same is also true of Quebec City, says Expedia.

Sapporo Snow Festival Japan.
Sapporo’s Snow Festival is a winter drawcard in Japan.

Sapporo (dupe for Zermatt)

No cars are allowed in the Swiss ski mecca of Zermatt, so you travel by bicycle, public transit, or horse-drawn carriage. “In the ski paradise of Sapporo you’ll find a similarly charming mode of transport with a vast system of streetcars. Sapporo’s Snow Festival (and its giant ice sculptures) is a capable stand-in for Zermatt’s Folklore-Festival, and as for the skiing itself? Having hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, Sapporo’s credentials are impeccable.”

Memphis (dupe for Nashville)

Memphis is to blues and soul what Nashville is for country music, shares Expedia.

“The Stax Museum of American Soul Music (the famed studio where Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes recorded some of their biggest hits), Sun Studio (where B.B. King and Elvis Presley were discovered), and Beale Street (aka “Home of the Blues”) all give Nashville a run for its musical money, as do the slow-cooked ribs and pulled-pork barbecue.”

Perth (dupe for Sydney)

Looking for a vacation with beaches and plenty of urban culture? Expedia suggests Perth’s Cultural Center (with its Art Gallery of Western Australia) doubles nicely for Sydney’s Art Gallery of New South Wales, and for day trips, Perth’s Pinnacles in Nambung National Park serve as a mini-dupe for Sydney’s Blue Mountains, saying searches for the city are up 109%. It picks COMO The Treasury as the perfect place to stay.

Curaçao (dupe for St. Martin)

Gleaming beaches, crystal blue water, elite scuba diving on your wish list? Expedia suggests the Dutch Caribbean island nation of Curaçao (up 228%) offers “the one-two punch of dives (the coral formations of the Mushroom Forest and cave are a must) and architectural charm, such as the rainbow-colored 18th-century buildings on the Handelskade waterfront.”


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