April 12, 2024

Is Dupe Travel a good idea? Experts weigh in.

From ‘silent travel’ to ‘slow travel’: there is no shortage of new travel trends and terminology these days.

But one that has gained particular attention on social media and IRL is the concept of ‘dupe travel’ or ‘travel dupes’. Indeed, Instagram and TikTok are awash with inspiration and information about this increasingly popular approach to choosing a destination.

But what exactly is a dupe trip and how does it work? Below, experts explain the pros and cons of this trend.

What are travel dupes?

“Travel dupes are a current trend where people are looking for cheaper, less crowded alternatives to popular destinations, but where they can still enjoy many of the same attractions or cultural activities,” says Eric Rosen, director of travel content at the website. The points man.

In recent years, we’ve seen airfare, hotel rates, and other travel costs rise significantly, so it’s only natural that people are pursuing more cost-effective options that allow them to sample the wanderlust magic that’s all over Instagram and TikTok without breaking the bank. the couch.

“I define [a travel dupe] as a location with a similar aesthetic appeal to a famous city or tourist attraction,” says Gabby Beckford, the founder of travel site Packs Light. “Like visiting the Philippines for beautiful Southeast Asian beaches instead of Thailand or the beaches of Turkiye instead of Greece.”

The idea is to avoid overpriced hotspots and discover destinations that offer a similar atmosphere without the huge crowds and high prices. Think Slovenia instead of Italy, Quebec City instead of Geneva or Liverpool instead of London.

“Some examples go to Portugal instead of Italy, Antwerp instead of Paris, or a slightly different variant goes to smaller, lesser-known islands in Greece instead of Santorini or Mykonos,” says Wendy Diep, co-founder of group travel. app Let’s Jetty.

She noted that millennial and Gen Z travelers tend to be more flexible when it comes to travel, which helps them pursue their goal of exploring new places while saving money.

“They don’t necessarily say, ‘Hey, I really need to go to X, Y and Z,’ but rather want to sightsee while experiencing the local culture,” Diep said. “And they aim to visit places that are off the beaten track, so it’s part of the appeal too.”

What are the benefits of this type of travel?

“There are several benefits to dupe travel,” Diep noted. “One of the biggest is of course the cost savings. You can save money on accommodation and airfare, especially as prices in hotspots tend to be high due to demand.”

“And even better, visiting destinations where the cost of living may be lower, or where things are not highlighted due to heavy tourism, can stretch your money further, allowing you to do more or even have more. luxury experiences that you can’t necessarily afford everywhere,” she added.

Diep also praised the opportunity to have a more authentic travel experience and get a real feel for the place if you choose a less touristy destination.

“One of the benefits of dupe travel is discovering exciting under-the-radar destinations that you might not otherwise have thought of – Albania for its beaches, forest-covered mountains and fantastic wines rather than the French or Italian Riviera, or the sleepy 30A beaches along Florida’s Gulf Coast instead of the busy, touristy shores of Miami Beach – all while saving money compared to more well-known hotspots,” said Rosen.

These days, social media is filled with travelers sharing new destination ideas and money-saving travel hacks, so you don’t even have to put in too much effort to get creative and smart with your next vacation.

Connor Smith, vice president of masterbrand strategy at IHG Hotels & Resorts noted that the #dupe hashtag on TikTok has more than 6.5 billion views, reflecting the wealth of information available to travelers and consumers using the wanting to avoid sticker shock from shopping and vacations lately. year. He recommended visiting Krakow instead of Rome, Chattanooga instead of Asheville, Belfast instead of London and Memphis instead of Nashville.

“These alternative destinations tend to be more budget-friendly, so your travel budget can stretch further in terms of accommodation, food and activities,” he explained. “Dupe travel also encourages travelers to push their boundaries and explore new destinations and cultures that they might not have otherwise considered. Going off the beaten track can provide a more immersive cultural experience as these destinations may have more opportunities to connect with locals.”

Overall, dupe travel can be a great way to see the world and stay on a budget.

What are the disadvantages?

“Because they may be less popular, dupe destinations may not offer as many transportation options, including flights, trains or readily available rental cars, as larger cities,” says Rosen.

And while you can find great social media posts about just about any destination these days, you’ll probably have to dig a little harder to find reliable, up-to-date information about places to stay and things to do.

“Finally, once these destinations begin to enter the consciousness of avid travelers, there is always the danger that they could become as overrun as the places to which they provided alternatives – without the established tourism infrastructure to handle the surging crowds.” Rosen added.

Please note that no two destinations are exactly the same.

“Tourists have to be realistic that it won’t be a real replacement,” Beckford said. “There is no way to replace the culture, language, experiences or even atmosphere of a country.”

Be honest about your vacation goals and whether you are looking for a popular destination for specific cultural elements or whether you are just looking for a nice beach and a beautiful sunset. Dupe travel should really be about travel alternatives, rather than replacements.

“Before you book one of these trips, ask yourself: What is my priority?” said Adam Duckworth, the president and founder of travel agency Travelmation. “If you want to see the Eiffel Tower, you have to go to Paris. If you want to cruise the canals of Venice, there really is no alternative. These smaller cities may also have much less to do.”

If you’re avoiding Paris because of costs, he recommends going during the off-season.

Erick Prince, a travel blogger and founder of travel site Minority Nomad, believes that the travel dupe movement implicitly casts a negative light on the “dupes” in question.

“It relegates alternative gems to second-tier status, as if they were just backup plans rather than destinations worthy of their own spotlight,” he said. “Instead of celebrating them for the wonders they are, they are relegated to the role of students.”

He emphasized that popular destinations are popular for real reasons, whether it’s the amazing street food of Bangkok, breathtaking sunsets in Istanbul or the incomparable energy of Carnival in Rio.

“It’s downright unfair and, frankly, a bit disingenuous to pit places like Chiang Mai, Izmir or Salvador against these heavyweights as if they were participants in some kind of travel showdown,” Prince said. “Each of these destinations has its own unique appeal, its own stories and its own merits for exploration.”

While the trend of dupe destinations doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, he challenged travelers to reimagine the way they view these alternatives.

“Ultimately, travel should be about bringing people together, not about drawing lines in the sand,” Prince said. “It’s about embracing the rich range of cultures and experiences this world has to offer, not picking winners and losers. So let’s abandon the exclusionary mentality and open our arms to the diversity of this beautiful planet we call home.”

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