The Destination Dupe Travel Trend Is Taking Over For 2024

Consider the alternative.

Photo courtesy of Nayara Resorts
destination dupe travel trends

In the digital age, the rising trend of "destination dupes" has gained momentum across online platforms, as travelers, weary of excessive crowds and soaring price tags, yearn for a more authentic experience. Particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic, countries such as Greece, Italy, and Bali witnessed a surge in tourism, leading to overcrowding at popular attractions and posing challenges to the environment and local communities. While the financial benefits of traveling off the beaten path are certainly appealing, the true essence lies in the opportunity to interact with locals in a more genuine and meaningful way.

Promoting responsible travel and highlighting lesser-known destinations are crucial steps in mitigating the adverse effects of over-tourism. An influx of visitors not only threatens the cultural authenticity of these places but also the livelihoods of the people who call them home, often resulting in increased living costs and a loss of community identity. Thanks to our team of experts, these carefully curated destination dupes offer an opportunity to escape the pitfalls of over-tourism, explore unscathed landscapes, and immerse yourself in the authenticity of less visited locales.

Instead Of Costa Rica, Visit Panamá

Photo courtesy of Nayara Resorts

While Costa Rica is renowned for its lush landscapes and the "Pura Vida" lifestyle, its neighbor, Panamá, shares not only a border but a similar sentiment with a captivating blend of rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes. Serving as a bridge between North and South America, Panama City showcases an impressive skyline adorned with sleek skyscrapers and a lively nightlife, seamlessly blending urban sophistication with ecological wonders. Beyond the cityscape, Panamá unveils its diverse ecosystems, from the dense rainforests of Darien National Park to the pristine beaches of the Bocas del Toro archipelago. Famed for its powdery sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, coral reefs, lush rainforests, and overwater bungalow hotels, like the Nayara Bocas del Toro, Bocas del Toro provides a haven for nature lovers and water enthusiasts seeking a simpler life slightly off the beaten path.

Instead Of Maui, Visit Madeira


Dubbed the Hawaii of Europe, Madeira, an enchanting Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean, captivates visitors with its dramatic cliffs, tropical landscapes, and rich cultural history. In comparison to the bustling Hawaiian Islands, Funchal, the capital city, offers a delightful blend of European historic architecture, decadent wine and cuisine, and vibrant markets, all set against the backdrop of terraced vineyards and mist-shrouded mountains. A haven for hiking enthusiasts, Madeira's levada trails wind through laurel forests and along irrigation channels, providing breathtaking views of waterfalls and valleys. With its pleasant climate, natural wonders, and laid back ambiance, Madeira calls to travelers seeking an appreciation of distinct Portuguese culture, a taste of delicious local cuisine, and an escape into the beauty of this Atlantic gem.

Instead Of Mykonos, Visit Bodrum

Photo courtesy of GoTürkiye

Located on the southwestern coast of Turkey, Bodrum offers a tranquil and laid-back escape, a departure from the lively and bustling ambiance of Mykonos. The town's delightful, white-washed buildings, meandering narrow streets, and vibrant pink florals create a picturesque scene straight from a postcard. This somewhat underrated destination annually attracts A-listers such as Madonna, Kate Moss, the British royals, and Beyoncé, all drawn to explore the stunning Aegean Sea beaches, vibrant nightlife, and chic beach clubs lining the coastline. Beyond the town's energetic pulse, the coastal region seamlessly combines historical wonders, contemporary elegance, and Mediterranean charm, offering a harmonious blend of the old and the new world for an unforgettable experience.

Instead Of Zurich, Visit Ljubljana


Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, enchants visitors with its lush green spaces, medieval castles, and lively riverfront, providing a more serene alternative to the bustling cities of higher-traffic European countries such as Zurich. This hidden gem, as noted by Jenny Westermann, owner of Sanders Travel Centre (a Virtuoso agency), “has all the looks and feels of a great Central European getaway without the high price tag and less tourists.” From the capital, one can embark on a scenic drive to explore the pristine shores of Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, nestled amid the snow-capped Julian Alps, or venture into Triglav National Park — an outdoor haven boasting dramatic gorges, emerald-green rivers, and hiking trails offering panoramic vistas. Slovenia's unwavering commitment to sustainability, reverence for nature, and warm hospitality make discovering this concealed treasure in the heart of Europe an absolute must.

Instead Of Kenya, Visit Rwanda


While both countries offer incredible wildlife, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural experiences, Rwanda’s unique blend has dubbed the “heart of Africa.” Pulsating with energy, Rwanda, is a small but incredibly captivating East African nation that has undergone a remarkable transformation in both economic growth and perseverance. Known for its wild landscapes, rolling hills, and vibrant greenery, the country is celebrated for its commitment to conservation, exemplified by the awe-inspiring mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Beyond gorilla encounters, visitors can embrace the serenity of Lake Kivu, experience canopy walking in Nyungwe Forest, and embark on a safari in Akagera National Park. Rwanda's warmth, cultural richness, and unwavering commitment to conservation make it a compelling destination for those intrigued by the "land of a thousand hills" and, more importantly, "a thousand smiles."

Instead Of Aruba, Visit Curacao

Photo courtesy of Mangrove Beach Corendon Curacao Resort

A visit to the ABC islands — Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao — unfolds a sun-soaked retreat on these well-preserved gems just north of Venezuela. While Aruba claims the lion's share of visitors, Curaçao has emerged into the spotlight in recent years, captivating attention with its unique pastel-hued architecture adorning the streets of Willemstad and a mesmerizing blend of European and Caribbean influences. Beyond its picturesque streets, Curaçao boasts some of the Caribbean's most breathtaking beaches, including Kenepa Beach and Cas Abao, and all-inclusive hotels, like the Mangrove Beach Corendon Curacao Resort. Besides stunning swarths of sand, what is arguably the best part about this island is the vibrant coral reefs, creating a haven for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts eager to explore an underwater realm teeming with marine life. With its warm and inviting ambiance, rich cultural heritage, and diverse natural beauty, Curaçao invites travelers to savor an island experience that transcends the allure of sun and sand.

Instead Of The French Alps, Visit Jackson Hole, Wyoming


Nestled at the base of the Teton Range, Jackson Hole Mountain is a globally acclaimed skiing destination, offering expansive ski terrain and breathtaking panoramic views. Renowned for its challenging slopes and vibrant après-ski scene, this iconic destination offers a winter sports experience like no other. With over 2,500 acres of skiable land, ranging from groomed slopes to challenging backcountry trails, Jackson Hole caters to a diverse ski crowd thanks to the mountain’s deep powder. Furthermore, the rustic charm of Teton Village provides a welcoming après-ski atmosphere, complete with 5-star hotels, like the Amangani, charming boutiques, and a vibrant culinary scene. Whether you're a seasoned skier or a novice eager to embrace the winter wonderland, Jackson Hole promises an unforgettable skiing experience amidst the grandeur of the American West.

Instead Of Mexico City, Visit Guadalajara

Photo courtesy of Guadalajara Tourism

“Guadalajara has the same charm, great food, and cultural scene that Mexico City has but it flies under the radar,” explains Leila Najafi, a freelance travel writer and FORA travel advisor. Renowned as the birthplace of mariachi music and tequila, Guadalajara exudes a lively atmosphere with its traditional markets, historic architecture, and lively plazas. “For a quick day trip, drive to Tequila town and take a distillery tour to watch how the spirit is made,” says Najafi. After immersing yourself in the essence of Guadalajara, let the mariachi bands serenade you in the iconic Plaza de los Mariachis, while the Mercado Libertad, one of the largest indoor markets in Latin America, provides a sensory feast with its vibrant colors and diverse array of goods.

Instead Of Bali, Visit The Philippines

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In the realm of popular Southeast Asian destinations celebrated for their beautiful beaches, vibrant cultures, and diverse attractions, both Bali and Phuket hold their own. Yet, standing prominently in the midst is an equally, if not more stunning, collection of landscapes, turquoise lagoons, and pristine beaches — the Philippines. Within this archipelago, the island of Palawan, boasting over 45 islands, introduces El Nido, a mesmerizing destination enticing travelers with hidden lagoons, vibrant coral reefs, and picturesque coves. This region serves as a haven for water enthusiasts, offering opportunities for island hopping, snorkeling, and diving to explore the diverse marine life beneath the crystal-clear waters.

Instead Of Tuscany, Visit Sonoma, California

Photo courtesy of Sonoma County Tourism

No passport? No problem, “Sonoma is a great alternative to Tuscany,” says Najafi. Adjacent to Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley is, “A charming California wine region that produces mostly Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir,” she explains. Beyond its viticultural delights, visitors can embark on wine-tasting journeys at family-owned wineries, explore the valley's agricultural bounty at local farmers' markets, and indulge in farm-to-table culinary experiences. The region's commitment to sustainable agriculture and farm-to-table dining is evident in its exceptional culinary scene, where fresh, locally sourced ingredients shine and, “range from three Michelin Stars (like SingleThread) to more laidback bistros (like Girl & the Fig).” With its inviting ambiance, award-winning wines, and commitment to preserving its agricultural heritage, a trip to slow down in Sonoma is sure to earn a spot on your bucket list.

The online dupe trend, far from being a mere substitution, it signifies a broader shift towards a more sustainable and responsible travel ethos. This movement is propelled by a commitment to minimize environmental impact and actively support local economies. Embracing the adventure and challenge of navigating unfamiliar terrain not only fosters personal growth, adaptability, and a deeper appreciation for diverse cultures but does so without compromising the enchantment of a memorable getaway. As the famous poet Robert Frost once said, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”