Travel was expensive in 2023 and strong demand led travelers to seek cheaper, alternative solutions to popular destinations. It’s a way to save money for travel in 2024, according to experts.
This idea—looking for cheaper copies or “dupes” of expensive products—was popularized by Gen Z and Millennial influencers on social media and has gained widespread traction amid high inflation, CNBC notes.
What is a dupe and how does it relate to travel?
This is a new term that puts a new spin on the old concept of bargain hunting.
Data shows that travelers took greater advantage of this strategy in 2023. For example, flight searches more than doubled for various “dupe” destinations internationally, according to Expedia data.
Searches for Taipei, a dupe for Seoul, rose 458% in the US and 2,786% globally, according to Expedia. Those to Pattaya, Thailand, an alternative to Bangkok, rose 163% in the US and 249% globally. Similarly, searches for flights to the island of Curaçao, a substitute for St. Martin, rose 228% in the US and 185% globally.
Searches to Perth, Australia, a replica of Sydney, increased by 33% in the US and by 109% globally. Additionally, those to Liverpool, England, an alternative to London, were up 138 percent in the U.S. and 97 percent globally, according to Expedia.
“TikTok popularized the idea of dupes … and the concept is increasingly taking off in the world of travel,” Expedia said in a report published Wednesday.
Affordability is one of the top factors for travel dupes
How affordable some destinations are is among the top reasons consumers cite for seeking out these alternative destinations, according to Expedia.
“If you want to save money on your next trip, consider an alternative destination,” said Hayley Berg, chief economist at Hopper, a travel app. “You can often save money on airfare and hotel prices by choosing an off-the-beaten-path destination.”
US web search traffic for travel double deals increased throughout 2023, peaking in July, according to Google Trends data.
It’s not just the price of the flight
However, Hopper’s flight data shows that not all dupes necessarily work for travelers.
They may need to try a few different alternatives to save money.
Dupes aren’t just about airline tickets. People who travel off the beaten path can often save money on food, hotels and local transportation, said Sara Rathner, travel expert at NerdWallet.
Avoiding “overly touristy” areas, especially if you’re traveling during peak season, can also be a more pleasant experience because of smaller crowds, Rathner said.
When choosing a dupe destination, travelers should research details such as amenities, infrastructure and safety issues, Rathner added.
Reading travel articles and blogs online, and asking friends who may have visited the place before, can give a general sense of possible routes and ease of accommodation and transportation, he said.