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New Year Trend - Top 10 Travel Dupes

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one last traveled by and that has made all of the difference." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I keep hearing about a newer trend that is increasing where people are going to destinations that are not as popular and well known, but similar to the places that are populated. These are becoming known as travel dupes. This is partly because of overcrowding in super popular tourist destinations, but also because there are alternative/comparable towns that are cheaper. With less people and more money, it is a no-brainer to visit some alternative towns so you can be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities or have more time to spend wherever your next vacation may be. In this post, I will explore some excellent alternative destinations to those that most of us consider the norm.

Perth, Australia (dupe for Sydney)

Perth, known for its soft-sand beaches and scenic parks while still thriving as a metropolis with small bars, creative restaurants and curated street art. Some of the popular attractions are Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Swan Valley, Cottesloe Beach, Fremantle Prison, The Perth Mint, Perth Zoo, Hillarys Boat Harbour, St Mary’s Cathedral, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Swan Bell Tower, Rottnest Island, and Aviation Heritage Museum.

Best time to visit: Fall

Perth Vs. Sydney

Western coast Eastern coast

Warmer climate More temperate climate

Many beaches More coastal wonders

Thriving arts scene Vibrant nightlife

Laid back vibe Busier with more traffic

Where to stay:

Hyatt Regency Perth

4-Star Hotel

Hyatt Regency Perth features a magnificent lobby spacious guest rooms and suites. The newly refurbished hotel also boasts five restaurants and bars as well as well equipped leisure facilities including a 20 metre heated outdoor swimming pool a fitness centre and floodlit tennis court.

Como The Treasury

5-Star Hotel

This multi-awardwinning, city-centre Perth hotel is the epitome of COMO urban luxury: 48 contemporary rooms and suites with a beautiful pool in the historic State Buildings. Cuisine, wellness, service and lively events give this hotel its inimitable Australian spirit.

Things to do in Perth:

  • Kings Park & Botanic Garden

  • Visit Many of the Gorgeous Beaches

  • Enjoy the Views at Kings Park

  • Wine taste in the Swan Valley

  • Stroll the Lotterywest Federation Walkway

  • Check Out the Fremantle Markets

  • Take a Selfie with a Quokka on Rottnest Island

  • Cruise on the Swan River

  • Visit an Island in the Middle of the City

  • Explore Caversham Wildlife Park

  • Ride Along the Perth Cycle Trails

  • Visit an Art Gallery

Cervo, Sardinia, Italy (dupe for Amalfi)

Cervo is a small town in Sardinia, Italy, famous for its beautiful beaches and luxury resorts. It is located on the Costa Smeralda, or Emerald Coast, which is a popular destination for tourists and celebrities. Cervo is also known for its charming architecture, its lively nightlife, and its marina, where you can admire the yachts of the rich and famous.

Best time to visit: Summer

Cervo vs. Amalfi

cliff-etched roads rocky cliffs

Premier beach destination picturesque views, rocky beaches

gorgeous coastal villages upscale appeal

rustic and authentic more touristy

hardy land and seafood World's finest seafood

less expensive upscale prices

dynamic, family friendly romantic, iconic

Where to stay:

7 Pines Resort

7Pines Resort Sardinia is a beachfront resort cradled in the natural contours of Baja Sardinia. Tempting paths weave through sprawling fragrant gardens to the secluded beaches. Inviting suites and rooms blend tradition with effortless comfort harmonised with the iridescent sea, warm sands, and tranquil atmosphere. Hedonists will find sanctuary and sublime relaxation in the spacious Pure Seven spa.

5-Star Hotel

CPH Pevero Hotel

5-Star Hotel

With a sea that seems impossibly iridescent and sands that go on for miles- CPH Pevero Hotel could be part of an Indian Ocean archipelago. In fact, this blissful beach retreat enjoys one of the most prestigious addresses on the Emerald Coast of Sardinia. Parasol shaded loungers are dotted around the five lagoon pools. Meanwhile, two beautiful beaches are a mere stroll from the rooms and suites. Horse ride through the rocky dunes of Grande Pevero. Or sip cocktails beneath a parasol on Piccolo Pevero with loungers exclusive to CPH Pevero Hotel guests. While doing absolutely nothing is tempting, there are plenty of activities to get energy levels up- scuba diving, deep sea fishing, tennis or even a round of golf on the course that hosted the Italian Open. Bookend each day at one of the CPH Pevero restaurants. There are three to choose from- from sunrise breakfasts beside the pool at Le Piscine Grill to the contemporary twists on Sardinian favourites at Zafferano. For a romantic dinner for two, Atmosphera very much lives up to its name. And when it comes to a delicious digestivo, the bright lights and A-list elegance of Porto Cervo and its cocktail bars are close by.

Things to do in Sardinia:

  • Visit the Stella Maris church, a white building with a cone-shaped bell tower and a sculpture by Pinuccio Sciola, overlooking the marina.

  • Explore the Pevero Health Track, a hiking trail that offers stunning views of the coast and the beaches.

  • Relax on the Spiaggia del Pevero, a beautiful beach with clear water and fine sand, or on the Cala Granu Beach, a smaller and quieter cove.

  • Admire the luxury yachts and the boutiques in the Porto Cervo Center, the heart of the town with a charming little square.

  • Enjoy the nightlife and the parties at the clubs and bars that attract celebrities and VIPs.

  • Experience the culture and the cuisine of Sardinia at the Porto Cervo’s Food Festival in September or the Porto Cervo’s Wine Festival in May.

  • Watch or join the sailing events, such as the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup regatta, organized by the Costa Smeralda Yacht Club.

  • Visit the nearby seaside resorts, such as Poltu Quatu, Baia Sardinia or Cannigione, or take a day trip to the La Maddalena Archipelago, a natural park with stunning islands and beaches.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (dupe for Riviera Maya)

San Miguel de Allende is a small town in Guanajuato, Mexico, filled with things to do, whether you’re in town for a day or a week. It’s a cultural hub, with plenty of art exhibition spaces and live music performances around town in the evenings.

Best time to visit: Fall/Winter

San Miguel de Allende vs. Riviera Maya

small colonial town Stretch of coastline

temperate climate tropical climate

rich cultural experiences tourist vibe

generally cheaper more expensive

relaxing and charming adventure & nightlife

Casa No Name

4-Star Hotel

Originally built for the local bishop in the 18th century, this stunning six-room mansion is tucked into the heart of San Miguel de Allende. All rooms are distinct, in both layout and in content, some with fireplaces, some with balconies, and one, the Naia suite, featuring a window in the floor, looking down into an abandoned 18th-century tunnel. Tunnels aside, though, they’re all as warm and welcoming as could be, decorated with the eclectic eye you’d expect of a fashion insider and art collector. What edges Casa No Name close to luxury-hotel territory — along with the exceptional comfort of the rooms — is probably the rooftop terrace, with its hot tub, its tented spa, and its cozy little bar.

Casa de Sierra

5-Star Hotel

Belmond Casa De Sierra Nevada is located in San Miguel de Allende in the mountains of Central Mexico. The hotel is in the Historic District of town - just one block from the Main Square and within walking distance of local attractions. From the city's elevated location there are beautiful views of distant mountain ranges and lakes. . Belmond Casa De Sierra Nevada is an award winning boutique hotel offering luxury services and warm Mexican hospitality. The hotel has two of the towns top restaurants plus the Laja Spa providing luxury amenities - traditional healing and modern therapies in beautiful colonial style treatment rooms. Sazon Cooking School is located in a magnificent 18th century mansion. Expert chefs lead acclaimed courses covering regional and traditional Mexican cuisine. The hotel has a beautiful outdoor swimming pool and exercise facilities. Belmond Casa De Sierra Nevadas 37 deluxe rooms and suites housed in six beautiful colonial style mansions throughout the hotel complex. Design follows the original architecture - so each accommodation has a unique colonial indigenous hybrid decor. Exquisite furnishings include art and antiques - sumptuous fabrics - richly colored Talavera tiles - fine linens and delicate amenities. Accommodations are charming and spacious with king sized beds - and most have a fireplace, private balcony or terrace plus a comfortable lounge area.

Things to do in San Miguel de Allende:

  • Visit the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, the iconic pink church that dominates the town’s skyline.

  • Explore the El Charco del Ingenio, a botanical garden and nature reserve that showcases the diversity of the local flora and fauna.

  • Enjoy the art and culture of San Miguel de Allende, which has attracted many artists, writers, and musicians over the years. You can visit the numerous galleries, museums, and workshops, or catch a live performance at one of the theaters or cafes.

  • Relax in the hot springs, which are located just outside the town. You can soak in the mineral-rich waters, surrounded by nature, and feel the stress melt away.

  • Experience the festivals and events that take place throughout the year in San Miguel de Allende.

Zermatt, Switzerland (dupe for St. Moritz)

Zermatt is a car-free mountain village in the Swiss Alps, famous for its proximity to the Matterhorn, one of the highest and most iconic peaks in Europe. Zermatt is a popular destination for skiing, hiking, climbing and other outdoor activities. It also offers a variety of accommodation, dining and shopping options for visitors.

Best time to visit: Summer or Winter depending on your preferences

Zermatt vs. St. Moritz

surrounded by the iconic Matterhorn views of the Bernina massif

larger and higer ski area known for sunny and dry climate

offers a variety of winter activities famous for winter sports events

hiking/biking trails sailing, golfing and spas

cozy and charming chalets luxurious and glamorous hotels

Where to stay:

Hotel Firefly

A slick hotel set against a backdrop of alluring Alpine mountains in Zermatt. An edgy, family-run ski lodge, Hotel Firefly provides 16 spacious suites with kitchens for between two to ten people. The flamboyant design in the suites is based on the elements of fire, water, earth and air. Unusual touches include an indoor pool with mood lighting, a spa with a Schnapps Distiller sauna, and a brine grotto. The hotel also has ski-in/ski-out access. Hotel Firefly is a Small Luxury Hotels of the World property. Near Hotel Firefly Sunegga Ski Resort - Bahnhofstrasse, Matterhorn Museum, mountain biking, a nine-hole golf course, tennis, ice-skating, hiking, bars and restaurants.

Grand Hotel Zermatterhof

5-Star Hotel

The Grand Hotel Zermatterhof - situated in the heart of Zermatt - has been extending a warm and hospitable welcome to guests ever since it first opened in 1879. Enjoying a central but peaceful location, this traditional luxury establishment offers both classic elegance and all the comforts of modernity in equal measure. When it comes to satisfying the palate, the Grand Hotel boasts two restaurants - While the Prato Borni with its French-style international cuisine and sophisticated atmosphere is a great place for fine dining there is a touch of the Mediterranean to the culinary offering of the Restaurant Lusi. And the restaurant terrace, two bars and hotel garden are perfect for receptions. The hotel has more than 81 individually furnished rooms and suites with magnificent views of the mountains. And for the ultimate in luxury guests can avail themselves of the hotel's new wellness zone Vita borni. Here you can experience an atmosphere of cultivated wellbeing with a spacious pool- saunascape- treatment rooms and a private spa for couples.

Things to do in Zermatt:

  • Skiing and snowboarding

  • Matterhorn Museum - Zermatlantis

  • Hiking and biking

  • Viewing mountains by cable cars and cog railways

  • Viewing the Gornergrat from the Gornergrat Bahn railway

  • Zermatt Village

  • Enjoy the village's lively nightlife with bars, clubs, and live music venues

Bodrum, Turkey (dupe for Istanbul)

Bodrum is a popular resort town on the Aegean coast of Turkey, known for its beautiful beaches, historical attractions, and vibrant nightlife.

Best time to visit: Spring

Bodrum vs. Istanbul

Port City Cultural hub

boutique hotels, trendy restaurants art, music, food, or adventure

beach scene historical yet modern city

cheaper option pricey

warmer climate temperate climate

Where to stay:

Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay

5-Star Hotel

Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay Bodrum, a luxury resort set on the cliffs of Barbaros Bay, invites you to experience the best of European luxury in a picturesque setting where excellent leisure facilities mingle with a symphony of flavors. For daytime dreaming and leisure, this exclusive retreat also offers a sandy beach, an infinity pool, a sprawling spa and various restaurants celebrating the region’s exceptional culinary highlights.

Mandarin Oriental Bodrum

5-Star Hotel

Mandarin Oriental Bodrum is a resort hotel of refined retreat for getaway and leisure travellers in the beautiful peninsula of Bodrum nestled in Cennet Koyu Paradise Bay. Deep blue skies, crystal clear waters, verdant flora and a year-round temperate climate define the Mediterranean experience. This blissful idyll can become home complete with all the comforts of a private getaway, yet made all the more special by the unsurpassed amenities of Mandarin Oriental. There are 70 guestrooms, 14 suites, 2 villas and 23 apartments fusing contemporary design and cutting-edge technology with the finest traditions of luxury. Floor to ceiling windows in every room frame of the breath-taking panoramic view of the Aegean Sea.

Things to do in Bodrum:

  • Visit the Bodrum Castle

  • Explore the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

  • Enjoy the beaches and watersports

  • Visit the Bodrum Amphitheater

  • Visit the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology

  • Visit the Bodrum Windmills

Palermo, Sicilly (dupe for Santorini)

Palermo is a city in southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Metropolitan City of Palermo. It has a rich and diverse history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, dating back to its founding by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BCE. Palermo is also known for its three main markets, Capo, Vucciria and Ballarò, which are reminiscent of Arab souks.

Best time to visit: Spring or Fall

Palermo vs. Santorini

fun, colorful, diverse stunning, romantic, historic

family friendly less popular with couples

more sights and attractions more touristy with less to do

known for diverse culture/food less food options

nightlife and partying more quaint nightlife

not a resort destination world class resorts

walkng destination hiking destination

cheaper pricey

Where to stay:

Hotel Centro Palermo

4-Star Hotel

The 4 Star Hotel Principe di Villafranca is located in the most eclectic and modern neighbourhood of Palermo; where exclusive fashion designer stores live side by side with top banks and businesses. Its refined and stylish atmosphere and its common areas are decorated with a selection of masterpieces by ancient Sicilian furniture makers, antique paintings and precious fabrics, while the pure and essential shapes of the rooms furnished with sophisticated design elements make every stay truly unique. The hotel features 32 rooms. Breakfast features a wide selection of fresh local sweet and savory delicatessen. The hotel also features a library, a lounge bar, and a fitness room with free access for all hotel guests.

Villa Igiea

5-Star Hotel

An iconic palazzo in a peerless position at the foot of Mount Pellegrino. Villa Igiea overlooks the azure waters of the Gulf of Palermo. Built by Ernesto Basile for the family Florio. The hotel has been a fabled year-round sanctuary for royalty and the Hollywood elite since 1900.

Things to do in Palermo:

  • Palatina Chapel

  • Cathedral House Palermo

  • Palermo Archaeological Museum

  • La Martorana

  • Capuchin Abbey and Catacombs

  • San Giovanni degli Eremiti

  • Monte Pellegrino

  • Palermo Food Markets

  • Teatro Massimo

  • Fontana Pretoria

  • Mondello Beach

  • Quattro Canti

Lombok, Indonesia (dupe for Bali)

Lombok is an island in Indonesia, located east of Bali. It is known for its pristine white sand beaches, jaw-dropping waterfalls, and scenic volcanoes. Lombok is often referred to as Bali’s sister island, but it is less crowded and more serene.

Best time to visit: Summer/Fall

Lombok vs. Bali

quieter and less discovered busier and more popular

prettier beaches party, surfer vibe

better hiking destination livelier nightlife

more places for snorkeling/diving more things to do

Where to stay:

Novotel Lombok

4-Star Hotel

Treat yourself to a fun-filled holiday in traditional Sasak style at Novotel Lombok Resort & Villas. Located just 19 km from the airport, this 4-star hotel is also ideal for a blissfully romantic getaway for two. Partake in one of the free daily activities, join daily yoga classes or learn diving at the on-site dive center, or simply lay back and unwind in lush surroundings. You are sure to find everything your heart desires during your stay at Novotel.

The Legian Sire

5-Star Hotel

Nestled on Lombok most pristine beach with stunning ocean front views facing the famous Gili island. Direct access to white sandy beach with spectacular sunset view.46 spacious suites all facing ocean and two-tiered infinity pools 50 and 70m long with choices of 15 pool villas for those seeking more privacy and serenity. Some of the villas have direct access to the beach. 10 mins boat ride to Gili Air island great for diving and snorkeling. Three restaurants offer local international Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurants use the freshest ingredients grown in the garden and from the local market. Wellness center with selections of spa treatment and Apothecary bar for a tranquil retreat dedicated to serenity and well-being of body and mind.

Things to do in Lombok:

  • Trek to one of the waterfalls

  • Sunbathe on the beach

  • Party on Gili Trawangan

  • Snorkel or Scuba on Gili Meno

  • Explore Kuta Lombok

  • Relax on Gili Air Island

  • Explore Narmada Water Park

  • Visit one of the nearby villages

  • Enjoy Air Kalak Hot Springs

  • Visit a Pearl Farm

Pattaya, Thailand (dupe for Bangkok)

Pattaya is a city in Eastern Thailand, the second-largest city in Chonburi province and the eight-largest city in Thailand. It is on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, about 62 miles southeast of Bangkok. Pattaya is mostly famous for its go-go and beer bars. The beaches and islands in Pattaya offer a wide variety of watersports, snorkeling options, restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops.

Best time to visit: Winter

Pattaya vs. Bangkok

beach cultural experiences

less expensive relatively pricey

local Thai vibe touristy

more beautiful loud and busy

Where to stay:

Hilton Pattaya

5-Star Hotel

Set in the heart of the city overlooking Pattaya Beach and the Bay the stunning Hilton Pattaya hotel is situated above the Central Pattaya complex - a 250 000 square meter center with more than 300 international shops and restaurants a 10-screen cinema and a bowling alley. The airport is only 90 minutes from this elegant Thai hotel. Upgrade to an executive room for access to panoramic views from the Executive Lounge. Swim in the landscaped outdoor Infinity Pool, work out in the 24-hour Fitness Center, or enjoy a treatment in the spa at Hilton. A variety of recreational activities are available nearby including golf watersports water park fun and horseback riding.

Mason Pattaya

5-Star Hotel

MASON Pattaya is a 5-star beach resort that takes the inspiration for its design from the land. The resort uses timber and stone to craft ultra-modern, exclusive pool villas and villas beside the sea. These materials blend into the coastal location and celebrate the sea and the beauty of nature. Stroll around and you’ll soon understand and appreciate how the pool villas, restaurants and central lobby are arranged in a specific but subtle configuration to maximize the panoramic view of the Gulf of Thailand seen from every building. Yet, this is a private Na Jomtien beach resort, with an emphasis on providing an exclusive experience for guests.

Things to do in Pattaya:

  • Party The Night Away in Walking Street

  • Stroll through the Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden

  • Experience The Pattaya Floating Market

  • Visit Art in Paradise

  • Tour Wat Phra Khao Yai

  • Explore Khao Phra Tamnak

  • Visit Pattaya Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

  • Sunbathe on the beach

  • Go Back in Time at Anek Kusala Sala

Zanzibar, Africa (dupe for Bora Bora)

Zanzibar is considered a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania. Zanzibar isn’t just one island but is the largest of the Zanzibar Archipelago, which consists of several islands. Zanzibar offers a variety of attractions, such as historical and cultural sites, natural beauty, exotic spices, and pristine beaches.

Best time to visit: Summer/Fall

Zanzibar vs. Bora Bora

Much cheaper Relatively pricey

More rustic More developed

Pristine beaches more crowded

Feels a bit more ‘local’ Touristy

Where to stay:

Mvuvi Beach Resort

Located on the white beach of Kiwengwa, Mvuvi Boutique Hotel has a spirit of absolute peace. Exclusive and idyllic, built to escape the routine and be immersed into a hidden paradise. There are only eight rooms, meticulously designed and furnished in pure Swahili style, creating the genuine African atmosphere. Local fishermen and farmers are the sources of the kitchen’s creations. Experience fusion cuisine combining authentic Swahili flavors and colors with Mediterranean gastronomy. The location also offers a premium watersports center with kitesurfing, wing-foiling, kite-foiling and stand-up-paddling.

Zanzibar White Sand

5-Star Hotel

Nestled on the pristine shores of Zanzibar, this exclusive sanctuary offers an unparalleled experience of luxury and serenity. Dive into the shimmering azure waters of the Indian Ocean, stroll along powdery white sands that mirror the clouds above, and retreat to the sophisticated comfort of one of the handcrafted villas. Each one is designed to immerse you in opulence while blending seamlessly with the natural beauty surrounding it.

Indulge in world-class spa treatments under a canopy of tropical flora, dine on gourmet dishes that celebrate the rich tapestry of Swahili flavors, and watch the sun set on the horizon, painting the sky with hues of gold and crimson.

Things to do in Zanzibar:

  • Wander Through the Streets of Stone Town

  • Take a Spice Tour

  • Take a tour of Nungwi Village

  • Kite surfing

  • Snorkel and Scuba

  • Visit Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park

  • Stroll Through the Ruins of Maruhubi Palace

Philippines (dupe for Maldives)

Philippines tourism is thriving industry and attracts millions of visitors every year. The country offers a variety of attractions, from pristine beaches and islands to rich cultural heritage and history, to diverse wildlife and natural wonders. Whether you are looking for adventure, relaxation, or culture, you will find something to suit your taste in the Philippines.

Best time to visit: Winter/Spring

Philippines vs. Maldives

indigenous, colonial influence Islamic roots

underground river bioluminescent beach

lively beaches tranquil and serene beaches

Spanish, and Asian cuisines seafood, coconut and spices

vibrant, diverse nightlife more low-key nightlife

more social scene relaxed and private

diverse activities nature-centered

Where to stay:

Lagen Island

Nestled between a lush four-hectare forest and a calm, shallow lagoon, Lagen Island, El Nido Resorts’ Eco-Sanctuary island resort, has the densest forest over limestone out of the 45 islands and islets of Bacuit Bay. Lagen Island serves as a sanctuary for a diverse variety of birds and mammals. Observe and delight in different endemic species flourishing in their natural habitat. Hike through Lagen’s forest trail which leads to a rewarding view of one of the coves on the other side of the island.

Pearl Farm Beach Resort

Pearl Farm Beach Resort was once home to a pearl farm, where precious pearls were nurtured and cultivated as the ocean’s most beautiful gems. Today, it is Samal Island’s jewel; an exceptional destination just off the coast of the bustling Davao City. Here, luxurious comfort, breathtaking Filipino design, a protected natural environment, and the rich culture of the southern Philippines meet. Together, they create a relaxing, private retreat unlike any other in the Philippine archipelago.

Things to do in the Philippines:

  • Visit Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

  • Visit Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

  • Kayak the Lagoon

  • Snorkel or Scuba among a shipwreck

  • paddle boat ride down the Iwahig River at night

  • Sunbathe in Port Barton

  • Island-hop

  • Zipline, cave or visit waterfalls

  • Hiking and Cycling tours

What's next on your bucket list?

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