‘Destination Dupes’ are 2024’s Hottest Travel Trend

‘Destination Dupes’ are the latest travel trend. If you haven’t heard about the fad, they are alternative vacation spots that are more budget-friendly and less crowded than already-popular destinations. Don’t be like every other traveler (because you’re anything BUT basic)—consider shifting your vacation plans with these ‘Destination Dupes’ in mind.

Budapest instead of Barcelona

While we are fervent fans of Barcelona, it’s widely agreed that the Catalan capital overflows every summer with foreign tourists and ridiculous prices. Hungary’s largest city, Budapest, steps up to the plate as an affordable alternative that’s just as architecturally diverse as Barcelona, with its myriad art nouveau, baroque, and brutalist buildings. Budapest’s attractions toggle between depressing and light: The former can be found at the House of Terror—a frightening museum recounting Hungary’s Holocaust involvement and the harrowing communist era its population endured following it—whereas the latter is on display at places such as the iconic thermal pools of Széchenyi Baths, head-swiveling Buda Castle, masterpiece-packed Museum of Fine Art, and undeniably while enjoying an espresso at the spectacularly ornate New York Café.

Stay here: Verno House 

Montreal instead of Brussels

Oodles of Americans like to compare Paris to Montreal—but, other than sharing a language, we don’t see it. That said, it does pose semblances to another major Francophone city, Brussels. While the Belgian capital has mid century landmarks like the Atomium, its Quebecois counterpart ups its epochal architecture game with its iconic Geodesic Dome, sizable Olympic Stadium, and brutalist beacon Habitat 67. Oh, and no transatlantic flight necessary, meaning you’ll save money. 

Stay here: Hôtel William Gray

Buenos Aires instead of Paris

Seasoned travelers often call Buenos Aires ‘The Paris of South America.’ And, as your globetrotting gurus, we approve this message. Historic beaux-art-style buildings line the avenues of its posh Recoleta neighborhood (amble around the sumptuous tombs of Argentina’s generational elite—think Eva Perron—at the Cementerio de la Recoleta and pop into El Ateneo Grand Splendid, an expansive bookstore that was once a dazzling theater), independent Argentine designers helm boutiques that dot Buenos Aires’ modish Palermo Hollywood area, then a crop of impressive European-tinged cafés freckle the city (you can catch us sipping an espresso and munching on alfajores at the iconic Café Tortoni). The US Dollar gets you more in Argentina than in European countries where they use the Euro.

Stay here: Home Hotel Buenos Aires

Puebla instead of San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende is my ‘happy place.’ While I will forever love Mexico’s most fairytale-esque hamlet, throngs of Americans are discovering it, increasing prices across the board. But have no fear, other alternatives exist, including the Mexican town of Puebla, which leads with enchantment: its storied, colorful Spanish Colonial-style buildings line pedestrianized cobblestone streets, housing the folkloric Museo Amparo, art nouveau library Biblioteca Palafox, grand dame cathedral Zócalo de Puebla, and tchotchke-vending Callejon de los Sapos.

Stay here: Banyan Tree Puebla

Chicago instead of New York City

Some consider Chicago to be ‘a manageable New York City.’ The energy might not be equivalent, but several other factors spawn comparison—and not to mention, it’s much more affordable than the ‘Big Apple.’ Witness Chicago’s impressive skyline at the soaring John Hancock Tower‘s 94th-floor observatory deck 360 Chicago, admire the architectural magnificence and city staple ‘The Bean’ at Millennium Park, and then eat the city’s famous char dogs at Weiner’s Circle, a tasty ‘Windy City’ institution where they are purposefully (and comically) rude to you. 

Credit: Adrian Gaut

Stay here: The Robey

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