“Destination Dupes” That Feel Like the Real Deal, But Are a Lot Cheaper!

Dreaming of a glamorous getaway but don’t have the budget to match? You’re not alone! Many travelers face the same dilemma: a desire for luxury and adventure without breaking the bank. The good news is that you can still have an unforgettable vacation by opting for “destination dupes.” These are alternative locations that offer a similar vibe and experience to popular (and pricey) destinations, but at a fraction of the cost. Pretty cool, right? However, just like with any other dupes out there, there can be some hits and misses. So, to make things easier from you, we’ve made a list of the best dupe destinations that will give you all the feels of your dream trip without the hefty price tag.

Amalfi Coast, Italy vs. Albanian Riviera, Albania

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Albania

The Amalfi Coast, with its dramatic cliffs, colorful villages, and azure waters, is one of Italy’s most picturesque and popular coastal destinations. It’s also notoriously expensive. However, we have found something similar that’s a lot less expensive — Albania!

The Albanian Riviera is an underrated gem that offers similar stunning scenery with its rugged coastline, charming seaside towns, and crystal-clear waters. Explore the beautiful beaches of Dhermi and Ksamil, hike in Llogara National Park, and savor delicious Mediterranean cuisine. Albania is not only budget-friendly but also less crowded, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the Riviera without the tourist hordes and high prices. And Albanians are just the best and most hospitable people ever!

No matter where you decide to go, I’m sure that you’ll have a great time. But if you need some recommendations, the town of Himara is a great base for exploring the region. It offers a mix of lively beaches and quiet coves. The ruins of the ancient city of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are also worth a visit. Once again, I have to mention that the hospitality in Albania is exceptional (I’m half Albanian, can you tell?). Locals will often go out of their way to make you feel welcome, and that’s not the case in many other European touristy areas.

Maldives vs. Philippines

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Philippines

Let’s talk about an absolute tourist hot-spot — the Maldives. With its overwater bungalows, crystal-clear waters, and private island resorts, is the epitome of luxury and relaxation. However, it’s also one of the priciest vacation spots in the world. Sure, you can find some relatively affordable deals, but they are mostly during the rain season which takes away from the beauty of this place. However, we have a great “dupe” for you — the Philippines.

This gorgeous place offers equally stunning beaches, clear turquoise waters, and incredible marine life. You could head to Palawan or Siargao for pristine white sands and amazing snorkeling and diving experiences. Also, there are plenty of options when it comes to accommodation. They range from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious resorts. However, all of them are at a fraction of the cost of the Maldives. The hospitality and natural beauty of the Philippines will leave you feeling like you’ve discovered a hidden paradise.

Palawan’s El Nido and Coron are particularly famous for their dramatic limestone cliffs and clear lagoons. Siargao, the surfing capital of the Philippines, offers a laid-back island vibe. It’s perfect for younger crowds looking to catch excellent waves and experience some vibrant nightlife. It’s worth noting that the Philippines is also rich in culture and history. There are numerous festivals all year round, but also fascinating heritage sites that you’ll be able to visit.

Iceland vs. Faroe Islands

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Iceland is famous for its otherworldly landscapes, including geysers, waterfalls, and volcanic craters. However, its popularity has driven up prices, making it a costly destination. In fact, you’ll probably be surprised at how high the prices of accommodation and things such as food and drinks really are here. We’re not saying it’s not worth it, however if you’re on a budget, we have a great alternative for you —the Faroe Islands.

This North Atlantic archipelago offers equally dramatic and untouched natural beauty with its rugged cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and quaint villages. You’ll get the chance to hike the scenic trails, witness the majestic birdlife, and just learn more about the unique Faroese culture. The Faroe Islands will give you a similar sense of adventure and wonder, but with fewer tourists and lower costs. Much lower cost, in fact.

But that’s not where the fun ends. Torshavn, the capital, is a charming town with colorful houses and a bustling harbor. The islands are perfect for hiking enthusiasts, with trails leading to breathtaking viewpoints and hidden beaches. The local cuisine, featuring fresh seafood and traditional Faroese dishes, is a treat for food lovers. Last but not least, it’s worth mentioning that the Faroe Islands also have a rich cultural heritage, with numerous festivals and events throughout the year.

Switzerland vs. Slovenia

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Slovenia

Everyone knows that Switzerland is an absolutely gorgeous place. With its majestic Alps, pristine lakes, and charming villages, is a dream destination for nature lovers. However, it’s also one of the most expensive countries in Europe. But don’t worry, because we found an equally as charming but much more affordable alternative — Slovenia.

This small but stunning country offers comparable natural beauty with its own Alpine scenery, crystal-clear lakes, and picturesque towns. We’ve already talked about Lake Bled and its fairy-tale island church. But there are also numerous other attractions. You could explore the caves of Postojna or hike in the Julian Alps. Slovenia basically offers all the outdoor adventure and scenic beauty of Switzerland at a fraction of the cost.

Of course, we can’t forget about Ljubljana either. The capital of Slovenia is a vibrant city with a charming old town, lively markets, and a picturesque riverfront. Slovenia’s wine country is also worth exploring, with numerous vineyards offering tastings and tours. The country’s compact size makes it easy to see a lot in a short amount of time, but the beauty of each place also makes it a great destination for longer trips.

Kanita is a wanderlust-fueled traveler with an inclination for unraveling the mysteries of history, the paranormal, and the bizarre world of medicine. As a true crime buff, Kanita's nights are often spent delving into the depths of chilling mysteries. Yet, it's not just the paranormal that captivates her—her background in medicine fuels a fascination with the weird and wonderful world of medical oddities, from twisted historical practices to the myths and legends that shroud the field. From exploring haunted locales to uncovering the strange and morbid tales of medical history, Kanita is your guide to the unconventional, the unexplained, and the downright eerie.

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