If you’re of a certain age, you may think that “dupe” has a negative connotation. Who wants to be duped, right? But actually, this is the newest trend in travel planning – finding hidden gems where you can duplicate the experience you would expect at some of the most expensive destinations around the world, often with less crowds and for a fraction of the price. For example, we sent one of our clients to the volcanic island of Madeira, Portugal as a “dupe” for Hawai’i. Getting there from the East Coast was much more convenient and less expensive than traveling across the US and the Pacific, and the 5-star accommodations were a relative bargain. Click here to read our blog post about Madeira, and read on below for some of our favorite travel “dupes.”
Geneva boasts style and culture, a striking waterfront, and a charming Old Town. But you can get a taste of that European elegance and hear the same French-speakers without crossing the pond right here in North America. With a visit to Quebec City, you can experience similar gothic architecture, boutiques and bistros, and cobblestones streets as you can in Geneva.
A stay at the most photographed hotel in the world, the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, will have you feeling like you are a guest in a Swiss castle. With its dramatic landscaping and elaborate architecture, you can envision yourself stepping into the pages of an Old World fairytale.
Quebec City is particularly magical and romantic in winter and is famed for its lakes, rivers, and glacial valley.
We’ve all seen the incredible photos of the overwater bungalows in the Maldives and dreamed of swimming in the crystal blue of the Indian Ocean. But one night alone can cost upwards of $2,000, the roundtrip flight $1300-$2,000, and an average of 30 hours to set foot in the island chain from Washington, DC. You’ll need a week just to recover from the hassle of getting there!
On the other hand, Belize is only a short $450 flight from the U.S (6 hours from D.C.). And an overwater bungalow costs $600 per night, a fraction of the Maldives’, at the St. George’s Caye Resort. This is a secluded adults-only retreat on an island only a 20-minute boat ride from Belize City. Here guests enjoy farm-to-table dining with made-to-order breakfast each morning and selected set menus for lunch and dinner daily. Activities include kayaking, windsurfing, paddle boarding, fishing, and guided tours of Belize’s mainland.
Few destinations are as high on the Wanderlist for U.S. travelers as Italy, and the Amalfi Coast and nearby Capri often rank as “must-sees” in the south of the country. However, the post-pandemic demand for this destination has resulted in skyrocketing prices and challenges with availability. Travel a bit off the beaten path and you can still experience la dolce vita with less bite to your wallet.
Costa Viola: If you travel a bit farther south in Campania, you will find yourself in the “toe of the boot,” where roads hug the cliffsides and the Aspromonte mountain range overlooks medieval seaside villages like Scilla and Tropea. You’ll be able to see two volcanoes in the distance, and you can take a ferry to Sicily or visit the ancient Greek statues and seafront promenade of Reggio.
Ischia: Instead of elbowing your way onto the Isle of Capri, consider visiting the largest island in the Gulf of Naples. Ischia’s lush green countryside, therapeutic thermal waters, vast volcanic beaches, high-level gastronomy, thousand-year history and luxurious accommodations make for a getaway filled with pampering, adventure, and sightseeing galore.
Ponza: This tiny island between Rome and Naples is perfect for a day trip from either of these cities. Reached by ferry or helicopter, Ponza has a charming port city as well as beautiful beaches, underwater caves for diving, swimmable grottoes, and historical sites.
Vieste: Head east from Naples instead of south, and you will find the region of Puglia and the small town of Vieste, on the peninsula with Gargano National Park. It’s known for its beaches surrounded by white chalk cliffs, the imposing Pizzomunno limestone monolith, and a nearby medieval fortress and 11th-century cathedral.
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