Wait, ‘destination duping’ is trending but what does it actually mean? - Hindustan Times

Wait, ‘destination duping’ is trending but what does it actually mean?

May 07, 2024 01:10 PM IST

With the oncoming summer season, ‘duping’ a favoured place for an underrated counterpart is gaining traction—a popularly predicted trend for 2024.

This year, more people are ditching touristic hotspots in search of offbeat, intentional and mostly very uninfluenced experiences with this sole aim: to dupe what major cities offer without the cliche and the crowds. Among the many travel trends set to dominate 2024, destination duping—a version of the offbeat travel and second-city travel trend—is a top contender, according to several industry leaders.

Khimsar or Khinvsar is a remote village off National Highway 62 in central Rajasthan.
Khimsar or Khinvsar is a remote village off National Highway 62 in central Rajasthan.

What does destination duping exactly mean?

It is when travellers opt for alternative, less-expensive destinations that mimic the allure of a similar, more expensive place. In short, it is looking for a comparable atmosphere without the high expense and overcrowding. “For example, travellers can explore the lively markets, camel safaris, and delectable cuisine of Bikaner, providing a cultural immersion similar to Jaipur. Instead of Kolkata, one can explore Guwahati’s cultural diversity and rich history,” says Rajeev Kale - President & Country Head, Holidays, MICE, Visa - Thomas Cook (India) Limited.

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“Skyscanner’s Travel in Focus 2023 report found that over 47% of Indian travellers are willing to switch their itineraries when presented with better travel deals. With Indians getting increasingly savvy with their travel planning, it is not surprising that the ‘dupe destination travel’ trend is on the rise,” said Mohit Joshi, Travel and Destinations Expert at Skyscanner.

While skipping a widely known destination to explore a comparatively lesser-known neighbouring city or town is not a new story, Expedia Group's Unpack '24 report and American Express Travel’s 2024 Trending Destinations: Off the Beaten Path report both predicted its resurgence which has started to spread as we start to settle into the cosy, warm season.

“The surge in destination duping reflects a profound shift in travellers' preferences, driven by a quest for genuine cultural immersion and value-driven experiences, particularly discernible among the younger demographic seeking authenticity,” explained Daniel D'Souza, President & Country Head, SOTC Travel. “This trend is substantiated by robust data showcasing a clear inclination towards unique, offbeat destinations,” he added.

Instead of Shimla, visit Kalpa Village

Skip Shimla’s appeal as Himachal’s cosmopolitan haven for the misty highlands of Kalpa Village above Reckong Peo in the Kinnaur district. When you gaze on the Sutlej river valley, take on the Kinner Kailash Parikrama trek, and fixate on the intricacies of the Tibetan pagoda style of architecture, it is inevitable not to question the absence of overcrowding tourism in this riverside town. On a day-long walk, ask a local about the craftsmanship of the Narayan-Nagini temple, step back in time (950-1055 AD) at the Hu-Bu-Lan-Kar monastery, and climb up from the Kalpa-Roghi road to see the Chakka Peak.

Instead of Goa, visit Gokarna

The southwestern township on the Arabian Sea, a pilgrimage destination home to sacred sites like Mahabaleshwar Temple, feels like a postcard beach getaway. Visitors can go beach trekking on Kudle Beach or learn how to surf on the crescent of Om Beach in the North Canara district. Compared to Goa’s neon-glow of nightlife and Portuguese heritage, Gokarna offers a crowd-free coastline experience—if you’re lucky, you might even spot some dolphins.

Instead of Jaipur, visit Khimsar Village

Khimsar or Khinvsar is a remote village off National Highway 62 in central Rajasthan. While you will certainly admire steering clear of the overwhelm of Jaipur’s year-round touristic footfall, we recommend a camel ride to the Khimsar Fort, uncovering the mystic behind the locale’s man-made oases, and calling one of the Rajasthani ‘Dhani’ (dwellings) huts home for a day.

Instead of Ladakh, visit Lachen, North Sikkim

The entire district of Northern Sikkim is dotted with a string of landmarks that runs along the mountain ranges, but Lachen easily rises to the top of the list—both in terms of natural and culinary landscapes. Situated at an altitude of around 8500 ft, Lachen is a base town for trekking to high-altitude lakes like Guru Dongmar Lake, Green Lake and Tso Lhamu Lake. Make sure to visit the Rhododendron Sanctuary during spring to lose yourself inside a carmine red dream, befriend a wild yak at the Kanchenjunga National Park and go birding for the sight of dark hawks, streak-breasted Scimitar Babblers and more.

Instead of Ooty, visit Vagamon

The seemingly endless stretches of tea estates make Vagamon the perfect dupe for Ooty, which also carries the same acclaim. With a relatively less busy hill station culture, Vagamon too is a round-the-year destination. Start with steeping a fresh cup of tea at Vanilla County Heritage Plantation House before heading out to explore Vagamon Falls, hike on Barren Hills and boat across the Vegamon Lake.

Destination recommendations by Skyscanner India

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