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Insight of the Day: Hot Spot or Dupe Destination? How Gen Z Wants to Travel

The dupe destination trend is gaining popularity among Gen Z and Millennials as they seek alternatives to over-influenced and expensive travel locations. Dupe destinations are hidden gems that offer similar vibes to popular spots but with fewer tourists and a more authentic experience of the country or local life. This trend is reshaping how young people travel, inspired by their affinity for discovering culturally rich and unique locales.

According to travel tech giant Expedia, dupe destinations are one of the biggest travel trends of 2024. On platforms like TikTok, the topic of "travel dupes" has amassed over 230 billion views, with creators recommending lesser-known locations that provide a comparable experience to popular but overcrowded destinations. Savvy travelers are embracing these alternatives, opting for destinations like Antwerp instead of Paris or Paros instead of Santorini.

YPulse conducted a Travel survey to gauge the growth of the dupe destination trend. The results show that almost half of Gen Z and Millennials would prefer to visit a dupe destination rather than a popular one. Among 13-39-year-olds, 75% express interest in traveling to different destinations, and 45% now favor lesser-known dupe destinations. The preference for dupe destinations is particularly strong among 18-24-year-olds and 25-39-year-olds, who are likely traveling more frequently and seeking budget-friendly experiences.

A majority of 13-39-year-olds (55%) agree that social media has ruined good travel destinations by making them too popular. This sentiment is most pronounced among 18-24-year-olds, with 61% agreeing. The fatigue of over-influenced destinations is evident, with young travelers desiring to escape crowds and staged photo opportunities. Mental health is cited as a significant reason for travel, so it makes sense that young travelers want to avoid obnoxious crowds.

While a slim majority still prefer to travel to well-known destinations (55% of young adults and 53% of Millennials), the growing interest in dupe destinations is indicative of the power of the Dupe Mindset. Teens, who may have popular destinations on their bucket lists but haven't had the means to travel yet, are the most likely to express a preference for popular travel spots (61% of 13-17-year-olds).

For travel brands, embracing the dupe destination trend presents an opportunity to connect with adventurous travelers seeking authentic experiences. By highlighting affordable yet incredible destinations, brands can appeal to a generation eager to explore beyond their social media feeds. This could involve apparel collections that match the vibe of a hidden gem location or interactive experiences that immerse players in lesser-known parts of the world. The demand for unique and undiscovered experiences is growing, and dupe destinations are poised to become a mainstay in the travel industry.

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