The thing about the world is that it’s huge. There are a million places to go, sights to see, foods to try, people to meet — but the same destinations get sold to us, over and over again, as to where to have that transcendent travel experience. The truth of the matter is: Excitement rarely follows us into the familiar. It’s getting away from the well-beaten path that usually leads to a more memorable journey.
Where “destinations” do serve us is with their ease — your friends have been there, TikTok has been there, and these spots feel easier to explore. But with Skyscanner, traveling anywhere can be just as simple — and you can even save some money. Start with Skyscanner’s Explore Everywhere tool, or narrow it down with one of the lesser-known “doppelganger” destination swaps below and start planning a trip that’s on trend and on budget.
1. New York, US → Hamburg, Germany
If it’s art, late-night lights, gastronomic splendor, and a bit of grit you’re after, place Hamburg on top of your NYC-shaped radar. Germany’s northernmost hub, this Brahms-birthing, Beatles-launching hotspot has all the artistic energy of New York City without the Michelin-starred price tag — down to its historical significance, countless theaters and music venues, and setting on the water. Picture yourself strolling parks between shop-hopping, scoping out retro flea markets like Flohschanze, grabbing steamed mussels and egg tarts in the Portuguese Quarter, and playing tourist at the UNESCO-designated Spiecherstadt. And that’s just to get you started.
2. Santorini, Greece → Tunis, Tunisia
Santorini is one of the most famous islands in the world, recognized for its sense of romance and luxury and its signature blue domes. That seems pretty specific — until you find yourself in Tunis. The North African capital could pass for Santorini, if it weren’t for the mosque minarets, aromas of jasmine and hookah, French-speaking locals, and dollar-friendly prices. Grab brik on the streets (a tuna pastry of sorts), wander the spice-scented markets, and definitely make a trip to Sidi Bou Saïd — just like Santorini, it’s all white-and-blue domes rising above the Mediterranean.
3. Reykjavik, Iceland and the Northern Lights → Söderåsen National Park near Malmö, Sweden
When Icelandair began “free” layovers in Reykjavik, tourists were like moths to the chilly flames of the Land of Fire and Ice. But for those looking to chase the Northern Lights — aka the manifestation of nature at its most sublime — Reykjavik has lost its glow. For something wilder, buzz on over to Sweden’s Söderåsen National Park, less than an hour from Malmö and just 75 minutes from Copenhagen Airport. High cliffs, lush forests, and all-ages hiking trails make this accessible spot an aurora-chasing temptation from September to March.
4. Singapore → Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Singapore is refined, cosmopolitan, and one of the most expensive cities in the world. If you’re looking to experience Southeast Asia in all its extremes, move your trip-planning gaze to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. While Vietnam’s largest city does delight in the glamor of modernity — especially in the high-class hangouts of Districts 1 and 7 — the former Saigon is more like 27 cities rolled into one. You’ll ride from Chinatown to the jungle to skyscrapers and back again, sipping your way from ca phe sua da (iced coffee) in the morning to cold ba ba ba (“333,” one of the ubiquitous beer brands here) at night. And the street food? The pho, bun thit nuong, banh xeo, and banh mi? Second to none.
5. Cairo, Egypt → Amman, Jordan
Cairo certainly loves the chaotic. If that’s your speed, great — if not, consider swapping your Egyptian dreams for Jordanian nights in the capital city of Amman. You’ll find all the mystique of ancient lands mixing with the buzz of a modern city, one that loves culture, art, and food. To get started, scope out the Amman Citadel, whose 1,300-year-old ruins sit right downtown; weave through the tapestry of souks (markets), including the Souk Al-Sukar, or sugar market; and relax at a late-night coffee lounge. And make sure to leave time for day trips to the Dead Sea to the south and the spectacular Greco-Roman ruins of Jerash to the north.
6. Paris, France → Gdańsk, Poland
The City of Lights doesn’t always deliver on its glittering reputation. Instead, head for Gdańsk, Poland’s colorful hub on the Baltic Sea. Gothic, Flemish, Renaissance, and Baroque architectural styles speak to the city’s globally influenced, thousand-year history, and world-class museums and restaurants bring this port town into the present day. While you’re here, walk the shop-lined Dlugi Targ — aka Royal Way — stop at a WWI-era milk bar like Bar Neptun, stroll the cafe-charged Motlawa River, visit the Museum of the Second World War, and climb to the top of St. Mary’s Church for elevated views of all those Paris-esque tile roofs.
7. Valletta, Malta → Pula, Croatia
Valletta, Malta, is a Roman city on a peninsula; so, too, is Pula, Croatia — and both go about daily life in an ancient open-air museum. Where Pula shines brightest, though? Beyond the attractive price point and lack of crowds, you’ll get to explore one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters still in existence, climb the steps of the Temple of Augustus, and take in views of the Adriatic. Nab a taste of local life at Pula Market (grab olive oils, nuts, and cheeses), and then hop a quick ferry to Brijuni National Park, situated on islands just off the coast. You’ll also find a bit of the US — or perhaps the Caribbean — at Hawaii Beach, which more than earns its name.
8. Sydney, Australia → Tanzania (Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area)
If you’re searching for the apex of wild, flying into Sydney and traversing into the Australian Outback is certainly an option. But before you book that plane ticket, know that Tanzania is more accessible than ever before, with Kili climbs and Ngorongoro Conservation Area safaris spanning interests, abilities, schedules, and budgets. Find one that suits you, and you can fly into Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam or Kilimanjaro International Airport, about 45 minutes from the climbers’ town of Moshi. Whatever you choose — summiting one of the world’s finest mountains or crossing off the “Big 5” — Tanzania offers some of the world’s most coveted adventures. And like all the alternative destinations on this list, Skyscanner can get you there just as easily as to the big-name spots.