BY: JESSICA BEUKER
Just over three years ago a new dating site sprung onto the market—the first of its kind in the travel-dating realm. The idea was to match young women with empty pockets and a thirst for travelling and men whose only company is their bursting wallet. The site is called MissTravel, and it has more than 615,000 members worldwide and nearly half a million trips booked.
The idea of travel dating isn’t necessarily new. Tinder and other dating apps have played around with similar ideas, but MissTravel is the first to offer a variety of options and specifications. According to Tech Crunch, users can post trips to the app and choose from three options: “I have an extra ticket,” “Take me along,” or “I have my own ticket.” Users also have the option to search for users and filter by age, income, height, body type, hair colour and anything else you can think of. Once a woman chooses one of the three options and sets her specifications, she just has to sit back and wait for someone to whisk her away to her dream vacation.
According to Forbes, men make up about 99 per cent of the “generous users,” while the majority of the travel seekers are women. The site itself even states:
“Unlike other dating websites, it’s my commitment to operate our business ethically. This means caring about your privacy, encrypting identifiable data, and never employing fake profiles or software bots. When we say there are more women than men, we guarantee it.”
Founder Brandon Wade insists that MissTravel is not an escort service and that no sex-money exchange is ever discussed or mentioned on the site. But others aren’t buying it. Gawker stated that the site is the “# 1 prosti-travel website” and goes on to call Wade an “infamous e-pimp.”
One of the biggest concerns regarding the site is that, in addition to the problems that come with regular dating sites, MissTravel has the added element of travel and location. It also brings its own set of questions to the table such as whether accommodations will be separate, and whether or not a woman would be free to leave at any point if she feels uncomfortable. Wade told Tech Crunch that a few MissTravel dates have ended in situations where members have been stranded. He claims that in those instances, the company made sure that the women got tickets home.
Still, according to the website Jabber Reviews, plenty of people have had positive experiences with MissTravel. One user wrote: “I traveled to Madrid, London and Paris invited by a man from this site (my 4th trip). I didn’t know he was a wealthy generous man. Although he was busy most of the time, he managed to take me around Madrid, London and Paris. He gave me some money (without asking for anything) so I bought clothes for myself. He also gave me money to cover my extra travel expenses on my way back. Not bad, huh?”
Still, the idea of a stranger paying for my all-inclusive trip abroad ‘just because’ seems a bit fishy.