Who needs money when you've got looks? Not quite what you'd expect to find on a travel site, but more in a tabloid dating column. However, this is how the new travel site, Miss Travel, is being advertised to the consumer.
Created by Brandon Wade, who describes himself as a "geek", otherwise an MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) graduate, Miss Travel is the new way to travel for those who on the one hand are beautiful but don't have the money to travel and on the other, for rich men who want to travel but who don't have anyone to accompany them. Put the two together and you get a travel dating agency.
With no less than 10,000 male and female members already, the one thing they all have in common is their passion for travel (more or less). Signing up to the site is free and fairly straightforward. First choose your category: 'Attractive Traveller' or 'Generous Traveller'. Next, browse the member profiles for your ideal travel mate and send them either a Trip Suggestion or a private message via the site. To contact the desired travel mate, Attractive Travellers need to pay for a premium account and Generous Travellers need to buy credits. The rest is down to the two travellers to work out the logistics of their trip; however, once the Generous Traveller accepts the trip in writing, he is legally-bound to pay for all travel expenses for both him and the Attractive Traveller.
Is this a site helping connect people with the same passion, as Wade claims, or is it a way of disguising organised prostitution with the site acting as some sort of pimp? Although nowhere on the site mentions that either party must have sexual intercourse, the Generous Travellers get to pick and choose an Attractive Traveller from a bunch of women based on their looks and a couple of sentences of frivolous information, who in return for escorting them around the world, will have everything paid for. To critics of the site, Wade explains that the site is merely in place to help lonely people find someone to accompany them from the comfort of their own home, without having to go through a conventional escort service. These people, he continues, may not have the time to dedicate to one person, which is why Miss Travel is so convenient for many business travellers.
The American ABC network reports on two travellers, Sybil and Steven. Steven, a financial advisor of 31 with a passion for wine and boating fully paid for Sybil Yorker, aged 27, originally from Turkey, to accompany him on a trip to Mexico. Going on this information about one another, the two travellers are due to meet and spend a week together in Cabo San Lucas. Two complete strangers, the meeting, needless to say, is a little awkward at first. However, the ice is soon broken and the two travellers have their next holiday together planned by the time they head home.
Both parties seem satisfied with the deal, but the shaky foundations of the site raise a host of questions. There is no way of doing a background check on its members, so what if a traveller finds themselves going off to the other end of the world with a complete lunatic?
This sort of site also raises questions of ethics. Is paying someone for their company based on a few trivial facts and their looks moral? Nowhere on the site mentions that either traveller is under any obligation to put out, however, a payment is still being made in exchange of someone's time and company; and in reality, the Attractive Traveller, after having been treated like an absolute princess, might feel under pressure to succumb to the Generous Traveller's advances, should advances be made.
If we turn our attention to the promotional video explaining how the site works, it is easy to see how misleading the concept can be; it raises expectations of meeting a rich good-looking athletic doctor, lawyer or entrepreneur for Attractive Travellers and a curvaceous easy-going woman for Generous Travellers. In theory there is nothing really wrong with creating a new way of travelling for lonely rich guys and pretty and broke women, but what is a problem is the way the site encourages unhealthy stereotypes linked to appearance and independence. Why should only attractive easy-going girls get to travel for free? Not only does this undermine women's independence, but we mustn't forget that there are also plenty of fun women out there who are not your conventional 'babe', but to whom a man would be attracted and could genuinely fall in love with. And vice versa. Men don't have to be rich and/or flawlessly handsome to get a good-looking girl. What is being debated here is a lot more than just two strangers going away on holiday together, but the moral and safety implications behind this sort of site and its consequences on society. Forget all this Miss Travel malarky and go for Miss Travel Safe and Alone we say!
Pretty, a complete travel-fiend and?broke? is an adaptation of the Spanish version on our Spanish site, Easyviajar.com: Bonita, viajera y ?? ¡sin un duro! by Stéphanie Chemla.
The recent weeks have seen a great deal of hype in the news about the latest ...More
Last week, the Telegraph reported that one of Hollywood's hottest couples, namely ...More
Last week saw India dominate newspaper headlines both in the UK and across the ...More
Last week saw the Maldives take a hit to its tourist industry after an online ...More
After 48% of Brits agreed that passengers who are overweight should be charged ...More
Last week the luxury experiences website veryfirstto.com, together with London-based ...More
Last week's news brought to light the issue of crime in south Thailand's province ...More
Each year it seems that the ease of air travel becomes hindered further by the ...More
Paris is the most visited city in the world. As we saw earlier on in the year ...More