If someone told you about a website offering women the opportunity to go on free trips to exotic foreign locations with fee-paying strangers, chances are you would be a little skeptical.
But that’s kind of the idea behind Miss Travel, a dating website that facilities the coming together of singletons seeking a bit of sun, sex and companionship.
The brainchild of online dating entrepreneur Brandon Wade, while the leap from online dating to holidays with strangers may sound like a significant one to some, for the Miss Travel founder it’s entirely logical.
“When we travel we learn about new places, we explore and we experience things together and of course the mood that is created in these unfamiliar, exotic locales tends to inspire romance,” he tells loaded.
In an increasingly digital age, Brandon is also keen to highlight the value of dating in an unfamiliar setting, away from the trappings of technology.
“When people date in urban environments, they tend to be distracted,” he explains.
“I’ve seen people on their first dates and they are constantly on their phones but on holiday you are forced to put it down and actually spend time together.”
To date, Miss Travel has attracted over 615,000 members with in excess of 324,000 trips created via the website.
“We live in a society where, in a sense, we are all taking advantage of each other”
However, the concept has not come without its critics, many of who are quick to point out that, while women do not have to pay to use the site and can set up all-expenses-paid trips with a potential male suitor, men are expected to pay a fee for “premium” access.
Brandon insists that Miss Travel “cater for everyone” even though, by his own admission “attracting women to the site seems a lot easier.”
“When you join Miss Travel you can contact someone and propose a trip where you either pay, pay for yourself or ask the person you contact to pay for both of you,” he admits.
“Certainly some women have been joining and looking for a vacation or a wealthy person to take them on a vacation where they don’t have to pay for it themselves but that’s the thing with women that are more attractive: they have more choices.”
With the majority of dating websites statistically speaking, attracting more male than female subscribers, Brandon believes Miss Travel has succeeded in “speaking to women’s drives and desires”.
“Travel is one of those things many girls find to be an attractive pull.”
But is there a danger that certain women may use the Miss Travel to exploit affluent, lonely men?
“We live in a society where, in a sense, we are all taking advantage of each other,” Brandon explains.
“I could say the wealthy men are taking advantage of the girls. They are lonely and need company. As long as the two groups are fulfilling each others needs my question is who are we to judge that? I think successful relationships are formed when people are together, adding value to each others lives.”
“Miss Travel adds a different component to dating – it allows people to get away and focus on each other for a change.”
And while the tabloid press has speculated otherwise, Brandon is keen to draw a distinction between the Miss Travel service and an escort one.
“If you want to find a genuine relationship based on friendship and romance, use Miss Travel. That’s what drives people to the site – they understand an escort relationship is superficial.
“Escort type arrangements are not permitted on Miss Travel – if people are proposing they be paid to go on a trip they are reported. We screen for those type of people.”
Ultimately, Brandon sees Miss Travel as a service that is “revolutionising relationships” in 2016.
“In a world where you can swipe left and right and move on super quickly, the nature of relationships and the nature of dating has changed,” he says.
“Miss Travel adds a different component to dating – it allows people to get away and focus on each other for a change. We live in a society where, if you are on a first date and see something you don’t like, you swipe left and right and move on to the next date.”
With holidays offering an extended opportunity for potential couples to explore compatibility, Miss Travel may be a contentious service for some, but it is certainly offering a unique dating experience for those willing to take the plunge.
What the next step in the evolutionary process of online dating is though, is anyone’s guess.
Fancy seeing what all the fuss is about? Take a look at Miss Travel here.