A new dating site promises to link high-rolling globetrotters with pretty women who want to travel the world for free.
Miss Travel pairs attractive women with generous jetsetters who hate to go on trips alone and are willing to foot the bill for a companion.
Critics say the site is no more than a front for prostitution — a charge the sites founder vehemently denies. Gawker calls it the #1 prosti-travel website, and while reactions on Twitter were mixed, user @Kgigr asked, I really want to know how miss travel isnt selling yourself for an all-paid trip?
But founder Brandon Wade says, “escorts are not allowed to use the website. There's no money exchanged. And there's no sex discussed on the website at all. So for people to sort of link it or compare it with prostitution is really quite a stretch."
A disclaimer on Miss Travels website reinforces Wade's claim that escorts aren't allowed.
Gawkers sister site Jezebel questioned how safe it is for women to travel with someone they met online.
"There's just such a giant window for dishonestly and coercion here," Jezebel's Lindy West writes." You're not just on a date with someone — you're on a boat, you're in a hotel room, you're in f---ing Thailand.”
West wonders about the girl who winds up 5,000 miles away from home ... and realizes she doesn't want to put out.
On Miss Travels “How it Works” page, members are reminded that “online dating is risky” and urged to “practice a common sense approach when meeting a stranger online.”
Wade runs two other dating websites, seekingarrangement.com and whatsyourprice.com.
He describes seekingarrangement.com as a website to match sugar babies with sugar daddies, while whatsyourprice.com lets men bid on dates for women. So far, the highest bid has been $3,000, he says.
But, at least according to the fine print, none of the websites are about sex.
“We're just a dating site," he explains. "We match people and then they're off on their own."
Users seem comfortable enough with that sentiment — Miss Travel reached 20,000 users on Thursday.
While virtually all of the travel-seekers are women and the travelers men, Wade says that both sexes are welcome to sign up for either category. He also notes that 6% of the sites users are gay.
As far as how many people have actually traveled with someone they met through Miss Travel, Wade says it's too soon to tell.
We have gotten some feedback from people who have planned trips, though, he says.
On Miss Travels homepage, a banner displays the sites motto: Who needs money, beautiful people travel free.
Below, a video explains in detail how it works.
The hourglass-shaped, brunette cartoon narrator boasts that the site has thousands of free travelers who hate to travel alone.
"These generous travelers are doctors, lawyers, bankers, athletes, executives, entrepreneurs and millionaires who are looking to travel with an attractive person like you," she says.
Best of all, they have the money and are willing to spend it on you.
But Wade says it's not all about money.
"This is a wonderful way to ignite romance," he says.
Wade explains that his empire of dating sites was built out of my own frustrations and passions.
"I grew up being a complete nerd," he says. "I'm shy and I didnt really have a girlfriend until I was 21 and I had my first kiss. My mom told me to focus on school and study and when youre older, dating will be easier for you."
Wade is now married to someone he met online.
"People think it's very superficial, he says. But I'm actually invited to a wedding in the Caribbean this summer because of a marriage that came about on seeking arrangement.com."