Imagine sitting in the lobby of a 5-star hotel in Dubai. There are murals hanging on the walls. The decor has a gold-theme going on. The tiles on the floor make you feel like you are walking on a crystalized sky – whatever that is. The feeling is just other-worldly. Everything is calm and relaxing. Exactly how a 5-star hotel in Dubai should feel like. However, you can barely relax. You have never been this nervous, not because you are in a new country for the first time but you just flew thousands of miles for a blind date with someone you met on MissTravel.com.
To clarify, MissTravel has nothing to do with a tourism beauty pageant or anything like that. It is in fact, a dating website for travelers. Let me explain. The tagline on their website reads: The leading online dating site for those with a passion for travel – find your ideal travel partner & explore more. Basically, it is a dating site where you match with a stranger and your first encounter with this stranger is a trip anywhere in the world. Usually, popular tourist destinations.
At this point, a lot of questions come to mind. Firstly, who is paying for all of that? Well, the way it works is when one creates a profile on this site, one chooses whether they are willing to pay 100% for such a trip, go Dutch and split the cost or if they are looking to have someone else completely sponsor the trip for them. Now, before you stop reading, google MissTravel, and sign up please note that this is not an endorsement of this site. This is an unbiased review and you will find that we actually have very strong reservations on MissTravel.com. But since it showed up as one of the most googled terms in Kenya for travel-related queries, we decided to go ahead and see what all the fuss is about.
A Little Background
MissTravel is just one of many controversial dating sites under the umbrella of InfoStream Group owned by an equally controversial Brandon Wade. The names of the other dating sites under InfoStream Group are already enough to hint at the controversy behind the services these websites offer. SeekingArrangement, WhatsYourPrice, and OpenMinded.
If it hasn’t hit you by now a common theme with all of these sites is, to put it starkly, a way for sugar daddies to meet sugar babies. MissTravel was initially described as a site that pairs ‘generous travelers’ with ‘attractive travelers’. In fact, Brandon Wade went as far as hosting the first sugar daddy party back in 2012 in London.
OpenMinded sets itself slightly apart by drawing even more controversy as it seeks to promote ‘ethical cheating’. In other words, it claims to create a judgment-free platform for individuals in open relationships to find other partners. But let’s be honest here, something tells me most people on this site are married people in monogamous relationships just looking to cheat on their partners.
There is a lot to unpack here. Clearly, there is some ambiguity in the morality behind all of these sites. To get rid of any such ambiguity, here is a little something to help you understand exactly what Brandon Wade is trying to achieve with his sites. He is quoted as writing, “Love is a concept invented by poor people,” shortly after expressing that love does not exist. That being said, do not dismiss Brandon Wade as simply the inherently evil bad guy in a romantic drama series. He is a graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and later a Master of Business Administration.
Again, just to paint a better picture of what kind of man Brandon is, firstly, he was born in Singapore. He described his mother’s style of parenting with some unflattering words to the effect that she was too strict and all he did was study all the time. Well, no wonder he was able to go to MIT from Singapore. However, it was not just his brains that got him to MIT. This was courtesy of a public service program that helped him go to MIT on the condition that he would return to Singapore after his study. Presumably to help his country with the newly-acquired expertise. But Brandon perhaps found life in America a bit too alluring to leave behind and go back to ‘lowly’ Singapore. He did not go back to Singapore forcing his parents to pay $300,000 in damages because he breached the terms of the public service program that saw him go to America in the first place.
The rest, as they say, is history. Brandon Wade now sits at an estimated net worth of $35 million (KES 3.6 billion). What happened to a man’s character being key to success? Oh, the man has been married at least three times and is at the time of writing this living in Las Vegas.
Back to MissTravel
Anyway, back to MissTravel. So as mentioned earlier, one creates a profile and states whether they want to pay for the entire trip, split the cost or sit pretty and weight for prince, or princess, charming to come and whisk them away to a magical land far away. One can also create a trip on their profile that they would want to go on with a potential partner. That being said, MissTravel has been criticized for not ensuring enough security for the traveling pair. It has also been put in the spotlight for creating a platform that could be exploited for sex trafficking.
To be fair, travel partners are usually booked in separate rooms. Also, one is supposed to be under no pressure to provide any ‘services’ to their date especially when the other individual has paid for the entire trip. On the other hand, things on the ground might be very different. Who pays for an expensive trip anywhere in the world without expecting something in return. The thought of having an incident with a stranger in a foreign country is simply scary.
For those wondering, MissTravel has free accounts. But they are very limited on features. One is almost forced to upgrade to paid accounts to get more from the site. Free accounts have limits on the number of messages one can send in a day and so on. Here is a real story about two brave souls who met on the site and had their travel date.
Is MissTravel for You?
Honestly, that is a question only you can answer. However, our opinion is that MissTravel and the other sites under InfoStream Group blur the lines between escort services and prostitution and an innocent little dating site seeking to connect people passionate about travel. Our verdict is to keep off and take someone you know to Mombasa instead, this holiday season.