We already told you that women are commonly trading sex for free vacations. But here's a twist on the topic that you might find even more surprising: They're not the only ones doing it.
Men are doing it, too, and should it really be that surprising? After all, for a twenty-something living in an expensive city on an entry-level salary, the reality of booking a trip may be far-fetched at best, regardless of your gender.
At first glance, Miss Travel looks like any other dating site, especially now that its former tagline — "Beautiful Women Will Travel for Free" — is no more. The signup process is fairly simple, with users filling out a basic profile before choosing one of three categories: “Take Me Along,” which implies an all-expenses paid trip, “I Have My Own Ticket,” — essentially the travel version of going Dutch — and “I Have an Extra Ticket,” where you pay for someone to join you on a trip.
While our previous post profiled the many women living the high life through Miss Travel, the majority of users are actually male. They’re also not the stereotypical sugar daddies you might imagine. In fact, Eric, a 35 year-old chief financial officer at a tech company and whom Culture Trip travel editor Nikki Vargas interviewed for her piece exposing the topic, is someone just as likely to sign up for a more traditional dating site like Match.com or eHarmony — both of which he did.
The difference, it seems, is in the details. Unlike the high number of women who choose the “Take Me Along” option, male users are quite the opposite, with a whopping 82 percent opting for “I Have an Extra Ticket.” Another factor to consider is age. Currently, Miss Travel’s male user base averages 35 years of age, while women are considerably younger, at 27. “I think that this difference between how men and women are using the site, ultimately comes down to age,” notes Vargas.
From a feminist approach, these stats aren’t exactly encouraging. For example, only 4 percent of Miss Travel’s male users choose the “Take Me Along” option. “I think it speaks to the stereotypical gender and age dynamics at play — older men, younger women,” Vargas suspects, who was a tad disappointed by her findings. “I would have expected more of an even gender balance, perhaps finding more women taking men along on trips,” she adds.
Similar to all those “I quit my corporate job to travel” articles flooding the internet, Miss Travel has a certain appeal that many find undeniable.Most of the users Vargas interviewed said that they found the site either through word of mouth or media coverage. “I think that the desire to travel creates pressure for millennials who are constantly exposed to wanderlust-worthy stories, imagery, and success stories of other millennials who have quit their jobs to travel.”
All in all, the sort of travel opps facilitated by Miss Travel are probably going to stick around for the long haul. “What I am seeing is a growing trend of sacrificing on the altar of travel, whether it be selling stuff, moving back in with parents to save on rent or yes — exchanging beauty for booked tickets,” explains Vargas.
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