Instagram-famous beautiful people, Real Housewives, and over-the-top cruisers on Below Deck aren’t the only ones living the jet-setting high life: Broke and beautiful female millennials are, too. How?
Well, one way is by signing up for a site that connects young, attractive women with rich, older gentlemen. Yup, it's a tale as old as time... and it's happening now on a scope broader than you might have ever imagined.
One such "travel companion" site, Miss Travel, prompted a big expose from The Culture Trip travel editor, Nikki Vargas. “I was blown away by how the taboo of sex-for-money was becoming commonplace amongst twenty-somethings who want to afford things they otherwise couldn't," Vargas tells Jet Set. Clearly, traveling at any cost means different things to different people and for some, sex is the currency of choice.
Judge if you will, but Vargas’ research hints that this is a growing niche among travelers. “Younger generations are inundated with articles about quitting their jobs to travel the world — but the reality is that most are saddled with student loans, high rents, and lower incomes to travel full time,” she notes. In many ways, it’s become the ultimate travel hack. “Sex-for-travel is just another means to an end. It's another way for people to afford to see the world now at no personal expense,” she adds.
To drive her point home, Vargas chronicles the story of “Alicia,” a woman who just returned home from a whirlwind trip through Croatia. In between popping Champagne bottles, dining at Michelin-star restaurants, and cruise hopping along the Med, we assume that she did some sightseeing, too. One might assume that Alicia runs a Fortune 500 company when in reality, she's got none of her own funds to speak of.
Alicia didn’t disclose what happened behind closed doors but she wasn’t shy about boasting highlights from her trip. “She seemed less concerned about the dangers, safety, and implications of using Miss Travel and more focused on the glitz and glamour she had experienced while in Europe,” notes Vargas — who adds that Alicia felt like she had cheated the system to see the world while her peers are chained to cubicles.
In Alicia’s case, she wasn’t too nervous about the encounter. As Vargas notes, Alicia was traveling with her friend who also uses Miss Travel and they had communicated with their matches via Skype. Still, Miss Travel's perks naturally come with drawbacks. “On one hand, you have this empowering wave of women who are embracing solo travel, seeking women-only tour companies, and daring to globe trot sans friends or partners,” mentions Vargas.
At the same time, however, violence against women is also on the rise. “In my mind, it seems like the perfect storm: These two dramatically opposing elements happening at the same time. Then right in the center of that, you have this idea of sex-for-travel where the dangers of traveling as a woman is combined with the desire to see the world.”
As far as the Miss Travel crowd is concerned, the median ages are actually fairly close: Men average 35 years of age, and women 27. There are also three different options to choose from and those differ among genders as well. Men generally opt for the “I Have an Extra Ticket” filter while the majority of women select “Take me Along."
So what say you about this millennial trend: practical, or downright shocking?
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