April 26, 2012 at 9:05 AM ET
Solo travelers have two new, and two very different, tools to help cut costs and find companionship — and possibly more — while out on the road.
Miss Travel, which launched this week, is advertised as a travel dating website to connect the broke and beautiful with wealthy benefactors willing to fund dreams of travel.
The site invites “Attractive" travelers who are “open minded people who loves [sic] to travel, but lacks the budget to do so,” to sign up for free. “Generous" travelers willing to pay the travel expenses of attractive travelers may also sign up for free, but must pay a fee if they want to communicate with any of the beautiful-but-broke travelers profiled on the site.
Miss Travel was founded by Brandon Wade, CEO of the controversial “sugar daddy” sites SeekingArrangement.com and SeekingMillionaire.com, as well as one called WhatsYourPrice.com.
The site states that "escorts are not allowed," but one relationship expert cautions that it might not be the best way for women to find a travel buddy.
“Relationships steeped in equality, mutual respect and intimacy do not begin with ‘Fund my travel experience because I'm hot.’ Some relationships are transactional, and this is no different; slapping a fancy name on it doesn't change what it really is,” said sexologist and relationship expert Logan Levkoff.
A completely different alternative for women traveling solo is Invite for a Bite, a new online social network for women who don’t like to eat out alone.
Cressida Howard, the site's founder, created Invite for a Bite after hearing a group of women on a BBC radio program agree that eating alone was one of the major downsides of traveling solo.
“It's a problem I've had myself in the past,” Cressida explains on the Invite for a Bite site. “Most women aren't comfortable going into a bar or restaurant on their own, especially in the evenings when they're surrounded by romantic couples, or drunk men with not very romantic intentions.”
Her solution: a website where solo women travelers can make plans to meet other women for a shared meal.
Once signed up on the site, a woman can create a profile and post a “definite” or “maybe” meal invite that includes a specific date or date range and other details such as what’s brought them to town. The site has only been live since early March, but there are already more than eight pages of invites for shared meals in cities such as Boston, Paris and London.
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