If “travel more” made your list of New Year’s resolutions, yet the accompanying price tag puts globetrotting woefully out of reach, then MissTravel, the world’s top dating/travel website, could turn out to be your fairy godmother. Those who join MissTravel (the service costs $39.95 per month, although you can try it out with some limitations for free) can search and view compatible profiles, chat with other members, and then plan trips with any suitable matches. Trips can be paid for by one member or split 50/50 between both.
MissTravel, which launched in 2012, seems to have begun operating under a business model wherein women—who became site members for free—could seek out men willing to sponsor their trips together. And, although quite a bit of that hetero-centric language still appears quite heavily throughout the app, MissTravel has evolved into a much more inclusive service. In fact, it claims to have more than 45,000 LGBT members.
Corbyn (photo above), a gay, 24 year-old who from Little Rock, Arkansas and a MissTravel member had grown tired of the quality of men he had been meeting through other social apps. After seeing a segment about MissTravel on Good Morning America, he decided to sign up and give it a try.
“You can find quantity all day long using something like Grindr. But people that are well-traveled tend to be more educated, more successful, more established. They have to have money enough to travel.”
Almost as if to prove his point, MissTravel allows members to add their annual income and net worth to their profiles. And, since joining, Corbyn—who is lean, attractive, and talks with a hint of a Southern drawl—has had men take him on numerous trips to places like Palm Springs, Memphis, and even abroad.
“I went to Mexico once with a guy from Chicago,” he recalls. “I came across his profile at one point, he must have seen that I saw it, and he sent me a ‘wink’. Then we probably talked for two or three weeks, plus we FaceTimed and Skyped. It turned out that he had a trip already planned—though I didn’t really know anything about it until six days before he was supposed to leave. The girl that was supposed to go with him—because he was taking a girl—had canceled and so he asked me, ‘do you want to come?’ I was like, ‘sure.’ Basically all I had to do was show up at the airport, get on a plane and fly to Mexico.”
“He paid for the hotel and airfare. When it came to the food and stuff - I mean, I’m not one to just sit back and let someone pay for everything,” Corbyn added.
But, surely, there must have been expectations….
“A lot of people have a misconception of the site that it’s for gold diggers or escorts. But, that’s not necessarily what this is about,” he explained. “In my case, he was was physically attractive. He was intelligent. So, sure, there was the hope that we would click. But I wouldn’t say I expected anything necessarily to happen. We actually just spent only three of the seven days together. We kind of just did our separate things.”
However, a subsequent jaunt to the West Coast produced more substantial results.
“I went on a trip to California and ended up dating the guy for a year and a half,” noted the 24 year-old. “In fact, he lived in Los Angeles and then moved to Arkansas to be with me.”
OK, but what happens if should things go wrong? After all, members who travel together are essentially agreeing to get on a plane, fly somewhere far from home, and share a hotel room with a total stranger. Even MissTravel seems keenly aware of the risks of such an arrangement by posting a rotating series of platitudes like, “Gather the full name, phone number and email address of your travel companion(s). Share this information with friends and family for emergency purposes,” or, “if you pick up on a bad vibe, follow your gut instinct. It could save your life.”
“The safety net for me in Mexico was that I have friends who live there,” Corbyn explained. “So if I needed to could have called them up and in five minutes they would have been right there.”
“I think one thing that’s important is to communicate quite a bit before making plans. And, don’t be foolish,” he cautioned. “Do your research on the people you might be traveling with. Also, don’t sell yourself short just for the sake of a trip. Keep your options open.” Taking his own advice, Corbyn recently turned down a trip to Bangkok to join a gentleman who was already there on business citing, “I wouldn’t have a backup plan there.”
One day could Corbyn see himself on the giving end of a trip?
“Yes, definitely,” the young man stated. “I recognize the opportunities I’ve had thanks to these men who have paid for or gifted - however you want to look at it - these trips and, I would like to be that person for someone else someday.”