A new online dating service is giving single women the opportunity to travel the world on all expenses paid trips with complete strangers.
It’s all through a website called Miss Travel, which boasts 600,000 users globally and 30,000 in Australia.
Single mother Sarah, 45 – whose surname has been withheld at her request – joined the website after divorcing from her husband.
She has been on two free international trips through the website.
“I was flown from Italy over to London and we basically took a train through Paris, through Barcelona, down to Morocco,” Sarah told A Current Affair.
“We did become in a relationship,” she added. “But that’s not necessarily what you need to do.”
Miss Travel is one of the few online dating websites to offer background verification services (Source: A Current Affair)
Sarah believes the key to finding a compatible travel partner is communicating honestly with them prior to becoming travel companions.
“Before we even met, we communicated on the website a little bit. And then we agreed to have a chat and we spoke for hours, actually. It was great,” she said.
“You obviouly don’t just get on a plane and meet someone in a strange country. What you’ve already done is you’ve already set it up, you’ve had communication, you’ve talked to them, you’ve got to see whether you’d actually be compatible to hang out for more than just a date.”
Mother-of-two Mieka – who has also asked for her surname to be withheld – is also a big fan of Miss Travel.
“It’s nice to go to different places and experience different things,” she said.
“I feel like: I’m a single, I deserve this every now-and-then.”
She has been on two trips: one to Bali and one to Rottnest Island, off Western Australia.
She, too, believes open and honest communication is the most crucial factor in finding the right travel companion.
“I’m very clear from the outset. I’m just here as a friend first, I’d like to get to know you as a friend and travel partner, and if anything eventuates, I’m always open for that,” Mieka said.
Single mother Sarah has been on two trips (Source: A Current Affair)
However, there are those with their doubts about Miss Travel. Among them is Mamamia editor Holly Wainwright.
“Who doesn’t want to be whisked away with some handsome guy who is going to pay for everything?” Ms Wainwright said.
“But I also think we need to not be caught up in that fantasy and make sure people are being as safe as they can.”
“Of course gut instinct is important, but it’s not a safeguard – so don’t fool yourself.”
But Miss Travel spokesperson Hannah Dela Cruz says safety is paramount to the company, which is one of the only online dating websites to offer background verification services for members.
“Miss Travel is definitely a new frontier for dating. It’s geared towards people who love to travel and experience new things,” Ms Dela Cruz said.
“As the world gets more connected, more people are exploring and kind of travelling more, so it’s kind of a natural profession for people to connect this way.”
Sarah admits that a romantic relationship did blossom with one of her travel companions (Source: A Current Affair)
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2016