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Miss Travel – the travel dating website

Even though I don’t usually review anything that I have not personally tried, I had to make an exception. I shared this post in May 2012 on my other blog. This is less of a review and more of an opinion piece.

Miss Travel – the travel dating website


Unlike other dating websites, this offers free travel for “beautiful people”. I know that they are trying to make this a classy website that is supposed to pair “generous people” (meaning people with money) with “attractive people” (meaning those who fit their standard of beauty). All I can think is that it is pairing people with more money than friends and people who agree that they should be rewarded for being born with pleasing features.
At first I thought that I might be suffering from sour grapes since I know that I probably do not fit media standards of what is beautiful. I look good enough, but I look nothing like the women shown on their home page. But then I realized that my main issue with the website is that it is essentially an escort service. I like the website tries to make it sound like this is all about matching travelers so that people do not have to travel solo. If this was really about pairing people with similar interests to see a city or share a vacation, they would have left off the part about the fact that the most important quality of the travel companion is their looks.
The people who will use this “travel dating” or matchmaker service will probably be middle age pudgy, balding, rich men with the type of personalities that make it difficult for them to function in most social settings. The website said that the travel companion has to be beautiful but made no such similar demands on those funding aforementioned travel excursions. Since the website is called Miss Travel, it stands to reason that the majority of the benefactors would be male. As it seems that this is supposed to be a dating service that facilitates the happy-ever-after ending, I would not be surprised if these girls are looking to be the eye candy for a sugar daddy that is financially secure enough to fund whatever they fancy for the long term. The guys might be looking for love with a beautiful person, but the girls are probably looking for big bank accounts.
With so much emphasis placed on the travel companion’s outer beauty, I wonder what kind of conversation will be had during the travels. I am not saying that intelligent people cannot be beautiful, but I have a hard time imagining that a smart pretty person would allow such objectification based solely on their appearance.
There can be no illusions during the trip. Each side knows how they arrived where they are. And I am sure it has to be a blow to the ego of the generous companion to know that this person who is considered “beautiful” would not give their generous benefactor a second glance if it had not been for fact he is paying for everything.
And on a baser level, since the generous companions are providing an all inclusive paid vacation for the beautiful person, what else might they think their payment entitles them to receive? It would be illegal for the website to imply the possibility that the generous companion might expect sex as part of the bargain. I would be interested to know if they are sharing hotel rooms on the vacation. If so, in a roundabout way, that beautiful person sold their body for a vacation in a popular locale. After it is all over, he has the pictures and a story to tell his friends and she has to answer at least one question, “Was it worth it?”

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Restaurant.com

Restaurant.com claims that you can get the best deals on the web by using their website. Having used their website, sometimes I got good deals and other times, it was a different story.

The normal cost of the certificates I have seen range from $5 – $40. The value may be $15 – $200. The way it works is that you pay a price for value at that restaurant. For example, I saw a “$25 off of $35 purchase” certificate that cost $10. At first glance this is a great deal. But you have to read the small print to see what is not included from the menu. Also, tax and 18% gratuity is added before deducting the certificate value.

Even if you only purchase $35 worth of food, your out of pocket costs at the restaurant will still be about $20. Add that to what you paid for the certificate, and your total out of pocket cost is $30. In essence, you only saved $5 by going through Restaurant.com. It is true that you still saved some money, but what the time and effort worth it? It depends on what you wanted.

When I went to San Francisco, I planned my dinners around what certificates I had. Since I did not know where I wanted to eat, I checked Restaurant.com, looked over the restaurant menus, and other websites for restaurant reviews. When I go to Atlanta, I check to see what is available also. If I have a taste for a certain cuisine, I might check to see what restaurants they have. Since I am not saving an extreme amount of money, I look at the certificate value also.

The bottom line is that if I am going to a restaurant with a coupon (which is what this essentially is), I want to feel as if I am getting some savings. If I have to pay a lot (yes, this is arbitrary and can mean different things to different people) in my opinion, the whole certificate purchasing process is not worth it. The way that I try to maximize my deal is to buy the certificates on sale. They regularly have 70% and 80% off certificates prices. Instead of paying $10, I would pay $2 or $3 for a certificate with $25 value. However, for many of the fancier restaurants, the promo codes do not apply.

I recommend using Restaurant.com but do the math first to make sure you are mentally prepared for what you will have to pay at the restaurant. Using their certificates does not slash your restaurant cost drastically, but it will reduce them.

Priceline – Name your own price- at your own risk

Priceline is known for their “Name your own price” catch phrase. With Priceline, it is hard not to think of their commercials with William Shatner. Whatever a person wants to bid, he tells them to go lower. I have used Priceline on numerous occasions, but I have not always been satisfied with the search results or the frequency with which they accept my bid.

First let me explain the how Priceline works.
You complete an online form with the specifics of what you want. Choose the area where you want to stay and type of hotel you want (number of stars). You are trying to get a nice room for a cheap price. The risk involved is that (1) you do not know the name of the hotel until after you pay, (2) you do not know exactly where the hotel is located, and (3) what you pay is non-refundable even if you don’t like what you ended up with.

If you like knowing where you are going at the time of booking, DO NOT use Priceline.com’s name your own price function.
If you have a specific area where you need to be located, DO NOT use Priceline.com’s name your own price function.
The same is true for plane tickets – if you have a specific time you need to arrive/depart DO NOT use Priceline.com’s name your own price function.

I mostly check Priceline for hotel prices and rental cars. When looking for a hotel, I limit my request to 3 or 4 star hotels only. If you include 2 or 2.5 stars means you will probably end up in a hotel that would not have chosen on your own. Some of their 2 star hotels in Days Inn, Comfort Inn, etc (the chances are high that these properties might need disinfecting or at least bring your own sheets). Since I like Renaissance, Marriott, Embassy Suites, Doubletree, Hilton, it is better that I limit to the highest rated hotel properties.

Then I do my research and by going to hotels.com website to check out the prices of similar rated hotels and bid half of their advertised rate. If there are no takers, I may increase my bid (decreasing my savings). If I don’t want to increase my bid, I will wait 24 hours and try again. Priceline tries to be helpful and suggest ways to get a “winning bid” but it usually includes choosing lower rated hotels. I work too hard to try to save a dollar by staying in a grungy motel. Most of the time Priceline does not accept my price for hotels. The few times that it has worked for me, I ended up at very nice hotels (Doubletree, Holiday Inn, Renaissance).

The cheapest flights are usually going to red-eye or multiple stops. Decide how much you want to be inconvenienced in your travel and then bid accordingly. Keep in mind, that the cheapest flight could be on multiple airlines or have crazy layover times (like 30 minutes between flights) in which case you could miss your connecting flight and end up spending more to get out of your connecting city than if you booked with a different travel agency.

Overall, using Priceline takes a lot of patience. It pays off if you are able to save money on your hotel room, rental car, or plane ticket. Some people swear by Priceline, but I have found that most of the time, I do not receive the major discounts that they say they are known for giving. To me, Priceline is good to check, but most of the time, you are better off trying to find a deal another way.