It’s called destination dating and Aussie Cassandra says there’s no pressure to have sex.
A cash-strapped student has enjoyed over $50,000 worth of luxury holiday’s this year, when rich men paid to fly her around the world on exotic dates.
Cassandra Jacqueline, 21, from Adelaide, South Australia, couldn’t afford to travel overseas on her minimum wage as a waitress.
But after joining the dating site, Miss Travel, the single languages student has enjoyed several all-expenses paid trips abroad to numerous destinations, including Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Bali and even a five-star trip to Japan.
While some people have likened the unusual form of dating with prostitution, the young singleton thinks it’s the best way to date and can’t imagine ever enjoying conventional dates again.
She said: “In the last year I’ve been to places I could never have visited alone, costing at least $50,000.
“It’s been amazing to enjoy new cultures with someone new by your side. Plus, they cover the cost of it all so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
“Some people have made comments about how it’s like prostitution, but it’s not.
“I do a lot of research before I meet a guy online in a foreign country and there are ground rules. There’s absolutely no pressure to have sex.
“I’ve had the best holidays because of the strangers that want to take me on far-away dates. It’s honestly killed normal dating for me.”
Cassandra was backpacking her way through China on a budget when she first heard about the latest trend, destination dating.
She said: “When I first heard about travel dating, I thought it was too good to be true.
“I was making my way through China at the time, living on a budget of about $10 a day which was incredibly stressful.
“Then I met a couple who seemed completely loved up.
“The ‘wife’ later revealed that her ‘husband’ was in fact someone she’d just met a few days earlier and the trip they were enjoying, was their first date.
“As soon as I heard about Miss Travel, I knew it was a dating experience I wanted to be a part of.
“After all, I was young and single. I had nothing to lose.”
Back home in Adelaide, struggling student Cassandra joined the dating site, and soon she was chatting to several potential suitors.
She said: “It was nerve-wracking at first. I’d listed on my profile that I was looking for someone to pay for my ticket and I didn’t know how the guys would take it.
“But when I started talking to a businessman from Adelaide, who was going on a trip to Singapore for work and wanted company, I decided to take the plunge.
“We actually met locally beforehand and definitely clicked, so I was excited for our second date in a foreign location.
“We flew business class and stayed at the Marina Bay hotel, which costs $950 a night, and has a beautiful skyline infinity pool.
“Every day he’d go off to fulfill his work commitments and I’d stay at the hotel, using the breathtaking pool while enjoying cocktails.
“One afternoon he even paid for me to go to Universal Studios.
“I didn’t mind that I was alone as I was getting to explore an exciting new country and didn’t have to worry about the cost.
“In the evenings, we’d meet up and enjoy dinner and talk about our days. It was perfect.”
Sadly, love didn’t blossom for Cassandra after her first paid for date, but she wasn’t deterred by the experience.
She said: “I started talking to an American not long after who was working in Asia and we agreed to meet in Bali for a few days.
“We met at the airport which was a bit awkward, but because of the nature of the date, it didn’t take long to relax.
“We stayed in a villa together with private rooms and unfortunately there wasn’t any chemistry between us.
“But we had a great time, hiking through the rice paddies and enjoying the local cuisines.
“How can you possibly have a bad date in such an amazing location?”
It was in October of this year, that Cassandra went on her most luxury getaway to date, a month long trip around Asia, where no expense was spared.
She said: “This guy really took his time to get to know me, and suggested taking me on my dream trip to Japan, followed by short stays in Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand.
“I’d wanted to explore Japan because my favourite book is Memoirs of a Geisha and he decided to take me to where it had been set.
“He whisked me off on a first class flight which was an out of this world experience.
“From the moment we met I was smitten.
“For just over a month, we travelled through Asia together and I even got to return to Singapore, staying in the most unique and extravagant hotels.
“He’d wine and dine me each night and we had the best time visiting all the local tourist attractions.
“There was no expense spared it must have cost at least $35,000. I felt so special.”
Though Cassandra raves about her year travelling the world, meeting potential partners, some of her friends and family are unconvinced by the process.
She said: “I’ve had a few comments about it being like Pretty Woman and suggesting it’s essentially like being an escort.
“I don’t feel like that at all.
“The men I’ve met are all in high powered jobs and find it hard to meet women. They just want company.
“Plus, before we even meet we always know we have a shared passion – travel!
“If love was to blossom, that’s a bonus.
“I’ve never felt under pressure to have sex with any of my dates. If something happens, it’s because we feel a connection and want to explore it. Not because they’ve paid for my flight.”
Before accompanying men on trips abroad, Cassandra says she has ground rules, such as agreeing not to drink too much and ensures she gets to know her date first before meeting up.
She added: “I have been offered so many amazing experiences in such a short amount of time that I can’t think of a better way of dating.
“It has changed the way I look at potential partners too. A movie and dinner isn’t going to cut it anymore.
“Why settle for average when you can find someone to travel the world with and share these amazing experiences?”