See below for our most frequently asked questions regarding travel, food, accommodations—you name it! If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for here, contact us by phone at 800.321.4353 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our programs are designed for positive, open-minded students with keen interests in experiential learning, adventure, and cultural exchange. Be ready for mental, emotional, and physical challenges!
Students join us from a variety of backgrounds and bring a mix of skills and experiences. First and foremost, we ask that you bring a positive attitude and a willingness to learn.
We can accommodate participants 17 to 22 years old. Most participants are 18 or 19 years old. Seventeen year olds may join as long as they have either graduated from high school or have fulfilled all their requirements to graduate.
Our semester programs are typically made up of five to fourteen participants. If you’re curious about the age and gender of other participants on a program, just ask—we can let you know!
Primary Program Leaders are fully fluent in English, proficient in local languages and cultures, have medical training, and are among our most experienced and highly-trained group leaders. In addition, support staff members, such as local guides help to supervise students. Every program will include staff members certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR.
Check out these blog posts to learn more about how we identify, hire, and train our Program Leaders:
Supervision and levels of structure vary by program type. We maintain a staff to student ratio not less than 1:7 on all programs.
Accommodations vary by location. Most programs include hotels, guesthouses, homestays, and sometimes include camping in tents. While accommodations may be basic at times, we carefully check each location to ensure that it meets our safety standards.
As an industry leader, Rustic Pathways takes the health and safety of our students extremely seriously. We have comprehensive risk management and emergency response systems and go to great lengths to educate and train our leaders to be prepared for urgent situations. In fact, nearly all of our full-time operations staff, including Program Leaders are certified as Wilderness First Responders. To complement these efforts, we have partnered with International SOS, leading provider of international medical consultation, emergency evacuations, and urgent travel services. All participants have access to International SOS benefits through the Rustic Pathways’ membership. Visit gap.rusticpathways.com/safety to to learn about our safety and risk management policies.
We can accommodate most dietary requirements. However, certain types of allergies may not be conducive to travel in some remote areas. It’s very important that you advise us of any allergies or special dietary needs at the time of your application as well as on your medical forms, so we can support you in making the right decision about which program to choose.
We accept applications on a rolling basis—however, applying sooner rather than later secures your spot on the program of your choice, makes it easier to obtain tickets and visas, and allows you to pay by installments.
After your application is reviewed, we’ll contact you for an enrollment meeting to review the information you provided and discuss the programs you’ve chosen. You’ll also receive an enrollment letter via email with details about forms and payment necessary to complete the enrollment process.
We’ll ask you to electronically sign a Participant Enrollment Agreement, submit an online medical history form, and send a copy of your passport. We may request additional forms in some cases.
We’ll send you information about booking your program start and end flights about two months before your trip begins. You’ll have the option to book your own flights or have Rustic Pathways book them for you. Internal flights, which are flights that occur between or within destination countries during your program, will be automatically booked and managed by Rustic Pathways.
Visa requirements depend on your nationality, the country you are traveling to, and the length of time you will be there. To make this process easier for you, however, Rustic Pathways partners CIBT Visas. We will provide you with more information once you’ve enrolled. Students traveling on passports from other countries will be able to apply for visas independently or by using local visa expeditors. We are happy to answer any questions and provide guidance, but it’s each student’s responsibility to ensure that they have the necessary visas.
Check out Everything You Need to Know About Tourist Visas to learn more.
We require all students have active medical insurance coverage valid for the duration and locations of their programs. In the event of injury or illness, we’ll help you seek proper medical attention. However, you are ultimately responsible for all expenses incurred for medical treatment and services received.
Discuss your travel plans with your physician and schedule an appointment with a travel clinic well in advance of your departure. Print the itinerary from the program website and show it to a travel doctor or clinic, so they can suggest vaccines and preventative medications for the regions where you’ll be traveling. Be aware that some immunizations require multiple injections spread out over several weeks so plan accordingly. The following websites provide useful information for travelers:
Learn more by visiting our travel vaccinations page.
Yes. We offer a number of scholarships that are awarded based on financial need and commitment to success. Click here to learn more.
Phone and internet service are often readily available to our students. However, there are portions of our programs when students will need to go up to two weeks without access to phones or internet. We encourage students to limit communication with their parents to a phone call or message no more than once per week. This ensures group cohesion, the building of trust among students and leaders, and allows for the most culturally-immersive experiences. We suggest that students and their parents create communication plans that set clear expectations around the frequency of, and reasons for contacting each other. In urgent situations, students and parents have access to our 24-hour emergency line, which they can call for immediate assistance.