General Questions

  • Our programs are designed for positive and level-headed students with interests in experiential learning and travel. Our programs are not suitable for students with conduct disorders, chemical dependencies, an inability to work constructively in team environments or follow instructions, or an unwillingness to behave in a culturally sensitive manner.

  • Rustic Pathways students come from all over the country and the world. Approximately 80 percent of our students are American, and we are thrilled to welcome more and more international students each year.

  • This varies for each program and program date. If you are curious about the age and gender of other participants on a particular program, just let us know and we will tell you!

  • No, most Rustic Pathways students do not know anybody when they arrive. Some students do choose to travel with a friend, but either way you will have an incredible Rustic experience.

  • Every program will include staff members with a minimum certification of First Aid and CPR. Many of our programs will include staff members with Wilderness First Responder, EMT, Surf Lifeguard, and other certifications.

  • Rustic Pathways Personal Travel Advisors are always available to work with you to meet your needs. Whether you have special dietary needs, hope to combine programs, or just want more details about a program, we are here to talk.

    If you live in the United States, call us at 800.321.4353.

    If you live outside the United States, call us at +1 440.975.9691.

    Or email us at

Questions Before Departure

  • As a leader in our industry, Rustic Pathways takes the health and wellbeing of our students extremely seriously. We have comprehensive risk management and crisis response systems and go to great lengths to educate and train our leaders in first aid. In fact, nearly all of our full-time operations staff are certified as Wilderness First Responders. To compliment these efforts, we are partnered with HX Global, one of the world’s leading providers of medical and travel assistance services. All participants traveling with Rustic Pathways will have access to HX Global services through Rustic Pathways’ membership. Click here for more information on the services provided by HX Global.

  • Be an informed traveler! We are here to help with this but legally cannot provide direct medical advice on vaccinations and inoculations. However, we suggest you visit the below websites for up to date information. Additionally, we provide you with an included membership to HX Global, our partner for global emergency and medical services, when you participate in our programs. This is a great resource for specific regional information and travel consultation. You should review these websites, consult with your local travel clinic, and discuss your travel plans with your physician prior to travel. Be aware that some immunizations involve a series of inoculations or medications, so don’t put this off for the last minute.

  • Rustic Pathways requires that all students have international medical insurance coverage for the duration of their travels. In the event of injury or illness, we will take care of your student’s well-being; however, the family is responsible for all expenses incurred for  medical treatment and services received. Students should carry their insurance information while traveling on Rustic Pathways programs.

    We partner with Trip Mate to offer our families with an optional Travel Protection Plan (which includes primary medical coverage) for those who choose to purchase it. To learn more about the Plan and to view the Plan Document, visit:

  • Visas depend on both your nationality and the particular country you will be visiting. It is ultimately your responsibility to make sure you meet the entry and exit requirements for each country, but we are here to help.  Rustic Pathways partners with G3 Visas and Passports to make this process as easy as possible.  More information about acquiring visas with the help of G3 will be sent to you upon your enrollment.

  • Once your child arrives safely at his or her destination, you will receive a safe arrival email from us within 24 hours. After this email, no news is good news.

    Generally we suggest, that students try to unplug from technology and connect with their program experience. Programs vary on remoteness, but most provide the opportunity for your child to email or otherwise contact you. We suggest working out these expectations with your child before the trip starts.

  • Each of our programs has a packing list online.

Administrative Questions

  • Rustic Pathways accepts payments by secure electronic check (ACH payment), check, money order, or wire transfer. Specific options depend upon the country in which you bank. Payment details will be included with your Welcome Letter and Invoice or your Personal Travel Advisor can answer any additional questions. For more information, click here.

  • Credit card processors charge a premium for transactions associated with travel services. In an effort to reduce the costs that we pass through to our clients, we are no longer accepting credit cards as payment for program or flight costs.

    This is a decision that we did not make lightly and we understand the inconvenience this may cause you, but the significant cost savings will allow us to minimize program and flight price increases while continuing to invest in top tier program leaders and our community development initiatives.

  • NOTE: As your day of travel approaches, we may require that payments be made on a shorter installment plan. This may be necessary in order for us to make all required travel arrangements (such as flights and accommodations).

    At the time of enrollment, you will have the option of selecting to pay in full or to pay in installments.

    Payments in full: an estimate of your full itinerary cost will be provided to you during the enrollment process. Depending upon your program selection you may be required to pay additional costs for international airfare after your enrollment has been processed. You will be sent a Welcome Letter and Invoice within 2-3 business days of your submission. Any further costs will be reflected on your invoice along with your payment due dates.

    Should you choose to pay in installments, your invoice will be split into two equal installments of 50%. Your first payment is due within 15 days of enrollment. Your second and final payment is due no later than 90 days prior to the departure of your program. All installment plans will be assessed a 3% service charge based upon the total invoiced amount.

    Payment for any applicable enrollment fees, optional Trip Cancellation Waiver elections, and Trip Mate travel insurance enrollments is due at the time of enrollment.

  • If you would like to change to a different program after you have signed up, simply fill out a revision request at Revisions incur a $100 fee up until 30 days before your trip. If you enrolled through one of our discount promotions, please see your specific program rules.

    Refunds for program cancellations are issued on a sliding scale based on how soon the start date is. We recommend you purchase our Optional Cancellation Waiver for maximum refund. The cancellation schedule for your particular trip should be included on your invoice.

    Please read our Cancellation Policy for more information.

  • We are in the process of trying to reduce fees, but please see below for a list of fees that may be incurred.

    • Application Fee: Regular $100; Late Season (after February 28th): $200
    • HX Global Travel Assistance Membership: $69 (click here for more information)
    • Transportation / Special Arrangements Fee: $135 or more each way – On programs where students must arrange their own airfare, if students do not arrive or depart within the designated timeframe, a fee of $135 each way will be assessed.
    • Administration Fee: $100 for revisions when requested after issuance of your original invoice; $150 for revisions when the request is received less than 30 days prior to the departure date.
    • Travel Coordination Fee: $150 when you book your own airfare for Costa Rica or Peru. Please see our policy regarding doing your own airfare.
    • Airline Ticket Change Fees: Vary depending on airline
    • Late Payment Fee: $50
    • Late Form Fee: $50
    • Returned Check Fee: $25
    • Non-USD Check Bank Fee: $10
  • There are two forms that are required for all students traveling on a Rustic Pathways program, and one that is strongly recommended.

    • Our online medical form will need to be completed as soon as possible, so our staff can screen your student to make sure they can be safely accommodated on the program they have chosen. A unique link for your student will be supplied to you in your Welcome Letter.
    • Our Participant Enrollment Agreement (PEA) will need to be signed by at least one parent/guardian and your student.
    • Strongly Recommended: The Consent to Travel Statement can be found here.

    Additionally, certain programs have required forms specifically related to activities offered on that program. A list of programs and the required forms for participation can be found here.

Travel Questions

  • In most cases, chaperoned international flights leave from hub airports within the United States. We require our students to arrive at their hub airport at least four hours before the flight. In the weeks before students leave and just prior to departure, we will send detailed airport information and flight times to parents.

    In some cases, we also arrange the domestic flights to and from our hub airports.  Visit the Travel Information page for the country you are interested in for more information on how our flights work.

  • Yes, Rustic Pathways flight leaders escort our international flights from each gateway airport. We also have staff in these airports to ensure safe travel. On certain routes outside of the United States, students may not be escorted, but they are checked in for their flight by our staff and again met by staff at their arrival airport. Once your child arrives safely, you will receive a safe arrival email from us within 24 hours. After this email, no news is good news!

  • If you are beginning and ending your travels in North America, Rustic Pathways will handle your international ticketing. We purchase blocks of seats to ensure that all students travel on the same chaperoned airplane. For specific countries of travel, we also handle domestic ticketing within the United States for our students.

  • No, international airfare is an additional cost. You can find airfare estimates by visiting our Travel Information pages.

  • After leading trips for over 30 years, we have found this is the safest and most orderly way to operate. We can control ticketing, routing changes, and have a chaperone onboard. There have been times in the past when parents ticketed their children to San Jose, California instead of San José, Costa Rica by mistake, and our group tickets minimize some of these wrinkles.

  • Some of our airlines allow students to earn miles while others unfortunately do not. Your Personal Travel Advisor will be able to provide you with that information upon request. For the airlines that do accept frequent flyer information, please present your information at the check-in counter for your flight. We are unable to add the information to your ticket in advance.

  • Visas depend on both your nationality and the particular country you will be visiting. It is ultimately your responsibility to make sure you meet the entry and exit requirements for each country; however, Rustic Pathways partners with G3 Visas and Passports, a well-known visa service provider, to help make this process easier. We will provide you with more information once you’ve enrolled.

  • Yes! Many Rustic Pathways students choose the exciting option of combining multiple programs during a single trip. While many of our programs are designed to connect easily, others take a bit of coordinating. If it’s possible, we’ll make it happen! Contact us if you have any specific connectivity questions about our programs.

Contact Us

Whether you’re interested in traveling with Rustic Pathways or you are already enrolled, please feel free to get in touch.

Within the U.S. 1.800.321.4353

Outside the U.S. 1.440.975.9691


Financial Aid

Rustic Pathways is committed to making life-changing opportunities available to students worldwide. Click here if you’re interested in learning more about our financial aid options.

You can also download our Fundraising Guide.