Health and Safety

Health and Safety

Ensuring the safety of your teen as they travel with Rustic Pathways is a top priority. For 40 years, we’ve refined our safety and security protocols to become a leader among providers of teen travel programs.

Rustic Pathways Health and Safety Measures

We take students to remote destinations, expose them to unfamiliar surroundings, and encourage personal growth through exploration. When conducted responsibly, these experiences transform students in ways that are impossible to replicate inside the classroom, and for this reason, the health and safety measures we take are a fundamental part of our travel programs.

Food and Water

Rustic Pathways chefs and cooks prepare meals and are trained to make necessary adjustments for specific dietary needs and allergies. Some meals will take place at trusted local restaurants. All water is bottled or purified.

Program Leaders

Many of our Program Leaders have backgrounds in teaching, experiential education, or international development. All full-time leaders are Wilderness First Responders and seasonal staff are First Aid and CPR certified—at a minimum. All Program Leaders receive additional specialized training annually in country before each summer travel season begins.

Our Program Staffing Team also conducts a four-month vetting process for applicants to identify the most talented and passionate Program Leaders.

Vendors and Partners

Rustic audits all external vendors and partners regularly to assess whether they’re reputable and safe. We review business infrastructure, hiring and training processes, and emergency management systems. All accommodation, transportation, and activity vendors and partners meet Rustic’s safety standards.

COVID-19 Safe Travel

To develop our guidelines for COVID-19 in particular, and disease management in general, Rustic Pathways relies on international and federal agencies such as the WHO and CDC, and state and local agencies such as departments of public health. We also consult medical advisors and peer organizations. Learn More

Child Protection

We work to create a safe environment for children and young adults and to protect them from harm, abuse, neglect, and exploitation in any form. All staff undergo comprehensive background checks and receive our annual child protection policy training. Rustic students also learn about child protection and how to interact with local children during their programs.

So responsive and responsible when our daughter Paloma got sick. Perfect response! Thank you!!!

Quote by: Dominique – California Morocco 2024

Preparing for Your Trip

  1. Complete Rustic’s Medical and Emergency form, which includes relevant medical histories, medications, food allergies, and dietary restrictions and our staff relays that information to Country Teams.
  2. Ask your Personal Travel Advisor any additional questions about your upcoming trip. They can also provide pre-trip support before you leave, including instructions for obtaining vaccinations and visas, and offering packing tips.
  3. Attend a pre-trip information session either in person or online to ask any last-minute questions about your trip.

During Your Trip

  1. Connect with an Airport Coordinator when you arrive at one of our hub airports for your flight who will help you check in and check your bags. Meet your Rustic Pathways Flight Leader, who will guide you through security and fly with you to your destination country.
  2. Meet your expert Program Leaders, who will be with you around the clock to deliver your program experience, answer any questions, or provide any medical assistance. Our student to Program Leader ratio never exceeds seven to one.
  3. Students and their parents have 24-7-365 emergency support

Additional Safety Information

Q: Who is responsible for health and safety at Rustic Pathways?
A: In addition to our experienced local Country Operations staff, we employ a Health and Safety Team that includes a consulting physician and psychologist.

Q: How does Rustic monitor international safety and security?
A: Global security is monitored through government agencies in the United States, UK, and Australia, and the Overseas Security and Advisory Council. Health monitoring is conducted through the WHO and CDC.

Q: Does Rustic sell travel insurance?
A: All participants of Rustic Pathways programs are strongly recommended to consider buying their own comprehensive medical insurance coverage. We partner with a company that offers a travel protection plan designed to protect our participants, their belongings, and their travel investment in those unforeseen circumstances that may arise during travel.

Q: How does Rustic respond to emergencies?
A: Country Operations teams and the Safety Director create risk management plans. They include critical incident protocols and natural disaster plans. However, most incidents Rustic responds to involve minor illnesses common during international travel. Program Leaders manage these situations with the support of Country Operations teams.

If an incident is more serious, Country Operations works with Rustic’s Crisis Response Team to coordinate the appropriate action. Rustic’s Safety Director, Medical Director, and Mental Health Director remain available to ensure that students, families, and other essential stakeholders are informed and supported throughout incidents.