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How 3 Schools Customized Their Group Travel Programs
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How 3 Schools Customized Their Group Travel Programs

We understand that every school, curriculum, educator, and reason for traveling is different. An itinerary that might be perfect for you may not be the right fit for someone else.

That’s why we don’t believe in choosing from a set of pre-made itineraries. Instead we promise customized, private group travel experiences. But what does that mean? Good question. It can mean a lot of things, so we’re sharing some of our most popular customization requests and how we accommodated them using real examples.

Click on the link to navigate to the story that most closely resembles what you’re looking for:

Middle School Travel

Large Group Travel

IB Curriculum-Focused Travel

1. Middle School Travel

The Need: A renowned preparatory school in Korea had a vision to make international service-learning an integral part of secondary education. This was a new concept for its community, especially for students as young as 6th grade.

The Solution and Customization: Together with the school administration, the Rustic Pathways team built three programs tailored to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. To cater to this specific age group we:

  • Select locations that are appropriate for young, first-time travelers. Our base houses are the ideal places to host these large middle school trips by offering the perfect balance of immersion and comfort.
  • Provide extra support to parents and students preparing for the trip. We ensure parents and students understand the value of the experience, and feel comfortable with what to expect before, during, and after travel.
  • Hand-pick our Rustic Pathways Program Leaders based on their experience with younger students. We also change the ratio of RP program leaders from 6:1 to 4:1 to provide extra attention for young students.
  • Design every aspect of the trip to make it appropriate for 11- to 14-year-olds: service initiatives, learning goals, risk management protocols, debrief discussions, cultural activities, and everything in between.


2. Large Group Travel

The Need: A world-class international academy in Singapore was searching for a single location where 100+ students and 15+ school educators could access opportunities for authentic, sustainable, and immersive service-learning while also staying under a single roof for a unified experience.

The Solution and Customization: We want every student and educator who travels with us to be personally impacted by their Rustic program in meaningful and lasting ways; even with large groups, our commitment to that does not waver. To ensure uniform quality, no matter the group size we:

  • Provide a dedicated administration team to handle all student enrollments, online payments, electronic forms, group airfare, parent / student questions, pre-trip resources, medical screenings, packing lists, and everything in between.
  • Suggest one of our purposefully-built base houses in countries around the world that provide the capacity for large groups, offer endless options for program customization, and ensure a unified experience for all travelers.
  • Break down the large group into consistent sub-groups during service projects, select activities, and debrief discussions to build deeper connections, and foster consistent relationship-building.
  • Encourage plenty of time and space to come together at the base house for meals and whole-group activities to create a deep sense of shared experience among everyone on the trip.


3. IB Curriculum-Focused Travel

The Need: A prestigious high school in Kyoto, Japan, sought to design an educational travel experience to bring its International Baccalaureate curriculum to life outside the classroom.

The Solution and Customization: A set academic partnership ensured the school’s programs in Thailand and Fiji not only fit the International Baccalaureate CAS (Creativity, Activity, and Service) components and standards, but each itinerary was also an authentic and purposeful experience for its students. In order to achieve these goals we:

  • Design pre-trip lesson plans for educators intended to deepen classroom learning, thus impacting the depth of learning on the programs.
  • Provide each chaperone with our Educators’ Guide to Student Learning resource book designed to offer project-based learning ideas relevant before, during, and after travel.
  • Compile classroom resources including articles, books, movies, podcasts, and templates specific to the itinerary and region of travel.
  • Integrate strands of ToK (theory of knowledge) and core academic subjects into the itinerary, and provide a library of program-related content across curricular areas for teachers to use in their classrooms throughout the year leading up to the trips.
  • Program leaders facilitate and support reflection and journaling throughout the experience and support how the program relates back to what students learn in the classroom and their lives moving forward.

For more information about creating a program for your class, visit our Group Travel website.

About the Author

Elizabeth Cortese

Social Media and Influencer Marketing Manager

Liz first developed a passion for travel while summiting Mount Kilimanjaro as a Rustic student. This taught her at an early age the importance of experiential education for students around the world. She has since graduated with a bachelor’s in marketing communications from Emerson College in Boston. When Liz is not hopping from restaurant to restaurant in San Francisco or buried in a New York Times bestseller, she can be found packing her bags to spend time with family and friends.