How to be Rustic
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How to be Rustic

Please put your phone away. Your program leaders are going to tell you this on your program, not because they want to be controlling, but because they want you to fully experience and appreciate your Rustic adventure.

The spectacular sunset over the highlands of Fiji is not going to wait while you post on Instagram, and the dolphin in the Dominican Republic isn’t going to do a second backflip because you were too busy texting and missed it the first time. Facebook, Snapchat, and texting can wait. The incredible events happening on your program will not.

It will be hard at first, but once you put down your phone you’ll realize you’re traveling in a new place with some awesome people on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Put your phone away, we promise it will be worth it.


Something you discover through travel is that toilets are not the same around the world. The toilets you have at home are probably different from the ones you’re going to use overseas — and that’s part of your Rustic experience. At the end of the day a toilet is a toilet, whether it’s “the throne” or “the hole,” so don’t be intimidated. Everyone goes, it’s just a question of whether you’re sitting or squatting. Pack some tissues, embrace the new and different things about the country you’re going to visit, and have fun being rustic.


Two more Rustic tips fresh off the press! These tips are about two very important topics: staying hydrated and making friends.

We’re telling you now—your program leaders are going to remind you to drink water constantly. They will tell you to drink up at meals, during breaks from service, and on the bus ride to the day’s next adventure. Hydrating is a key component to staying healthy while on your program and enjoying every minute of it. So make sure you bring a refillable water bottle with you on your program so you can drink water all day long. Water=Life.


Another question we hear a lot is whether most students travel alone or with a friend. Generally, most students on Rustic trips are coming solo, though some students come with friends or siblings. Bottom line—no matter whether you travel alone or with a friend, you will make new friends on your program, it’s practically impossible not to. Come with an open mind and a positive attitude and you will be surprised at how quickly strangers turn into close friends. We asked three students who traveled with us about their experiences and this is what they had to say:

Dany traveled alone. “I did not imagine that after several weeks of bonding I would open up to people that I had met only days before… The thought of creating strong connections that last forever never crossed my mind. We might live on different continents, but the desire to make a change in someone else’s life is strong enough to bring us together through Rustic Pathways.”

Molly and Anna met on a Rustic Pathways program. “I met [Anna] on this trip and we see each other many times a year now. We went together to Morocco this past summer as well, and are constantly brainstorming our next adventure. She is what I am most grateful to Rustic for, and has changed my life in so many ways since that unforgettable trip. I wouldn’t be who I am without her or Rustic.”

Charlotte and Collin shared an adventure together. “I actually had more fun when I was on trips with my brother than without him. I think siblings have to know and also have to want to travel with each other. Colin and I like it because we both take in things differently and then help the other one see it too. We both value learning the culture, meeting people, and having a good time when we travel.”

Check out more Rustic tips below!

Hot new Rustic tip coming your way! This week’s tip is all about what you should pack to be prepared for your program, particularly for the service component. Since we want to be culturally respectful in all the locations we visit and work in, we ask that you leave your crop tops, short shorts, cut-off t-shirts, and shirts with questionable writing on them at home. Pack appropriate tops, bottoms, and your closed-toe shoes and come ready to work hard during service. Remember, there is a 250% chance you will get dirty during service so leave your favorite t-shirts and brand new sneakers behind. If you’re not sure what’s appropriate, feel free to call or email and we are more than happy to help.

Dreading shopping for your trip? Fear not; we’ve got you covered with Rustic Gear. All the essentials for your program in one place. Done and done.

Check back soon for another Rustic tip!


Happy President’s Day! With spring break right around the corner and summer programs just a few months away, we wanted to start prepping you with our insider tips. Combining everyone at Rustic’s travel experiences with the drawing skills of our very talented graphic designer, Naomi, we will be sharing our “How To Be Rustic Tips” as you start preparing for your upcoming adventures.

First up: pack light! Remember, you’re only going away for a week or two, you don’t need to bring all your worldly possessions. If you’re unsure if you need to bring something or not, the answer is probably, “no.” Pack clothes that you can layer, re-wear, and get dirty; remember, this is not a fashion contest. We know how stressful and unglamorous packing can be, but if you use the packing lists we’ve provided and only bring what you need, you will be doing yourself a huge favor.

If you’re still debating whether or not to bring that extra suitcase filled with 50 pounds of snacks, we hope this graphic will clear things up for you. (PS—the answer is NO)


Remember—keep calm and pack light! Check back for more Rustic tips coming soon.

About the Author

Kelly Moynihan

Peru Country Director

More than a decade of program leader experience, fluency in Spanish, and commitment to community service make Kelly a natural fit to direct our Peru operations. Previously, Kelly worked in Costa Rica with indigenous communities and turtle conservation efforts after joining Rustic in 2008. Originally from New Jersey, Kelly earned a degree in journalism from American University in Washington, D.C.