How to Talk to Your Parents About Traveling Abroad: Tips from Rustic Students
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How to Talk to Your Parents About Traveling Abroad: Tips from Rustic Students

We know it’s not easy to ask your parents to let you travel abroad by yourself—and potentially help pay for the trip.

That’s why we asked for some tips about how to talk to your parents about traveling abroad from students who’ve been all over the world with Rustic Pathways.

But first, we also wanted to provide some answers to questions we think your parents might have.

Q: How do we know it’s safe?

A: Our health and safety measures ensure students have clean water and food that meets their dietary needs, stay in secure accommodations and travel in regularly-maintained vehicles with safe drivers, and participate in service and activities with trusted vendors and partners.

Q: Who chaperones the trips?

A: We hire the most qualified Program Leaders. They have experience in classroom and experiential education, wilderness training, and international development. All full-time Program Leaders are trained as Wilderness First Responders and seasonal staff are at least CPR-certified.

In addition, students leaving from the United States are accompanied from one of our hub airports to their destination country by a Rustic Pathways Flight Leader.

Q: Why Rustic?

A: We’ve been the leader in international service learning and adventure travel for high school students since 1983. We have local full-time teams in every country where we operate who ensure you’ll have a unique and memorable experience. Learn more.

Rustic Student Tips

I made sure to have my answers ready beforehand on questions I knew they would ask. I also showed them reviews and pictures online and told them that the Rustic staff are very helpful if they wanted to call or email them. My parents felt a lot more comfortable with it after talking to someone from Rustic on the phone!

Quote by: Naima Labidi Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I started a fundraiser to help my parents pay for my first trip and I got a job the next school year to pay for my second trip. Also, I suggest going on service trip because that looks better on college applications and makes it more of a meaningful trip than a vacation.

Quote by: Noah Richter Tucson, Arizona

I used facts and how it would apply to me! Students that travel abroad with programs like Rustic, have better chances for getting accepted into colleges and scholarships, especially for community service. So Rustic trips look great on applications. Rustic trips also give students a different perspective on the world, and a completely different mindset. It felt really good to do the community service on my trip, and just seeing the completely different culture has changed my entire outlook on life and the world and the impact we can leave. I came back from Morocco a completely different person, and in a good way 😉

Quote by: Emily Mae Wilding Castle Rock, Colorado

I gave them feedback from friends and people who had already gone on a Rustic trip. I went on a Critical Issues program so I also did a lot of research into the issues we would be working on and the service we would be doing. That helped them realized that I was truly interested in the focus of the trip and I would get a lot out of it. It also helped that I saved up and paid for it myself.

Quote by: Nicole Sanders Oakland, California

I worked out how much I would pay and how much my parents would pay, which made them understand I was responsible to go overseas.

Quote by: Alice Markey Shaker Heights, Ohio

My parents and I made a Google spreadsheet, and focused on the cheapest programs, and how to pay for them. We worked out how much I would pay, and how much they would pay. In addition, we talked to some college counselors about how it would impact my résumé. My family is an incredibly service-based family, and after receiving Rustic recommendations from others, we were ready.

Quote by: Ellie Nebolsine Alexandria, Virginia

I agree that community service is a great way to develop understanding of other cultures, but I would also encourage students to really do some research on the culture / country they want to travel to. This demonstrates a lot of commitment, responsibility, and interest in traveling.

Quote by: Cassidy Brown Savannah, Georgia

I was involved In local service in my community for a long time before going on a trip, and for my first Rustic program, I traveled domestically to show that I could handle it. Then my second summer, I offered to pay for half of my trip and traveled internationally after proving the year before I could handle it.

Quote by: Olivia Powers Cape Elizabeth, Maine

For help identifying the right program for you, schedule a call with one of our Global Program Advisors.

About the Author

Rachel Levin

Brand Engagement Manager

Rachel joined Rustic in 2013 and led programs for three summers in Costa Rica, Peru, and Ghana. She’s also led programs in Fiji and Tanzania. A graduate of the University of Vermont with degrees in sociology and Spanish, Rachel focuses her love for travel, writing, and her unquenchable curiosity of our natural world as Rustic’s Brand Engagement Manager. Based in Tahoe, CA, Rachel is a talented ceramicist and lover of the outdoors.