Mystery Trip

Mystery Trip

The best adventures lie in the unknown.

Imagine not knowing where your travels will take you this summer—until arriving at the airport for your flight.

When you sign up for Rustic’s Mystery Trip, you’ll get a Patagonia duffel bag in the mail filled with subtle hints about your upcoming adventure and a packing list about a month before you leave. That’s it.

Even when you arrive in country, mystery looms. There’s no itinerary. Instead, you’ll wake to clues each morning and your group must decipher them to unravel that day’s adventure.

Join Rustic’s third Mystery Trip and explore iconic sites, discover the remote villages of some of our most beloved staff members, and blaze a trail for future students by exploring destinations we haven’t visited. Are you willing to take the leap?

Students love our programs!
Departure Dates

No-Stress Travel Guarantee!

With our No-Stress Travel Guarantee, you may cancel for any reason up until the day of travel, and escrow 100% of the program fees for up to two years from the cancellation date.
Program Profile

No-Stress Travel Guarantee!

With our No-Stress Travel Guarantee, you may cancel for any reason up until the day of travel, and escrow 100% of the program fees for up to two years from the cancellation date.
Program Profile

Wall Street Journal: Why Even Control Freaks Are Opting for ‘Surprise Vacations’

The Wall Street Journal featured Rustic Pathways in a recent story about the growing popularity of mystery trips.

“Shanna Bober, a 17-year-old high school junior from Boca Raton, Fla., signed on for a guided mystery trip with Rustic Pathways last summer. She had to fight the urge to scour images on the company’s website for clues as to where she was headed (Thailand and Myanmar, it turned out, with a group of similarly adventurous teens). “It was hard,” she said, “But it was actually more rewarding. Learning everything there, in the moment, was so much cooler.”

Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Follow these tips to pack like a pro:

Travel light. Pack only the essentials. You’ll need less than you think!
Bring the right clothes. Pack clothes that are culturally appropriate for your destination and acceptable for service projects. This means bringing long shorts (think Bermuda and basketball shorts), t-shirts with sleeves to cover shoulders, and appropriate footwear.
Leave your valuables behind. While traveling, it’s easier for things to get lost, stolen, or damaged. Keep any prized possessions safe at home.
Check with TSA. Make sure your luggage complies with TSA regulations, especially your carry-on. Useful tip: Pack an empty water bottle and fill it up after security.
Extra paperwork? If you need additional forms filled out to get credit for your service hours, no problem! Bring these forms with you so they can be completed in-country.

Rustic Gear. Want to get all your shopping done for your program in one place? We’ve got you covered. Check out Rustic Gear and get all the essentials sent right to your door.
Important Items
  • Headlamp w/ Extra BatteriesReusable Water Bottles (2L capacity)
  • Sunglasses w/ cord
  • Watch / Clock / Phone with an Alarm
  • Passport
  • Photocopy of Passport (you should carry two photocopies, one in your checked luggage and one in your carry-on)
  • Wallet
  • Hiking backpack – you will be using this almost every day as a daypack to carry essential gear
  • Backpack rain cover(s) – super important to have for your daypack, nice to have for your larger pack

A 25-30 Liter is ideal as this will also be the daypack you use during most daily activities.

  • ID or Passport (if applicable)
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Wallet/money
  • Visa documentation (if applicable)
  • Refillable Water bottle – 1+ Liter Bottle Required
  • Book and/or journal
  • Pen
  • Phone
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Change of clothes
  • Hiking boots or sturdy tennis shoes – will get dirty during service, need to provide lots of support.
  • Medication
  • Consent to Travel form
  • Rustic Pathways emergency contacts
  • Lightweight trekking pants (1)
  • Long pants (2 pair)
  • Quick drying underwear (7-9)
  • Quick drying socks (7-9)
  • Quick drying t-shirts (4-6)
  • Cotton t-shirts (2-3)
  • Long sleeve shirt (2)
  • Lightweight fleece jacket (1)
  • Waterproof rain jacket (1)
  • Shorts (2)
  • Swim Suit (1) – one-piece for women
  • Waterproof hiking boots (1) – these should be broken in! or Tennies shoes or close toe shoes
  • Water shoes / sandals (1) – like Tevas or Chacos
  • Hat (1) – good for keeping out of the sun during community service
  • Quick drying towel (1)
  • Pajamas (1)
  • Lightweight work gloves (1 pair)
  • Trekking poles – these will be provided in-country, but if you have a favorite pair feel free to bring
  • Gaiters – these are optional, but can be nice to have during the trek for leech prevention

All necessary toiletries can also be purchased in country (with the exception of stick deodorant and high quality feminine hygiene products)

  • Shampoo and soap
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Sunscreen (1 small bottle sunscreen)
  • Insect repellant
  • Hand sanitizer (1 small bottle)
  • Contact lenses and solution
  • Prescription medication
  • Small packs of Kleenex tissues or toilet paper rolls — not all toilets supply toilet paper
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
Optional Items
  • 2 x Heavy-duty garbage bags – for waterproofing luggage
  • Running shoes – if you are a runner
  • Extra pair of shoes – this is optional, but it can be nice to have another pair of footwear that you can wear around town comfortably
  • Deck of cards
  • Small games (Bananagrams, etc)
  • Small musical instrument
  • Digital camera
Important Notes About Your Luggage

Try your best to pack light. Everything should fit into one checked bag and one carry-on since you will be moving around and will be traveling by car, bus, foot, etc. A medium sized duffle bag or a backpacking backpack work best. We strongly recommend that you do not use wheeled bags as they are unwieldy and take up lots of space. There are also very few paved surfaces in country that you can wheel them on.