Commonly Asked Questions

Commonly Asked Questions

This section will help answer many of the first questions that may come to mind as you consider travelling with Rustic Pathways for the first time. This page provides a basic overview of the most commonly asked questions.

Who Are Rustic Pathways’ Leaders?

The safety of our clients and staff is our first priority. Rustic Pathways employs caring, responsible, experienced leaders from around the world. All staff are carefully selected and we conduct thorough background checks on all employees. Leaders and guides receive company training prior to leading our programs and hold qualifications appropriate for their program. Our leaders often include outdoor educators, former high school teachers, paramedics, wilderness first responders, EMTs, surf lifeguards and outdoor adventure guides. Our full-time country directors and program managers also lead many of our programs.

Does Rustic Pathways Book Students’ Flights?

Our program prices do not include international or domestic airfares. Rustic Pathways Travel Pty Ltd is a licensed travel agency in Victoria, Australia, and can take care of all flight arrangements for our clients. Please contact us for a competitive quote on airfares.

Do You Provide Chaperones on International Flights?

Generally we do not provide chaperones on flights to or from the starting locations of our programs. On selected departures involving large groups, Rustic Pathways can provide a program leader to accompany the group. Please call us on 1800 321 435 for further information.

Can You Provide References?

Yes, please contact us if you would like a reference list. We supply references upon request to parents and students who are genuinely considering one of our travel programs.

Do Students Need Special Skills to Join a Program?

Students join us from a variety of backgrounds and bring with them a mix of skills and experiences. Previous exposure to most activities is not necessary. We ask only that students bring a positive attitude and a willingness to welcome new experiences.

Which Program Should I Choose?

Students and parents are often amazed at the variety of Rustic Trips available. When you would like to speak with us, we are readily available to answer your questions, discuss our programs and assist you in creating the perfect experience that best suits your needs.

How are Service Hours Awarded?

Students are awarded community service hours through their participation on Rustic Trips. During September, we post out community service certificates. The online summary of each trip lists the maximum number of service hours available for participants on that program.

Who Should Join a Rustic Pathways Program?

Rustic Pathways’ programs are designed for positive, levelheaded students with a keen interest in experiential learning and international travel. Our programs are not suitable for students with behavioural problems, chemical dependencies or the inability to work constructively in a team environment. Further, students who are culturally insensitive or unable or unwilling to follow instructions and obey the Rustic Pathways rules are not welcome on our programs.

How Do We Apply for a Rustic Program?

Applications can be submitted online. Before submitting an application, students should be sure to review and accept our terms and conditions stated on our online application. To launch one of our Group Journeys, please contact our Australian office on 1800 321 435 from within Australia or on +61 3 5973 6980 from outside Australia. One of our team members will happily assist you to plan a program for your students.

What is Included in the Program Price?

All program prices exclude international and domestic airfares. Please contact us for a competitive quote on your flight arrangements. We do not like hidden extras and we include all the essentials to make our programs great. Our prices include full meals (B/L/D) on all trips except Gap Programs, which include breakfast and either lunch or dinner each day. All programs include accommodation, transportation, admission fees and guides while in the country of destination. The program price includes all activities that are listed in the program’s itinerary, except those activities marked as “(optional).” Some programs offer optional activities at an additional cost, such as skydiving or helicopter skiing. Personal expenses such as souvenirs, laundry, internet, snacks and phone calls are not included. We do not include passports, visas, vaccinations or travel insurance in our program prices.

What is Your Payment Schedule for Programs?

All programs incur a non-refundable $100 booking and administration fee, which is due upon application. Program payments are automatically spread into equal monthly instalments with the first payment due fifteen days after an Acceptance Letter is issued. There is no additional cost for this extended payment program. However, any payment received after the due date will incur a $50 late fee. All trips must be paid in full at least 65 days prior to the scheduled departure date. Students who apply fewer than 65 days before the departure date will have an accelerated payment schedule. Clients will receive our full terms and conditions before applying for any of our programs.

When Can I Expect to Hear From My Child?

Students have limited access to phones during most programs. Internet access is usually available once or twice a week and most students stay in touch through e-mail. Students may not use mobile phones during programmed activities or group time on the trip. Limited mobile phone use is permitted during free time as determined by the trip leaders. Many of our programs travel in remote areas with limited or no mobile phone service and the ability to make calls is not guaranteed.

Can Parents Tag Along on These Programs?

Our student programs are reserved for students only. Our family programs allow parents and their children to travel together. Each year many parents organise personal trips through Rustic Pathways that allow them to enjoy independent travel and then join their children.

Do Students Need Spending Money on Their Programs?

Yes. While Rustic Pathways’ programs are quite comprehensive and include almost all items, students will need some spending money for optional activities and personal expenses such as souvenirs, phone calls, internet, laundry and snacks.

What Should Students Bring Along on Their Trip?

Detailed packing lists are posted for each program. Students should bring their passport, airline tickets, clothing and any other personal items detailed on the packing list for their program.

How is the Food on Your Programs?

Great food and experiencing local cuisines is essential to every program. Cooks take advantage of the fresh foods available throughout the countries we visit. We can cater for most dietary requests.

Where do Rustic Students Come From?

Students join us from every corner of the globe, but the majority of our participants are from the United States. In coming years we will have a much higher percentage of Australian and New Zealand students on our programs. Give us a call and we’ll tell you where the kids on your trip come from.

Should I Bring a Friend?

Not necessarily! Many of our students come on programs alone. Students who come on programs together share a great holiday adventure, but most of our students leave home without knowing anyone in their group and quickly form lasting friendships.

Can I Join a Rustic Pathways Program from Outside Australia or New Zealand?

Absolutely! Many international students join us each year. Students beginning their program from outside Australia will receive guidelines for making their own international flight arrangements and our staff will meet them at the airport when they arrive. International students can contact us at rustic@rusticpathways.com.au or by phone at +61 3 5973 6980 or by fax at +61 3 5973 6780.

Rustic Pathways Waivers and Medical Forms

After a student is accepted into a program, the student’s family will be responsible for correctly completing all required waivers and medical forms prior to departure. The waivers and medical forms will be emailed to students as part of a larger information package. Participants will not be allowed to travel on their program(s) without the completion of these forms.

Terms, Conditions, Refunds and Cancellation Penalties

Our full terms and conditions are stated on our online application forms. The application fee is non-refundable unless Rustic Pathways is unable to accommodate the student on the programs selected. Rustic Pathways reserves the right to cancel, alter, reschedule or amend any or all programs offered at any time. If a trip is cancelled by Rustic Pathways prior to the beginning of the program, Rustic Pathways will refund all payments made by the applicant. If a trip is cancelled by Rustic Pathways once it has begun, a portion of the participant’s total payments will be refunded. Once the application has been accepted, cancellation by the student results in a penalty. Once the student has been accepted into a Rustic Pathways trip, cancellation by the student more than 90 days prior to the student’s first scheduled departure date results in a loss of 40 percent of the total trip cost. Cancellation by the student between 89 and 45 days prior to the student’s first scheduled departure date results in a loss of 70 percent of the total trip cost. Cancellation by the student fewer than 45 days prior to the student’s first scheduled departure date results in the loss of 100 percent of the total trip cost. To cancel a trip, please complete the cancellation form, which can be found at rusticpathways.com.au/revisions. The trip cancellation date is determined by the date we receive written notice by mail, e-mail or fax indicating that you wish to cancel the program. Verbal notice will not serve as valid cancellation notification.

No Anxiety Policy

The Rustic Pathways No Anxiety Policy allows you to postpone your son or daughter’s program and take it in a future year, provided we are notified in writing at least 21 days before the scheduled departure date. If this option is selected, there is no penalty charge against the program portion of the cost, but the cost of the airline tickets will be subject to any change or cancellation penalties charged by the airline. We then hold the program payments in escrow and you can apply these funds to the Rustic Pathways high school, school leavers or gap program of your choice at any time in the next two years. If funds are not used within two years, they are forfeited. International Exchange Rates Rustic Pathways operates most of its programs outside Australia and pays for most of these programs in local currencies. Should the value of the Australian dollar decrease and thereby increase our operating costs, we reserve the right to increase our program price in proportion with the change in the value of the Australian dollar and invoice participants for this increase in costs.