Safety & Risk Management

Philosophy of Risk

At Rustic Pathways, we understand that risk is an inherent part of our programs. We travel to remote destinations, expose our students to unfamiliar surroundings and encourage personal growth through new experiences. When conducted responsibly, these experiences create student transformations that are impossible to replicate. For this reason, our risk management system remains a fundamental component of all our programs. It is driven by strong leadership and executed successfully by our teams and partners.

Four Tiers of Risk Management

  1. Our Safety and Risk Management Director works year-round to establish global policies, support local country teams and train all levels of staff on emergency response activities.
  2. Country Directors maintain risk management plans for each program offered and location visited, perform safety assessments on service providers and monitor local conditions through a combination of on-the-ground contacts and information from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  3. Our Program Leaders are trained on localised risks and focus attention on the safety and well-being of our students. These combined efforts are complemented by our partnership with International SOS, the leading provider of international medical consultation, emergency evacuations and urgent travel services.
  4. Each participant completes our medical and emergency information enrolment form. Each form is reviewed by our medical screening team well before the trip begins to ensure participation is safe and appropriate for each student.

Rustic Pathways Health and Safety Measures Food and Water

Rustic chefs and cooks prepare meals and can make necessary adjustments for specific dietary needs and allergies. Some meals will take place at trusted local restaurants. All water is bottled or purified.

Accommodation and Transportation

All participants stay at Rustic-owned base houses or carefully vetted hotels, guesthouses, camps, or with trusted homestay families. In-country vehicle transportation is provided by Rustic drivers or local vendors. Rustic performs annual safety checks on all company-owned vehicles and vendor transportation companies.

Vendors and Partners

Rustic reviews all external service providers, including transportation, accommodation, and activity vendors, annually. Vendor business infrastructure, hiring and training processes, and emergency management systems are assessed to make sure they are reputable and safe.

Additional Safety Information

Q: Who is responsible for health and safety at Rustic Pathways?

A: In addition to our experienced local Country Operations staff, we employ a Health and Safety Team that includes a consulting physician and psychologist. Our Program Staffing Team also spends four months vetting applicants to identify the most talented and passionate Program Leaders.

Q: How does Rustic monitor international safety and security?

A: Global security is monitored through government agencies in the United States, UK, and Australia, and the Overseas Security and Advisory Council. Health monitoring is conducted through the WHO and CDC.

Q: Does Rustic have an international medical and evacuation provider?

A: Yes! Rustic also monitors safety and security with the help of International SOS, a leader in international medical, security, and travel services. All Rustic Pathways travellers also have access to International SOS services.

Q: Does Rustic sell travel insurance?

A: All participants of Rustic Pathways programs are strongly recommended to consider buying their own comprehensive medical insurance coverage. For students departing from outside the United States, we’ve partnered with Trawick International. They offer a travel protection plan designed to protect our participants, their belongings, and their travel investment in those unforeseen circumstances that may arise during travel. Contact the company to purchase a plan or for more information.

Q: How does Rustic respond to emergencies?

A: Country Operations teams and the Safety Director create risk management plans. They include critical incident protocols and natural disaster plans. However, most incidents Rustic responds to involve minor illnesses common during international travel. Program Leaders manage these situations with the support of Country Operations teams.

If an incident is more serious, Country Operations works with Rustic’s Crisis Response Team to coordinate the appropriate action, which could include engaging International SOS. Rustic’s Safety Director, Medical Director, and Mental Health Director remain available to ensure that students, families, and other essential stakeholders are informed and supported throughout incidents.