Student Travel with Rustic Pathways

Student travel with Rustic Pathways will change you. It will open your eyes and your heart. It will teach you to be a responsible traveller, not just a tourist. It will show you what it means to positively impact the communities you visit, and, in turn, the world. You’ll find inspiration, make lifelong friends and learn to see the world from a whole new perspective. Are you ready to make the memories you’ll be talking about for the rest of your life? 

Since 1983, Rustic Pathways has been operating intentionally designed, transformative student-travel programs with impact at the core of the experience. Read on to explore all the exciting ways students can travel with us! >>

Rustic Trips

These open enrolment programs are an incredible opportunity to travel with students from all over the world! Running during the USA summer break (June-August), Rustic Trips run in every single country where we operate programs. With dozens of programs tailored to all different interests, there’s a Rustic Trip to suit every traveller! 

Who: Students age 14-18 from anywhere in the world

What: 1-3 week, adventure-filled service learning programs all over the world. You can also combine multiple programs to make a longer trip!

When: June through August

Explore Rustic Trips

Hands-on learning on how experts conserve these endangered creatures


An exploration of Thailand’s rich yet fragile ecosystems and local cultural immersion


The adventure of a lifetime across Ecuador’s unique ecosystems.


Trek in the Annapurna Range and explore Pokhara and Kathmandu on this unrivaled adventure


Service and exploration in the lush tropical paradise of Hawaii


A thorough exploration of Ghana. Safari, service, sights, food, and so much more awaits you!


High adventure and rewarding service on the pristine Osa Peninsula


An introductory experience in a beautiful Pacific beach community


Gap Year

Rustic Pathways is proud to be one of the foremost gap year providers in the student travel industry! Our adventure travel and community service gap semesters run in Southeast Asia, Latin America or the South Pacific.Choose between an immersive Spanish language experience in Costa Rica, Peru and the Dominican Republic to a semester exploring all of what Laos, Cambodia and Thailand have to offer or an ocean-focused trip through Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. 

Our Gap Year Semesters will take you off the beaten track. They’ll give you access to experiences you would never have travelling on your own. These programs are for the traveller who wants to be more than just a tourist.  Take the time between high school and university to explore the world and discover yourself along the way!

Who: Students age 18-22 from anywhere in the world. 

What: Semester-long programs packed full of adventure activities, cultural immersion experiences and opportunities to give back to the communities you visit!

When: September to December, or February to April. 

Explore Gap Year Programs

How It Works

Step 1: Pick Your Rustic Experience & Enrol

There are so many different ways to travel with us! Have a read through all the information above and/or visit the individual pages for Rustic Trips, and Gap Year. Once you’ve decided which of these travel options best suits you, explore the individual programs to find the perfect experience that’s available on dates that work for you. Once you’ve decided, click on the “Enrol Now” button and you’ll be walked through the simple enrolment process!

Step 2: Travel Preparation

This is the period between when you enrol and when you head off on your Rustic program. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this time isn’t important. This is when you lay the groundwork for an incredible travel experience! We’ll be with you through this time helping with everything from what to pack to sharing interesting and important information about your destination. Getting the correct visas and immunisations will be your responsibility. Our amazing Personal Travel Advisors will be available throughout this time to support you in any way they can!

Step 3: Travel On The Adventure Of A Lifetime!

Set off on your adventure knowing that you are in safe hands and we will have everything covered. From the time your plane lands at your destination, our incredible program leaders will make sure you have an unforgettable experience!

Step 4: Rustic Life – Post Travel Program

Rustic Life is our ongoing education program for the Rustic Pathways community in Australia. By travelling with us you are automatically part of this group of incredible change makers! Our vision for Rustic Life is to help students translate the impact of their student travel experiences into their everyday lives. We support them to continue to positively impact lives and communities around the world even after they have returned home!

Why You Should Travel

Travel changes everything. It’s a given that your travels will take you to new places, introduce you to people who live a life very different from your own and will give you unforgettable experiences. What’s hard to grasp until you experience it yourself is that these people, places and experiences will change you.

Students who travel on Rustic Pathways programs change in many ways. We measure the impact of our programs on our students through data collected before and immediately following their travels. From greater intercultural competence and self awareness to a sense of connection through shared humanity, students report that travel has a lasting impact. Travel will help you to be more open to new ideas and experiences and to be more independent. It will instill in you a desire to positively impact the world. It will make it possible for you to see situations from the perspectives of others, and gift you with a sense of wonderment at all the diversity and beauty this world holds. You can read more about how we evaluate student impact and our findings in our Annual Impact Report.

Travel is one of the most impactful steps you can take towards becoming the best version of you! You don’t have to take our word for it, you can hear it directly from some of our students in these blog posts: 

How A Rustic Pathways Program Helped A Student Overcome Her Anxiety

How A Gap Year Prepared This Student For More Than Just University

How Travel Changed Everything: An Email From A Rustic Alum

How One Student Used A Travel Experience To Write An Essay That Got Him Into College

7,295 Miles of Gratitude: A Reflection From A Rustic Alum

And here are some studies conducted by third parties that show the impacts of travel on students:

A comprehensive, 2-year study conducted by the Student Youth Travel Association found that student travel has a profoundly positive effect on students’ personal development, as well as on their education and career. 

Another study conducted by The Wagner Group that surveyed adults who reported having travelled on an education trip between ages 12-18 showed a significant increase in educational attainment and future success.

Student Testimonials

My experience on this trip was exciting, joyful, educational, fulfilling and inspiring all in one. From the onset, our small group clicked and that connection contributed to my enjoyment and the feeling of safety and comfort that endured for the length of the trip. We got to experience Cambodia through the lens of both a tourist and local; visiting sites such as the Killing Fields to contribute to our understanding of the country while also going off the beaten track to places such as Prek Toal. The Floating Village was my personal favourite, as we integrated ourselves into the quaint and simple lives of its citizens. Our service project, which involved the completion of a floating house was rewarding and inspired me to continue to seek out ways to provide service for others.

Quote by: - Female student, Pathfinders Cambodia Floating Village Service Expedition 2019

I will always remember how knowledgeable, insightful, and considerate the Rustic staff were and the amazing intimate and authentic experiences we had such as the Koli village, eating at peoples’ homes, and the scavenger hunt. This trip was exceptional, unforgettable, insightful, and rewarding.

Quote by: - Male student, Monash University Mumbai - Arts International Experience in India, 2019

Indescribable! Incredible! Once in a lifetime! We had the best Rustic leaders and the best group of students!

Quote by: - Female student, Hellyer College, Vietnam 2018

I’ll never forget feeling like the home stays in the highlands are actually our Fijian family and feeling so welcomed, loved and appreciated by everyone everywhere we went.  My experience was absolutely amazing and it is something that I will remember and hold onto for the rest of my life.

Quote by: - Female student, Fraser Coast Anglican College, Fiji 2019

The best week of my life. Words cannot do justice to this experience.

Quote by: - Female student, Pathfinders Fiji Highlands 2017

Truly unforgettable. I’m so glad I made myself go. It was definitely eye opening and I have a new appreciation for the life I have. I will never forget the bond we made with our leaders, friends and teachers as well as the connection to Fijian culture. The incredibly beautiful landscape is something I’m glad to have seen and helped protect. Overall the genuinely friendly, grateful and welcoming attitude I received is something I will keep close to me forever. I will definitely be recommending people to see the real side of Fiji…  it is something I am so grateful to be able to have experienced.

Quote by: - Female student, Domremy College, Fiji 2019

My experience on the trip has been a life changing one, that I could never forget. My overall perspective on life has changed and I feel like a new person. I am so thankful to be able to have gone on this trip.

Quote by: - Female student, Domremy College, Fiji 2017