Safety and Risk Management

Active Safety Alerts

Rustic Pathways continually monitors a number of trusted international and local safety resources to stay informed of what is happening in the areas we operate. Should we have any alerts, safety concerns, or travel advisories specific for our travelers, we will post them here.

Philosophy of Risk

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, and 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.

Risk management is a process that involves an ongoing commitment to identifying and assessing risks, developing actions to reduce their occurrence or severity, and implementing adjustments as situations change. Rustic Pathways adheres to this lifecycle throughout all aspects of our business and formulates management plans to mitigate risk through prevention and to guide our critical response team when needed. Our operational risk management commitment occurs at four distinctive levels: company-wide, country management, program operations, and medical screening.

Four Levels of Risk Management

1) Company-Wide

At the company-wide level, Rustic Pathways employs a Safety and Risk Management Director to oversee the development and implementation of the Company Risk Management Plan and the Critical Incident Protocols. This director is also charged with reviewing all Country Risk Management Plans (CRMP’s), Program Risk Management Plans (PRMP’s), and Natural Disaster Plans. Moreover, the Safety and Risk Management Director is responsible for coordinating and conducting activity and accommodation safety audits, reviewing incident reports, ensuring medical and mental health screening meets or exceeds industry standards, and providing Country Directors with the support needed to manage local risk and safety initiatives. This director remains active in the risk management profession to ensure Rustic Pathways maintains its leading role in industry safety and best practices.

2) Country Management

The next layer of risk management occurs at the individual country level and is overseen by each of our full-time Country Directors. Our Country Directors, in conjunction with our country management teams, develop Country Risk Management Plans, Program Risk Management Plans, and Natural Disaster Plans. These plans evaluate potential risks, identify precautionary measures, detail management procedures, and provide contingency or evacuation strategies for each region and program offered. Country Directors are also charged with developing an intelligence network to monitor on-the-ground conditions by utilizing local staff knowledge, international reporting agencies, and the U.S. State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC). Country Directors also oversee the hiring and training of local staff based on company-wide requirements for quality and professionalism. These include, but are not limited to, background checks, age requirements, medical certifications, and in-country training workshops specific to risk management and safety. Our Country Directors and Human Resources Department also employ our flight leaders who staff our international group flights originating from the United States to our destination countries.

3) Program Operations

On a third and critical level, risk management occurs on each of our programs through the leadership and professionalism of our program leaders. During training, our program leaders gain a thorough understanding of the Program Risk Management Plans for the trips they will be leading including specific Critical Incident Protocols to guide their actions if an incident was to occur. Staff members are trained to ensure students remain compliant with the Rustic Pathways Student Pledge, which outlines the rules governing student behavior on programs. Staff also conducts in-person medical screenings with all students at the beginning of their program to understand individual needs. If an illness or incident occurs, program leaders submit documented reports, which are reviewed by their Country Director and the Safety and Risk Management Director. In doing so, Rustic Pathways maintains a three-tiered approach allowing effective communication sharing from bottom to top of the organizational chart.

4) Medical Screening

Each participant completes our Medical and Emergency Information enrollment form. The information in each form is reviewed by our Medical Screening Manager well before the trip begins to ensure participation is safe and appropriate for each student.

International SOS Travel Assistance Program

As a leader in our industry, Rustic Pathways takes the health and wellbeing of our students extremely seriously. It is for this reason that we have partnered with International SOS, one of the world’s leading providers of medical and travel services. All participants traveling with Rustic Pathways will have access to International SOS benefits through Rustic Pathways’ membership. To help cover the cost of having this important resource, every participant traveling outside their country of residence will be assessed a $69 fee for insured medical evacuation and security services during the duration of his or her program. While we realize this is additional cost, we are confident you will appreciate the services and protection this provides.

More Information on International SOS