Frequently Asked Questions
Read on to peruse our FAQ. If you don’t see your question or want some additional information, please head over to our Contact Page to send us a message. We’ll be happy to help you.
If we just say we’re MUCH better, does that sound biased? 🙃
Kidding aside – there are many fantastic summer and gap year travel programs out there. Most have a specific niche, such as volunteering or language study. While you may find a little of this with us, our specialty would fall within adventure travel. Simply put, BACK&PACK programs are best suited for young adults looking for an adventurous, cross-cultural program with a healthy dose of outdoor-related activities.
Why adventure travel, you may ask? Because we believe adventure travel is one of the best pathways to personal growth and discovery. As adventure travelers ourselves, we find that we learn most when we get off the beaten path and push past our perceived limits. As such, we love one-of-a-kind adventure activities and frequently incorporate them into our itineraries. Examples include trekking the Laugavegur Trail in Iceland or diving deep into the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador – conquering these experiences isn’t easy, and that’s – in fact – the whole point!
In sum, if you’re looking for something ambitious, a personal accomplishment to be proud of, or something that’ll truly stretch you outside of your comfort zone, you’ve come to the right place with BACK&PACK.
BACK&PACK was founded in 2021. While the company is relatively new to the scenes, the people behind the company are not. BACK&PACK’s Founder and Director, Dan Meyer, has been directing international travel programs for over 15 years. He holds an M.S. in Experiential Education, along with an Executive M.B.A. Over the years and alongside a network of international colleagues, program partners, and guides, he’s overseen global programming that has collectively sent 2,200+ travelers to 10+ countries, contributed 195,000+ service hours to at-risk communities and causes around the world, and generated countless stories and memories.
4:1. We strongly believe that small groups are essential to a quality travel experience. As such, we limit each group to no more than 12 participants.
It’s important to note that BACK&PACK is not a luxury travel program. What unites us at BACK&PACK is a genuine desire for affordable, responsible, and authentic travel experiences. We love to step outside our comfort zones and the confines of the tourist bubble, which often means traveling more humbly and simply. You might be a good fit for our trips if you like staying in hostels where you can get to know other travelers vs. snobby five-star luxury hotels – and eating at local haunts instead of overpriced tourist restaurants.
We hand-select all accommodations based on value, comfort, quality, uniqueness, and safety. We also strive to support businesses that share our values in sustainability and responsible travel. Furthermore, we seek to foster genuine community, camaraderie, openness, and adventure at BACK&PACK. As such, we use a variety of shared accommodation arrangements on our trips, ranging from double and triple rooms with shared bathrooms to larger, coed hostel dormitories. We typically rotate roommates throughout the experience to ensure all travelers get to know one another.
With this in mind, we ask that all participants come prepared to live and travel with a community-first mindset. As the adage goes, “Think we, not me.” Yet we understand our style of travel might not work for all. If you have a question or concern about our accommodations or rooming policies, please feel free to contact our team.
Your trip will include all major meals, so please be sure to inform our team if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies. Generally speaking, we can accommodate most common dietary restrictions (e.g., dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, etc.). For severe food allergies (e.g. peanut, etc.), please contact us to discuss the risks and our limitations as a program.
Participants of the legal drinking age – defined by the local laws of your program country – may consume alcoholic beverages responsibly and in moderation (think: a glass of wine or beer with dinner, not partying in a club) but should never become intoxicated or conduct themselves inappropriately. Excessive drinking by any participant or any inappropriate behavior related to alcohol is not tolerated and may result in immediate dismissal from the program without refund. Our policy includes any scenario involving property destruction, physical altercations, unwanted sexual attention, contact or related boundary violations, spiking another person’s drink with any substance, missing parts of the program, and/or hospitalizations.
We have a zero-tolerance policy regarding the purchase, possession, and/or consumption of illegal substances. This includes illegal drugs and prescription medication not used as directed. Violations will result in immediate dismissal from the program without refund.
Yes, you can. However, in the interest of a healthy group dynamic – one free from “cliques” and other exclusionary behavior – we ask that all participants come with an open mind and an eager willingness to meet new people!
You are welcome to apply at any time. Just note that we accept enrollments on a first-come, first-serve basis.
BACK&PACK programs are open to young adults ages 18 to 24.
Absolutely! We are open to travelers from all backgrounds and nationalities.
Definitely! We deliberately schedule our trip dates so back-to-back programs are possible. We even offer discounts for multiple enrollments (10% off each trip). You might have a free day or two in between trips. Typically, participants stay in the same accommodations as their guides during this time. Please note that there are no planned activities (just time to relax and refresh), and participants are asked to reimburse any incurred housing/food costs.
Nope! But, if you desire, we’ll help you learn more of the local language, regardless of your current ability.
Our trip fees cover most major expenses while abroad, yet items considered personal expenses (such as airfare) are additional.
- Experienced and professional guides
- Shared accommodations in hotels/hostels, B&Bs, and camping (depending on the program)
- Ground transportation to/from group activities
- Group meals and drinking water
- Equipment and entrance fees for the adventure excursions
- All equipment and supplies needed for the volunteer projects
- Donations to our partner organizations
- Health/travel insurance (strongly recommended)
- Flight costs
- Airport/airline taxes, baggage fees, flight upgrades, meals, etc.
- Passport, visa, vaccinations, etc.
- Any costs incurred due to medical needs/emergencies/evacuations
- Personal spending money for shopping, snacks, etc.
- Cell phone and internet usage
- Laundry expenses
At the time of enrollment, we require a $500 USD deposit. This includes a non-refundable $200 USD application processing fee. Full payment is due 120 days before your start date or within 48 hours of enrollment if less than 120 days. Payments can be made via check, credit card, or bank transfer.
If you have to cancel: We’ll be sad to see you go! Yet you may request a partial refund under the following schedule. Note, regardless of the timing, all refunds deduct the non-refundable $200 USD application processing fee. There are no exceptions. We reserve the right to cancel delinquent or non-paying participants without notice or refund.
- 120+ days: 100% refund minus $200 application processing fee
- 91-120 days: 75% refund minus $200 application processing fee
- 61-90 days: 50% refund minus $200 application processing fee
- 31-60 days: 25% refund minus $200 application processing fee
- 0-30 days: 0% refund
If we have to cancel: Factors outside our control (global travel restrictions, low enrollment, etc.) may require us to temporarily suspend or cancel a trip. In the unlikely event that BACK&PACK cancels a trip, we can work with you to find alternate dates or destinations – or you can elect to receive a full refund of your deposit and program fees.
Yes. Under certain circumstances, we can work with you to set up a customized payment plan. Feel free to contact us to discuss your options.
We often do, yes. Check our homepage and program pages for any active promotions. We also recommend you sign up for our email list for limited-time offers.
At this point in time, as a non-academic program, we do not offer any scholarships or financial aid. We offer discounts and special promotions, however, so check our homepage and program pages for current ways to save.
Travel insurance is not required, yet we strongly recommend every participant purchase a comprehensive policy that covers unexpected medical and emergency evacuation expenses. Travel is anything but predictable, and you never know when that annoying “extra” insurance expense will pay itself back tenfold. If you need some help identifying a policy that is right for you and your budget, please contact us. We’ll be happy to steer you in the right direction.
BACK&PACK can not apply for passports or visas on your behalf, yet the information below should help guide you through the process. As always, contact us if you have questions or run into any issues.
Travelers with U.S. passports – For the most up-to-date information, please visit travel.state.gov and navigate to your destination’s page via the “Learn about your destination” search box. Most of our destinations do not require a visa, but please read through the requirements carefully. If you need to apply for or renew your passport, please submit your application as soon as possible.
Travelers with non-U.S. passports – Please verify passport and visa requirements for your nationality by contacting the local embassy or consulate for your program’s country. The websites embassypages.com and embassy-finder.com operate handy directories of embassies and consulates around the world. If you’re required to obtain a visa and need specific information for the application process, please let us know at email@example.com. We will be happy to assist you.
Keeping your documents safe – Please be aware that passports are quite valuable abroad. Guard your important documents as you do your credit/debit cards, and keep these items in concealed locations. Additionally, we suggest you make copies of your important documents (passport, visa, etc.) before travel. Having these copies is very useful in the event of loss or theft. You can make photocopies or scan documents into a secure yet accessible computer file (a password-protected file stored in the cloud, for example). If photocopying, we suggest you make two copies of your documents. Leave one copy at home with a close friend or family member. Keep hold of the other copy while abroad, separate from the original.
Yes! Head over to your program’s page and look for the packing list that’s available under the “Trip Details” section. Note that we update our packing lists in January/February for upcoming programs (same year). As such, we ask that you wait until March to go through the list.
Yes, but we strongly encourage you to take our program as an opportunity to disconnect, unplug, and live in the moment. The experience is best that way. Also note, BACK&PACK is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items. If you are concerned about losing/damaging an item, then it’s best to leave it at home.
We send detailed instructions on arrival procedures ~1 week before departure day. Typically, you’ll meet your staff outside customs and immigration in the passenger pickup area. They’ll either be holding a sign with your name on it and/or the BACK&PACK logo. As we accept arrivals throughout the day, you’ll meet the rest of your group members during orientation, where we have more time and space for proper introductions and icebreaker activities.
Of course! We promise we’re friendly. Feel free to contact us with any additional questions.