Frequently Asked Questions

From parents

Who will greet my child at the airport?

Trip leaders will be at the airport before the first student arrives. For students not flying as unaccompanied minors, they should follow the signs to baggage claim. Trip leaders will be waiting right outside of security and wearing their brightly colored Bold Earth T-shirts. Students will have the trip leaders’ cell phone numbers before airport day in case of confusion.

For students traveling as unaccompanied minors, a trip leader will greet your student at the gate when he/she steps off the plane. Sometimes we may be a few minutes late due to several students’ flights arriving at the same time.

Once your child has collected all their luggage after meeting with one of our trip leaders, he or she will call home.

What certifications do the trip leaders have?

Our trip leaders are, at a minimum, certified as wilderness first responders and in CPR. All senior staff have additional lifeguarding certifications. All trip leaders, both new and returning, undergo a background check every year, and all must have clean driving records. Many trips will have returning Bold Earth leaders on them.

Can you accommodate students with food allergies?

We can accommodate vegetarians, students who are gluten-free, and most food allergies on a trip-by-trip basis. Please contact us if your child has dietary restrictions, food allergies, or has a vegan or kosher diet at (828) 435-3971.

Will I be able to contact my child during the trip?

We set aside time for students to call home about once a week throughout their trips and have a brief check-in with their parents. We will have a trip blog with photo and text updates so that you can follow along with your child’s trip. If an emergency arises at home, don’t worry—you’ll be able to contact our office staff on an emergency line 24/7 during the summer.

Does my child need a passport or visa?

A valid passport is required for all international trips; passports should be valid for six months after the end date of the trip. Visa requirements vary by country; Bold Earth will notify you if one is required for your child’s trip. Non-American citizens must check their country’s visa requirements when traveling internationally.

What is the boy/girl ratio?

We strive for a 50/50 ratio on all of our trips; however, that ratio may sometimes be closer to 60/40 in either direction.

From students

Is Bold Earth for me?

Bold Earth students are fun and enthusiastic, and they’re interested in trying new things and making great new friends. Whether you want to surf in Hawaii, learn Spanish in Costa Rica, or visit a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa, Bold Earth has the perfect summer adventure trip for you. Our small groups (10 to 13 students) ensures that our groups form close-knit communities. Since 1976, Bold Earth students have told us that the community they’ve formed is the highlight of their trip. Our goal is for you to go home at the end of your trip feeling like Bold Earth is the best decision you’ve ever made.

What if I don't know anyone else?

The overwhelming majority of new students come to Bold Earth not knowing anyone else—and we encourage that! You’ll begin to make friends immediately after landing at the airport. When it comes time to head back home after a few weeks, you’ll have made lifelong friendships with both your peers and trip leaders. Many of our students stay in touch long after their Bold Earth adventure ends.

What if I've never done anything like this before?

There is no experience necessary! It’s OK if you’ve never traveled internationally, rock climbed, performed community service, or backpacked. Our trip leaders and professional guides will teach you everything you need to know on your trip. We will also provide all the equipment needed for technical activities led by professional outfitters.

We do recommend that every student coming to Bold Earth be in good physical condition to get the most out of their trips.

Where do we sleep on the trip?

Every trip is a little different! Most of our trips have a mix of lodging, from bed and breakfasts to hostels to camping. On a few of our trips, you’ll camp in tents the whole time. We highly recommend reading through the trip you’re most interested in to find out where you’ll be staying.

What do I need to bring?

Every trip has a different and unique packing list, which you can find on that trip’s specific page. We reevaluate and update our packing lists year to year, so please follow our guidelines closely—if you go by the list, you’ll have everything you need and nothing more!

What if I've never flown by myself?

That’s OK! Many of our students have never flown by themselves, and we think of this as step one in gaining independence while at Bold Earth. We are there to help with the travel aspect of the Bold Earth experience every step of the way, from helping your parents book flights, to putting you in touch with other students from your area so that you can have travel buddies, to letting you know exactly where to meet us at the airport.

Will I get to bring my cell phone?

For the most part, you’ll be disconnected from your cell phone while at Bold Earth—and we promise that you won’t miss it! Our goal is for our students to create meaningful, face-to-face friendships with their peers and trip leaders without technology hindering the experience. You will be able to bring your cell phone for your flights to and from Bold Earth, and you’ll use it to call home a few times throughout the trip. We do highly encourage you to bring an old-fashioned, point-and-shoot camera or GoPro so that you can capture the memories of your adventure!