Rules & Guidelines

“I follow three rules: Do the right thing, do the best you can, & always show people you care.” — Lou Holtz

Sound Rules Are Essential to Safety & Security ...

RULES OF THE ROAD Academic has a uniform set of rules and guidelines that apply to all travelers on our journeys.

We have learned on our numerous student travel journeys that clear rules and guidelines are an integral part of the Academic Safety and Security Plan because a well-run trip ensures the safety and well-being everyone involved.

Before departure, all travelers will be asked to confirm that they understand these rules and guidelines and agree to adhere to them.

We anticipate no serious disciplinary issues our journeys, and always operate on a philosophy based on:

  • Patience
  • Understanding
  • Compassion
  • Empathy.

Our experience is that most situations are easily resolved with communication and, if necessary, a call home.

However, in the case of serious infractions — as noted in red below — that possibly threaten the safety, security, and well-being of any traveler, we do reserve the right to remove students from a journey.

In all cases, we take no actions that go beyond a simple conversation without a call home and the input and participation of parents or guardians.

If we’ve overlooked any rule or guideline that you think may affect your Academic journey, or if you have any questions or suggestions, just pop over to our contact page, let us know — and we’ll get answers to you pronto!

Dress Code Academic has a dress code on all journeys.

Our dress code is for the safety and security of all travelers and to ensure our respect for the culture visited.

We ask that all travelers observe the following dress code guidelines:

  • Keep attire neat at all times.
  • Avoid extremely short shorts.
  • No tank tops or halter tops. 
  • No flip-flops or sandals outside of the hotel.
  • Avoid T-shirts or other attire with words, images, or excessive branding.

Free Time Academic travelers are supervised at all times:

There is no unsupervised free time on our journeys. 

During less structured times, travelers will always be in small groups — with adult supervision — to allow free time to explore, shop, take photographs, or just sit and relax.

At meals, there will be ample free time to relax, post photos, socialize, and explore the surroundings.

In the hotel, downtime is certainly part of the experience, but Group Leaders and the Academic Intelligence Officer will remain vigilant of everyone’s safety, security, and well-being — including visiting and entering guest rooms, if necessary.

End of Day Academic Journeys wind down each evening by 12 midnight.

Our experience is that getting up early and enjoying a 12-14 hour day walking and touring leaves travelers ready to crash — often before midnight!

Here some additional guidelines:

  • No socializing in hotel rooms — except the travelers assigned to a room. 
  • Travelers are welcome to socialize quietly qnd respectfully in the public areas of the hotel.
  • No leaving guest rooms after day’s end — except in emergencies.
  • No leaving the hotel premises — unless with the group.
  • Journey Leaders may visit guest rooms at any time. 

Mobile Devices Academic requests that all travelers refrain from using mobile devices (texting, phone calls, and social media)  — except, of course, photography — per these guidelines:

  • At meals — especially lunches and dinners.
  • On transport — when being spoken to.
  • On tours, excursions, or other activities.
  • Any time when being given instructions or information.

Don’t worry — we like our phones and we like to text, chat, and post photos, so we’ll make sure that there is plenty of time to engage on our devices!

Consumption & Purchase of Alcohol Academic prohibits the consumption and purchase of alcoholic beverages for all travelersirrespective of age.

Serious Infraction

(The exception to this policy is the purchase of alcoholic beverages to take back to the United States by any traveler 21 years of age or older and only during specific times when such purchases are made during organized opportunities by the Academic Intelligence Officer. Just like on a cruise ship, all such purchases will be secured and delivered to you on the evening prior to your departure. We appreciate your respect for this rule.)

Visiting Friends or Family in Oaxaca Academic prioritizes safety and security in all aspects of our journeys.

If visiting with friends or family in Oaxaca, we request that travelers follow these guidelines:

  • Request, complete, and submit a Visitation Permission Form in advance of your departure date.  
  • The adult in Oaxaca who is referenced in the Visitation Permission Form must be 21 years of age or older and have a valid ID matching the details on the form.
  • Friends and family are welcome to join activities and meals with advance notice, and in some cases, an additional cost. 
  • No family or friends may spend the night in a traveler’s hotel room.
  • No traveler may spend the night away from the hotel with any family or friends.
  • All travelers must return to the hotel by no later than 12 midnight.
  • All journey rules and regulations remain in force during any visit, even if away from the group.

Attendance at All Meals & Activities Academic expects all travelers to be present at all meals — breakfasts, lunches, and dinners — and at all activities, tours, and excursions — unless special permission has been given in advance by journey personnel.

Weapons & Dangerous Items Academic prohibits the possession and purchase of weapons of any kind including, but not limited to, knives, firearms, or any other item we may deem as dangerous, including firecrackers.

Serious Infraction

Drug Possession & Use Academic prohibits — and strictly enforces a policy against — the possession or use of illegal substances. 

This regulation also prohibits the purchase of any medication in Mexico by any traveler that would require a prescription in the United States for purchase — even if purchased legally at a Mexican pharmacy, and even if you have a US prescription for the medication, unless with the express approval of the Academic Intelligence Officer.

This includes any substance or product, even if purchased legally that references, in name or ingredients any drug, legal or illegal. 

Serious Infraction

Illegal Activity & Compliance Academic expects all travelers to refrain from any illegal activity and to comply with all directions, rules, laws, and requests by journey leaders and other official personnel. 

Serious Infraction

We recommend that travelers always engage with courtesy and respect and remember that a language barrier can often lead to confusion and unease. 

When in doubt, we request that travelers immediately speak with a Group Leader or with the Academic Intelligence Officer


Sexual Activity Academic prohibits sexual activity, sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment on all journeys.

Only same-gender travelers are roomed together, and there is absolutely no visiting or socializing with other travelers in guest rooms — neither fellow journey-travelers, nor guests in the hotel, nor anyone from outside the hotel.

Serious Infraction

Please also see the Academic Non-Discrimination & Harassment Policy below for additional details.

In the Hotel Academic journeys include lodging at the Holiday Inn Express Centro Histórico.

  • Travelers are expected to be quiet, considerate, and respectful of others in the hotel at all times — including music, talking, walking the hallways, and closing room doors quietly.
  • Travelers are not permitted to socialize in guest rooms with anyone other than the travelers assigned to their rooms. (Serious Infraction)
  • Travelers should also keep guest rooms tidy at all times.
  • Use of the pool is prohibited without the permission of the Academic Intelligence Officer and always with adult supervision.

Behavior on Tours & Transport Academic expects travelers to be respectful and attentive on all tours, excursions, during all activities, at all meals, and on transportation. 

This expectation includes:

  • Following all instructions and requests of everyone involved with the journey.
  • Refraining from talking and the use of electronic devices when spoken by any journey-personnel.
  • Refraining eating and drinking on any transport without permission.
  • Remaining seated at all times on transport.

Cultural Respect Academic expects all travelers to conduct themselves with the highest level of cultural respect.

Oaxaca is a vibrant indigenous culture in a country with a deep and important history, and we ask that everyone follow these guidelines:

  • The local people you meet are real people and they and their homes, villages, businesses, or other venues are not tourist attractions. 
  • Monuments, museums, and other sites are for admiring and appreciating — never climb, touch, or explore without permission.
  • Be mindful of tossing gum, wrappers, bottles, and other trash in public wastebaskets or hold them in your pocket.
  • Behave quietly and respectfully in churches, museums, cathedrals, and all other places.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Ask permission before taking direct photographs of people.
  • Do not touch food in markets.
  • Show respect to everyone. Be particularly respectful to older people.
  • Always follow the rules and protocols for photography as explained by all journey-personnel.

Non-Discrimination Academic believes that everyone deserves a safe and respectful opportunity to discover and explore the world with the knowledge and belief that their dignity and emotional and physical safety will be protected. 

Everyone participating in or connected with an Academic journey is expected to commit to and maintain an environment free of bigotry, bias, intolerance, and discrimination — in words and action — on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, perceived gender identity or sexual orientation, pregnancy, or pregnancy-related condition. 

In addition, any form of intimidation, threats, bias, prejudice, coercion and/or harassment that insults the dignity of others and interferes with their sense of safety and security, and freedom to enjoy the journey, activities, and events or other any engagement with anyone leading, representing, or participating in an Academic journey is unacceptable.

Serious Infraction

For more details please see:

Non-Discrimination & Sexual Harassment Policy