Overseas Adventure Travel

Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) offers tours to places like Morocco, New Zealand, Japan, Java, Bali, and even Antarctica. A tour like this may be just what you need.

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7.4
Grand Score
8
User Score
7.4
Grand Score
8
User Score
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As you look forward to retirement and the years that precede it, you may have a desire to do some traveling abroad. There are lots of tour companies out there to choose from. Depending on what you are looking for, you may want to check out the great options offered by Overseas Adventure Travel, or OAT. This company has been around for a while, and is part of the Grand Circle Family of travel companies. Tours are limited in size and are ranked from Easy to Strenuous (with three levels in between), so you have a variety of options depending on the type of tour you are interested in. 

Grandfolk Scoring
Food 7/10
Ease 10/10
Getting there 10/10
Accommodations 10/10
Cost 7/10
Trip length 8/10
Warranty 5/10
Cancellation 5/10
Customer support 10/10
Medical insurance 10/10
Travel locations 10/10
Activity level 10/10
Food
Can you accommodate special diets?
OAT can usually accommodate special dietary requirements (vegetarian, salt-free, low-calorie, kosher, etc.), but it is not guaranteed. You should notify your Adventure Specialist of your requirements when booking your trip.
Ease
How easy is it to sign up?
You can call the number on the website or sign up online.
Getting there
Are international travel and ground transportation included?
Some trips include international travel. If it is included, it will be noted on the specific tour page.
Accommodations
What kinds of accommodations are provided?
OAT chooses smaller lodgings when possible, with an emphasis on authenticity rather than amenities (though it is typical for travelers to have a private bath or shower). On sea tours, it uses privately owned ships, private charters and small ocean ships. The accommodations are listed in the itinerary for each trip.
Cost
How much do the trips cost and what is included?
Trip prices start at $2,000 and go up to about $10,000. Costs will also vary depending on the season of travel. Most land tours include accommodations, meals, local tours, trip leaders, gratuities, all port charts and baggage handling of one bag per person. Some tours include international travel.
Trip length
How long are the trips you offer?
OAT trips are usually at least 9 days in length and may last up to 30 days.
Warranty
What if I am unhappy with my experience?
You can cancel before you leave (see cancellation policies). Other than that, you can complain to the company.
Cancellation
Cost and difficulty to cancel?
Depending on when you cancel, the cost can be significant. There is a processing fee of $300 for cancellations made 90 days or more before departure. For more information, see cancellation policies under Terms & Conditions.
Customer support
Ease of access to customer service
You can call OAT 9 AM-9 PM EST Mon-Fri and 9 AM-7 PM Sat-Sun.
Medical insurance
What if I have a medical emergency while I’m on the trip?
OAT strongly recommends that you purchase travel protection that includes medical expense reimbursement and emergency evacuation.
Travel locations
Where can I go on these trips?
Tour destinations include North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the South Pacific and Antarctica.
Activity level
What is the activity level on the trips?
Tours are ranked from 1 to 5 (Easy, Moderately Easy, Moderate, Moderately Strenuous and Strenuous).
Age Score:
10
50-64 Years
10
65-74 Years
2
75-84 Years
2
85-Older

Overseas Adventure Travel markets tours to ‘mature travelers.’ The company recommends that those who participate ‘enjoy good health and mobility.’ There is no age limit, but as we age, our mobility decreases. Younger seniors who are in good health will likely enjoy a tour with OAT. Older seniors who have trouble walking on uneven surfaces may not be able to participate in all parts of the trip and may have trouble keeping up with the group. Furthermore, if you must use a walker or wheelchair, you will be seriously restricted in your tour participation. Individuals with disabilities should travel with a caregiver who can support them if needed.

Health Score:
10
Poor Health
10
Fair Health
2
Good Health
0
Great Health

OAT’s website states: “If you are considering an OAT adventure, you should live an active lifestyle, and enjoy good health and mobility.” Travelers should be comfortable participating in six to eight hours of daily physical activity including sightseeing, and be able to walk three to six miles unassisted over the course of a day. These requirements will automatically exclude those in fair and poor health. The tours are designed for seniors in very good health.

The company’s terms and conditions clearly state that you as a participant are totally responsible for your health and safety during a tour. The company will not be held liable for any claims for loss, injury, or death due to the negligence of a third party, meaning the tour operator. Therefore, it would be wise to think carefully about whether you are up to the challenge of a tour with Overseas Adventure Travel before making a reservation.

Pros:

  • Land Tour groups are limited to 10-16 participants. Small Ship Adventures can range from 10-24 travelers.
  • OAT offers free single supplements and solo space on all departures.
  • The company has a Best Price Guarantee. If you can find a trip that compares with an OAT tour for less, it will match it. OAT guarantees that you will always receive the best combination of value and experience at the best price.
  • The website has a section listing many ways to save on tours with OAT. From last minute deals to a Good Buy Plan and Frequent Traveler Credits, there are many ways to save money.
  • You can access your account (balance due, etc.) and make payments on the website. 

Cons:

  • There are many online reports of poor customer service from the main office.
  • Local tour guides can make for inconsistent experiences.
  • Accommodations are assigned based on the number of previous OAT trips taken, which can create unfair rooming situations.
  • Due to the complexity of trip options, it is possible for travelers to get confused when choosing a trip.
  • OAT is owned by Grand Circle Travel, which does not follow the same size limits for tours. Many of the tours sold by OAT are operated by Grand Circle. The promise of small tour groups does not apply to Grand Circle trips, so be sure to read the fine print.

Bottom Line:

Overseas Adventure Travel is among the largest and best-known travel companies that develop tours specifically for seniors. The company is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau and has received awards for being the best company for solo travelers. People who are happy with their experience return again and again. Positive reviews from these travelers abound.
 
OAT is owned by Grand Circle Travel. Many of the tours offered by OAT carry the Grand Circle trademark. As you check out tours on the OAT website, you will find yourself on the Grand Circle website more often than you might expect. Since each company has different guidelines for trip size, there can be misunderstandings about tour specifications and conditions. It would be wise to specifically ask about this when you are making your reservation. 

In addition, the OAT Terms and Conditions are important. Before you call to make a reservation, you should read the document carefully. Overall, the company has millions of visitors who are very happy. Travelers regularly provide photos and videos that are used on the website. There may be a small percentage of the thousands who travel who have a lousy experience, but they are quite vocal. In the end, be sure you know what you are getting. Read the website carefully and ask specific questions. The complexity of the tour options can be confusing, so make sure that you understand them clearly before you travel.
 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I add extra days before or after my trip? Pre- and post-trip extensions are limited to select tours, so that the company can ensure that it has enough participants to run each extension.

What happens if world events might impact a trip? If certain world events occur, OAT will make a judgment about whether a tour is safe. If necessary, the tour will be canceled.

Do you make provisions for disabilities? Because ADA laws do not apply overseas, the company is not legally required to make accommodations. Most OAT trips are not wheelchair or motorized scooter accessible. Check with the Adventure Specialist when you call. If a trip is wheelchair accessible, you must provide your own collapsible wheelchair. Travelers who need to use walkers or crutches may have difficulty on some trips due to uneven surfaces.

More Information:

Product Details

 

 

Overview:  Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) offers over 200 vacation tours to various locations including Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Central America, Cuba, Europe, the Middle East, North America (Canada and Mexico) and South America. It specializes in off-the-beaten-path travel. Tours are organized into small groups to enhance the experience.


Package Details: All adventures include accommodations, most meals, guided tours, local trip leaders, gratuities, all port charges and baggage handling (one bag per person). Some trips include international travel. The webpage for each trip has extensive information about the tour including the itinerary, local weather conditions, facts about the area, and even recommended reading for more about the location. Each trip's webpage has a video and film gallery provided by past travelers. This is an excellent way to see what you can expect on a tour you might be considering. 

On OAT’s website, you will also find dates and prices. Prices vary depending on the season of travel. Each webpage will give an activity level and physical requirements for the tour. Finally, you can personalize your tour by choosing your full route from home and back again. You can also add ‘break away’ options to enhance your tour, as well as extensions at the start or end of most tours.

Overseas Adventure Travel will book travel for each traveler upon request. It offers four choices of air travel arrangements: Land Only, Standard Air, Contract Air and Published Air. If you purchase a Land Only package, you are responsible for making all domestic and international air travel arrangements. For Standard Air, the company will make reservations for the U.S. domestic and/or international air arrangements included in your trip. Contract Air allows you to choose your air carrier and routing from a pre-determined list of flights. Published Air gives the most flexibility in selecting your travel.


Other Services: OAT offers optional travel insurance.

 

Additional Company Details


Contract Details: Land Tours require a $350 deposit/person at the time of reservation. River Cruises and Small Ship tours require a $500 deposit/person. Final payment for all tours is due at least 90 days prior to departure. Cancellation charges depend on when the cancellation is made. The closer to departure, the higher the cost. You cannot make any changes to your reservation within 45 days of departure. Any changes made are treated as a cancellation and relevant charges will apply. Traveler substitutions are considered cancellations. The terms and conditions of travelling with OAT must be accepted within 21 days after booking or your reservation will be canceled. You will be charged $300/person for the cancellation.


Warranty: OAT guarantees the best value for your tour. However, if you are not happy with the service you receive, there is very little you can do. Any action brought against the company must be made within one year of travel. Further, any actions will be handled by an arbiter. 

Accreditations:  Independent surveys from Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler have given OAT high marks for its adventures. The company has been called a leader in small group adventure travel and a leader in solo friendly travel. It is highly rated on most comparison sites. OAT is not an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau, but has received an A+ rating. It was named to the Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Best List in 2016.


Company Details: Overseas Adventure Travel was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts by a young high school teacher. She became inspired after a trip to Africa, where she realized there was a need for more authentic, adventurous, and affordable safari experiences. The first tour she arranged was in Tanzania, where the company offered tented safaris. Since then, OAT has continued to offer custom small group tours to exotic destinations. 

In 1993, OAT was purchased by Grand Circle Travel, a leader in the travel industry. Grand Circle was formed in 1958 by a retired school teacher to exclusively serve members of the AARP. Once OAT became a member of the Grand Circle family, it became the first U.S. travel company to create, operate and sell adventure trips to Americans ages 50 and over. It is known as the best company for solo travelers. OAT recently won the 2017 Solo Award for Best Tour, thanks to its free single supplements and other 'solo-friendly' policies.

Contact:

Overseas Adventure Travel
347 Congress St.
Boston, MA 02210
Tel: 800-221-2610
Email: support@oattravel.com 
 

Donna McDurfee - Senior Advisor

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