Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T. Tours) vs Discover Corps - Tour Companies Compared
Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.
Overall — 5
Value — 4.7
Guide — 4.9
Activities — 4.7
Lodging — 4.4
Transportation — 4.6
Meals — 4.4
Overall — 4.5
Value — 4.5
Guide — 4.5
Activities — 4.5
Lodging — 4.5
Transportation — 4.5
Meals — 4.5
4.0 April 2018
Our guide and group were wonderful. Most of the sites visited fascinating and worth it. I especially loved the visit with the monk and the Hakone Outdoor Art Museum.Read more
It broke my heart that the one day in Tokyo was such a waste of time. Please, taking us to a mediocre mall and a car exhibit, what were you thinking? There should of been two days allotted to that fabulous city to see the real sites. Also, I am an adult and making sushi for four year old was a huge insult and should be skipped at all costs. Also I believe that the trip to Nari should be included as part of the trip and not an optional tour.
Except for breakfasts, the food was cafeteria grade at best and repetitive. You could do better. The best food was that which we picked ourselves.
I would never recommend going in cherry blossom time. There were 80 buses lined up to get into the outdoor sites. Buy a postcard and put it on your wall, or better yet, visit Washington DC. I would recommend this trip if modifications were made.
5.0 February 2015
As a travel photographer and organizer of a number of photography tour groups over the years, I have a good sense of what discerning travelers demand of tour companies. And there aren’t many travelers more demanding than photographers in my experience.Read more
I had heard many good things about Overseas Adventure Travel on several occasions from some very well traveled members of my groups who encouraged me to give one a try. While OAT tours are not tailored specifically for photographers or any other particular interest group, they do offer “flexibility with structure” as one couple from Louisville that has traveled with them on Patagonia and Japan tours put it. They felt this is due to OAT employing “superior guides” who are “especially enthusiastic, knew the areas very well and made every effort to engage all participants depending on their needs and desires.”
When my wife and I went on OAT’s Route of the Maya tour not long ago, we felt that our high expectations were met and frequently exceeded, especially in the way the guide made efforts to engage our group with the local people in a way that immersed us personally in the culture. This included visiting homes, farms, and as a special treat, a couple of schools where the group was able to contribute some school supplies at OAT’s suggestion.
OAT groups are kept small -- maximum size is 16 – which makes it possible to explore local transportation options, such as a Buenos Aires wooden subway and Japanese bullet trains for the Louisville couple and horseback and a “chicken bus” for our Maya tour. It also permits independent exploring, such as the full day my wife and I spent in Antigua, Guatemala, during the Easter Holy Week, Semana Santa, which was certainly a highlight for this photographer.
I believe the best testimonial for OAT comes from another of my photo tour friends, a couple from Denver. Veterans of 75 international journeys to all continents, this couple has experience with several small group travel specialists. But OAT has become their preferred tour operator with 14 OAT tours to multiple destinations on four continents to their credit.
In addition to praising the guides, they cited the pricing and excellence of the inclusive itineraries and felt that OAT provides “personal care, attention, and safety.”
“In our experiences, OAT leads all companies… We think they are a winning combination and our loyalty to them will continue.”
Tour Overseas Adventure Travel Company Reviews
5.0 January 2015
As a travel writer, I have traveled with a fair multitude of tour companies and for the tour experience as well as for value, OAT wins every time. Not only are the itineraries exciting and well thought out with just the right amount of free time provided, but what really sets OAT apart is their philosophy of Learning and Discovery, which they take very seriously. Which means there are a number of surprises and unexpected stops not mentioned in the itinerary that add a whole new dimension to the trips. Ironically, in the post-trip evaluation form from other tour companies, I often make suggestions of things I've experienced on OAT trips.Read more
Tour Overseas Adventure Travel Company Reviews
5.0 November 2018
Japan Cultural Odyssey
We really enjoyed our Discover Corps tour and can't wait to return to Japan. My wife and I took the Discover Corps cultural trip to Japan (Started in Tokyo-then a bullet train to Kyoto & more local trains to Osaka). The transportation system works well and no cars were ever needed. We were completely taken care of from booking and then thru the process. Adrienne did a great job of informing us of all the details-no planning required. Our guides in Japan, Aki and Miwa, were very knowledgeable local people & made sure we were having a unforgettable time! The cultural experience in Japan was terrific. Great mix of excitement; watching Sumo and participating in Kendo. The food was wonderful plus we were able to participate in sushi making!Read more
Tour Discover Corps Company Reviews
5.0 July 2018
We lived in the African bush for 10 days. Accommodations were wonderful - tents with nice furniture and attached bathrooms. Plenty of hot water! Food was delicious and quite sophisticated. But the best were the wildlife experiences led by an extremely knowledgeable and personable guide. All the staff were kind and professional.Read more
5.0 July 2017
This trip was really superb, starting with the folks like Alex in the San Diego office to our tour guide in Havana, Orelvis (a perfect gentleman if there ever was one--and he seemed to know absolutely EVERYTHING about Havana), and our driver, Boris (who was an extremely safe driver, and the SUV that was our transportation was a practically new Honda), and our friendly hostess at the casa particular (B&B).Read more
But at breakfast at the casa particular, keep in mind the CDC guidelines for healthy travel: cook it, boil it, peel it (yourself) or FORGET IT. So the bowl of fruit and the fruit juices? Pass them up in favor of coffee and toast. I know that sounds boring, but after I got home, I ended up in the hospital emergency room for dehydration due to e-coli--my fault for not following the CDC guidelines.
Also, to get up to my room at the casa particular, I had to climb a narrow, curved marble staircase--I took extra care not to fall either on the way up or on the way down.
The activities and attractions were first rate (but you must keep in mind that you're on "Cuban time," and not everything runs like a Swiss train). From the Hemingway house to the canon ceremony (which I loved even though it was a substitution for another event that was unexpectedly closed) to the jazz club (again, we went to one jazz club that for some reason didn't work out, but no problem--Orelvis took us to another jazz club recommended by his supervisor in Havana) to the art museum to the Malecon to the outdoor terrace at the Hotel Nacional and more, it was amazing how much we saw of Havana in about 72 hours.
There were only four people on the trip, and that was both a good thing and a bad thing--good because each of us received a great deal of attention from Orelvis and bad because two of the four didn't want to follow the itinerary and often went off on their own and then kept the rest of us waiting for them to return (highly frustrating--finally Boris said, "the schedule is the schedule," and we stopped catering to them). One of them spoke fluent Spanish--good for her--but I did wish that Orelvis had curtailed the lengthy conversations that she initiated with him, which the rest of us could not understand.
Two of my favorite activities were ones that I arranged myself: attending the world-class ballet at the gorgeously restored el Gran Teatro and then taking a yellow 1950 Chevrolet convertible with an Italian driver, who was an absolute hoot, back to the casa particular.
And the food at the private restaurants known as paladars was first rate. We even had lunch at one that Anthony Bourdain recently featured on his CNN travel show "Parts Unknown."
Just a small word of caution: sometimes there wasn't enough bottled water in the SUV in which we were riding, especially when we were dropped off at the casa particular at night. Make sure that you have plenty of bottled water with you at all times. (The CDC even recommends that you brush your teeth with bottled water.)
I also wish I had brought another pair of shoes with me because with all of the walking in the heat of the Cuban sun, my feet swelled. Fortunately, I had brought some Band-Aids with me, which helped cushion the sore spots.
I highly recommend this trip--to my way of thinking, it's much better than taking a cruise ship that only docks in Havana for one or two nights--and the "Havana Weekend Getaway" is the most popular trip to Cuba that is offered by Discover Corps, as I learned from Orelvis.
|Tours||23 Trips||28 Trips|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 290||$ 399|
|Operator Type||Mixed Land & Cruise||Group Tour Operator|
|Size||Global Operator||Global Operator|
|Headquarters||Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States||San Diego, California|
|Solo Friendly||No single supplement||No single supplement|
First established in 1978, Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) is now part of the Boston-based Grand Circle Corporation, which also includes Grand Circle Travel and Grand Circle Cruise Line. Generally speaking, OAT serves the more adventurous travelers in the Grand Circle realm.
Founded in 1978
Very welcome to solo travelers - Free or low single supplement
Average Tour Price - $4,538
Average Tour Duration - 15 Days
Small Groups - between 10 and 16 travelers, max of 24 on small ship cruises
Travel Style - Culturally immersive and local experiences. Walking between 3-6 miles a day
Age Range - Primarily 50+
What Makes Overseas Adventure Travel Stand Out?
Cultural immersion is a big selling point at OAT: visits to local schools, churches, and homes (where you might be treated to a home-cooked meal) are central to their philosophy. Experienced guides -- all fluent in English -- lead groups off the beaten path when possible. Accommodations are comfortable, not deluxe. And a portion of all proceeds goes to the Grand Circle Foundation, which supports cultural and educational programs in the countries visited.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Overseas Adventure Travel?
OAT specializes in small group tours around the world serving Americans aged 50 and older. They appeal to the old fashioned - the fact that they still offer a physical catalogue is testament - and their travel style reflects an appreciation of the classics coupled with an adventurous spirit to explore each destination deeper and from a local perspective.
Overall, prices fall into the moderate range, and are especially a bargain for solo travelers, who can save substantially by not having to pay for single supplements. Accommodations are designed to be both comfortable as well as unique and in keeping with the local spirit of the destination. If your hostelling days are over but you feel too adventurous for a standard hotel, OAT will be a great company to travel with.
Overseas Adventure Travel might be a good fit with experienced travelers who maybe are trying out guided tours for the first time. Because their focus is very much on highlighting the benefits of what small group, pre-planned travel can provide, both in convenience and in the immersive local and cultural discoveries that become available.
If you’re feeling like your time for experiential adventurous travel is up because you’re getting older, look no further than OAT. And for those for whom a long, stimulating hike is attractive, this is a common activity on their tours.
OAT operates tours all over the world, specializing in remote, off the beaten track areas. African safaris are an especially popular offering, though you can also travel to Japan, India, Peru, Iceland, Vietnam, Albania, or Morocco, to name just a few of its far-flung destinations. OAT also runs small-ship cruises through the Galapagos, on the Amazon, and along the Turkish coast.
OAT Travel Style
With Overseas Adventure Travel you’ll find a combination of transportation and accommodation styles, but all with an element of comfort. Groups are small, with a max of 16 (24 on small ship cruises).
Accommodations vary, but generally favor being local and non-traditional over a basic centrally located hotel. Their exact words are “emphasis on authenticity, rather than amenities”.
Their style is all about unique and meaningful cultural interaction. While you’ll learn the history and see the famous sights, their true focus is about people and connections. This means you’ll enjoy meals with local families, like you’re just a friend over for dinner; visit schools and see the amazing work being done in small communities.
The visceral understanding and perspective that comes from learning to cook traditional meals and make traditional crafts is what you’ll find on an OAT tour.
Why Choose a Tour with OAT?
OAT offers a unique up close and personal experience, guaranteeing that its groups will never exceed more than 10-16 travelers. A spirit of spontaneity is part of what makes traveling with OAT special, as they strive to take advantage of every interesting opportunity during a trip.
Small ship cruises and land tours are available, and they are very friendly to solo travelers.
Traveling with Overseas Adventure Travel allows for an in depth cultural travel experience in comfort. Many opportunities exist for travelers to find deals, and it’s a great way to meet new friends in a similar age range.
If you traveled extensively in your youth and are not ready to slow down, but perhaps are looking for a few more logistical ducks to be taken care of for you, OAT could be the perfect fit. They offer a variety of options for more independent minded travelers, as well as ample free time to explore and plan your own adventure during cruise port stops and on their group tours.
Alternatively, if this is your first travel experience, OAT will be a great starting point. You’ll gain cultural insights, meet locals, as well as hit on all the best tourist sites that provide cultural and historical context to your destination.
San Diego based tour company Discover Corps is a leader in the rapidly growing field of volunteer vacations. Operating since 2004, Discovery Corps trips average one to two weeks and focus on volunteering either with children and schools or with animals and wildlife conservation.
What Makes Discover Corps Stand Out?
They are focused on providing travel experiences with a wider humanitarian purpose - and help you put your tourism dollars to good use on the ground. The world of “voluntourism” is a sticky area, and has been met with some criticism over the years, so traveling with a reputable and transparent company has become super important.
With Discover Corps, volunteering, responsible tourism, and giving back to local communities is their entire brand - not just a buzzword on the “about us” page. So for those travelers who truly want to make their vacation about volunteering first and tourism second, Discover Corps is a great choice.
Discover Corps trips are all inclusive, and while volunteering is the primary focus, sightseeing and cultural activities are also included. Their trips are very popular among families, friend groups, and solo travelers.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Discover Corps?
These tours are best suited to travelers who want to have a humanitarian focus on their next trip. And if this idea is new to you, but you are interested in getting involved, Discover Corp is a great way to start.
The average age on a Discover Corps trip is 45-65 except in summer, when families with children as young as 10 are welcome on “family friendly” trips.
Wildlife lovers as well will love the opportunities available on Discover Corps Nature & Wildlife conservation tours. You’ll have a chance to get up close to some amazing species, learn about their habitats, and get to participate in various initiatives designed to protect these habitats.
Discover Corp travels around the world, in rural villages, beach locations, and rainforests. Popular destinations are primarily in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Discover Corps Travel Style
Their all-inclusive trips combine light volunteer projects with sightseeing and cultural immersion. They also offer support while you’re on site – from building classrooms to improving water systems to creating eco-friendly homes. The ideas come from the local communities themselves, and local staff plan everything in advance.
Why Choose a Tour With Discover Corps?
If you’re the kind of person who likes being actionable and getting involved with protecting threatened cultures, wildlife, and contributing to growing communities in need of schools and homes, then Discover Corps would be a great choice.
Volunteer vacations are one of the best ways to get to know the local people on a different level than many tour companies provide. Rather than simply enjoying a meal at a local restaurant, you’re out in the neighborhoods meeting everyday people.
“Traveling with a purpose” might seem like a thrown around phrase these days, but it is the entire philosophy around every Discovery Corps trips. So when you join one of their tours, you’ll be surrounded by guides and other travelers for whom this isn’t a buzzword - it’s an important and meaningful mission.