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Overall — 5
Value — 4.7
Guide — 4.9
Activities — 4.7
Lodging — 4.4
Transportation — 4.6
Meals — 4.4
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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
|Tours||23 Trips||418 Trips|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 305||$ 193|
|Operator Type||Mixed Land & Cruise||Mixed Land & Cruise|
|Size||Global Operator||Global Operator|
|Headquarters||Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States||Salfords|
|Solo Friendly||No single supplement||N/A|
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
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+
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.
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.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can my grandchildren join me on the tour?
Yes! However OAT cautions that transfers are frequently long and young travelers may not enjoy this. Additionally there may not be other children on the tour, as the primary age group is 50+. The minimum age requirement is 13.
2. Are the tours handicap accessible?
Most Overseas Adventure tours are not wheelchair friendly, because accessibility in each destination cannot be guaranteed. On those tours where this is not the case, you must provide your own portable and collapsible wheelchair.
OAT advises that travelers should be relatively physically fit, and able to walk between 3-6 miles a day. Days are usually filled with activities and sightseeing, and you’ll be moving and active for 6-8 hours.
3. How much luggage should I bring?
This will vary trip by trip, but in general the appropriate amount is 1 larger suitcase and a smaller bag or backpack.
4. What about travel insurance?
There are many options for travel insurance, and most tour companies require that you have it prior to traveling. OAT offers their own protection plan, which you can purchase conveniently through them, and covers cancellation. Even if you choose to purchase your airfare separately and not through OAT, you can still purchase their protection plan.