The Scoop: What to Know About Overseas Adventure Tours (OAT)

This small-group specialist runs tours to all continents.
tour guests gathered on a sand dune on an Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.) tour
Overseas Adventure Travel Tour Group (Photo: O.A.T.)

Overseas Adventure Travel—more commonly referred to as OAT (saying the letters as opposed to naming the grain)—is a small-group tour specialist with departures on all continents. As its name suggests, tours with Overseas Adventure Travel tend to be fairly active, and guests should be comfortable with six to eight hours of being out and about each day, with walking distances ranging from three to six miles daily.

OAT has a great reputation for its solo guest focus, and offers many no-additional-cost single spots on its tours. It also has women-exclusive departures on many itineraries. Accommodations tend to be less about amenities and more about authenticity, and airfare is often bundled into the up-front price of the tour (unless you specify that you want to book your own travel). OAT is one of the family of Grand Circle Corp. companies, also including Grand Circle Travel and Grand Circle Cruise Line.

TourScoop Takeaways

  • Countries: OAT has tours on every continent 
  • Tour Size Average: OAT specializes in small-group trips that range from 8-16 people, with an average of 13 guests on a tour. Small-ship tours are aboard 50- to 98-passenger ships and range from 10-24 travelers on each small-ship adventure. 
  • Tour Type: Coach, van, small ship, rail, and air

Credibility Check

Overseas Adventure Travel is BBB accredited with a rating of A+. It’s an active member of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA). The OAT website posts verified guest reviews on each tour page (sometimes with hundreds of reviews) so it’s easy to see what past travelers think of each trip. 

Tour Destinations

view of a small town and large bluffs near the ocean viewed on an O.A.T. (Overseas Adventure Tours) itinerary in Iceland
View of Vik village in Iceland on O.A.T.’s tour (Photo: O.A.T.)

For 2022/2023, OAT has 67 itineraries that include tours on every continent. Some of the most popular tours are to destinations in Italy, Egypt, and multi-country tours in Africa and around the Adriatic. 

Tour Types

Overseas Adventure Travel gives all its tours an Activity Level Rating that ranks tours from one (easy) to five (strenuous) to help travelers find the right fit. It has both women-only departures and many no-additional-cost single traveler spots on tours. 

There are multi-country and single country tours. Some tours focus on culture, while others (like Safari Serengeti: Tanzania Lodge & Tented Safari and Ultimate Galápagos Exploration & Ecuador’s Amazon Wilds) have an ecotourism focus.

On many tours, OAT creates spaces for discussion and learning with its Controversial Topics program that covers topics such as Scottish independence on its Scotland Revealed itinerary and female genital mutilation on its Safari Serengeti: Tanzania Lodge & Tented Safari tour. 

Tour Guides

OAT’s tour guides are called Trip Experience Leaders. All are fluent in English and have a range of skills, certifications, and experience specific to the tour destination and experience. Trip Experience Leaders focus on both the logistical and the experiential, and help connect travelers with destinations by sharing firsthand insight that brings a destination to life. 


Inclusions are tour-specific (there’s a “What’s Included” section on each tour’s page), but generally include round-trip flights, many (but usually not all) meals, all transportation, accommodations, activities, and gratuities for local guides, porters, etc. (note that as with most tour companies, gratuities for trip experience leaders is separate). 

Typical Travelers

O.A.T. tour guest participating in a ceremony at a Maasai village in Kenya on an Overseas Adventure Tour
O.A.T. guest participating in a ceremony at a Maasai village in Kenya (Photo: O.A.T.)

OAT’s guests are mostly American travelers 50 and older. In the last few years, Overseas Adventure Travel has seen a major jump in the number of solo travelers–so much so that now more than half of all OAT guests are solo travelers, and 80% of solo travelers with the company are women.

OAT does right by its strong solo traveler base—in 2023, the company is offering 30,000 single spaces—92% of which are free (the remaining 8% of single spots have what OAT says is the lowest single supplement in the industry). And a number of itineraries also have women-exclusive departures. 


After booking, travelers have access to all trip details through the “My Planner” section on the website. Available details include air itinerary, weather at the destination, and trip information.

Two weeks before departure, travelers receive their final documents and are contacted by their Trip Experience Leader.

Loyalty Program

OAT’s loyalty program is the Sir Edmund Hillary Club. Membership benefits kick in when travelers reserve their third trip, and increase after traveling with OAT five and ten times. Benefits include credits to use on future trips, travel credits, exclusive gifts, and priority luggage service. 

Private Options

Starting in 2022, OAT began offering Personalized Private Adventures for groups of five to 10 people. These private departures of established itineraries include a Trip Experience Leader. The private group premium amount depends on the number of travelers in a group. Some of the most popular private tours include Ultimate Africa, Sicily’s Ancient Landscapes, and Japan’s Cultural Treasures

Sustainability Efforts

OAT is part of Grand Circle, and participates in the Grand Circle Foundation, which supports projects around the world focused on water and sanitation, education, community development, renewable energy, the protection of indigenous cultures, conservation, historic preservation, and disaster relief. The foundation has pledged or donated $225 million. 

Its projects include supporting a school’s microfarm in Costa Rica and funding construction of the Imik Simik Women’s Center, which guests visit on the Morocco Sahara Odyssey tour,  

Health and Safety Practices

As of October 2022, OAT required Covid vaccinations and booster for all guests. Masking is optional except where local regulations require it, though trip leaders provide both masks and hand sanitizer upon request. Trip Experience Leaders and coach drivers are vaccinated. On OAT tours that include time onboard a ship, additional precautions include crew trained on best health and hygiene practices to prevent onboard spread of illnesses, nightly electrostatic disinfection of public areas, and disinfection of high-efficiency air filtration systems before each sailing. The OAT website is the place to go to read more about the current health and safety practices for land and ship tours. 

Family Companies

The Grand Circle family of companies includes Overseas Adventure Travel, Grand Circle Cruise Line, and Grand Circle Travel.

More from Tour Scoop:

Christine Sarkis is the co-founder of Vacationist Media and editor-in-chief of TourScoop and She is the former executive editor of, a travel publication owned by Tripadvisor. Her work has been published in dozens of publications including Conde Nast Traveler and USAToday, and she has been quoted in print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also offered tips for travelers on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, and Here & Now.