- Looking at an Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) tour, but want to know more about this small-group tour company?
- Here’s everything you need to know about the tour company, all updated for 2024.
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 tours on all continents. As its name suggests, tours with Overseas Adventure Travel tend to be fairly active, so participants should be comfortable with six to eight hours of activity each day, including walking distances ranging from three to six miles.
OAT has a great reputation for its solo guest focus (more on that below), and offers a generous number of no-additional-cost single spots on its tours. It also has women-exclusive departures on many itineraries.
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On OAT tours, accommodations tend to be less about amenities and more about authenticity. Another thing to note is that 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.
- Countries: OAT has tours on every continent
- Tour Size Average: OAT specializes in small-group trips of no more than 16 people. Its small-ship tours are aboard 50- to 98-passenger ships max out at 25 travelers.
- Tour Type: Coach, van, small ship, rail, and air
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 tour.
For 2024, OAT has 80 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.
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. 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.
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 not all) meals, transportation, accommodations, activities, and gratuities for local guides, porters, etc. As with most tour companies, gratuities for trip experience leaders is separate.
OAT’s guests are mostly American travelers aged 50 and older. In the last few years, Overseas Adventure Travel has seen a major jump in the number of solo travelers—more than half of all OAT guests are now solo travelers, and 80% of these solo travelers are women.
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OAT does right by its strong solo traveler base—in 2024, the company is offering 25,620 single spaces—91% of which are free (the remaining 9% 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. The section includes details like flight information, destination weather, and itinerary information.
Then, two weeks before departure, travelers receive all their final documents, and are also contacted by their Trip Experience Leader. Any additional questions can be directed to OAT’s customer service email or phone number.
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.
OAT offers Personalized Private Adventures for groups of five to 10 people. These private departures are available using existing itineraries, and include a dedicated 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.
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.
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Health and Safety Practices
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.