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Overseas Adventure Travel - OAT

Eugene, Oregon
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1 post
67 reviews
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Overseas Adventure Travel - OAT

BUY THE INSURANCE! If you are going to book with OAT which I would not recommend make sure you buy their very exspensive trip insurance. We didnt and boy did we pay...our car was broken into 18 hrs before our flight all of our luggage passports and of course my wallet were stolen, leaving us unable to take our much anticipated trip to Turkey. It was Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and nothing was open there was no option to get replacement passports issued. Not only did OAT offer to do nothing for us, they even refused to give up the airline tickets which were issued in our name so that we could at least fly somewhere later once our passports had been reissued. We spend 8K on this vacation and we are not wealthy retirees like most of their travelers, it will take us a long time to recover from this loss. If I had booked this travel independently like our previous trips I would have at least been able to use my plane tickets later and cancel my hotel rooms. BOO OAT! You are everything that is wrong with corporate america, so greedy!

187 replies to this topic
Blowing Rock, North...
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3 posts
102 reviews
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1. Re: Overseas Adventure Travel - OAT

DO NOT travel with Overseas Adventure Travel. We paid in full for a trip to India and found out that they still plan to fly us via Air India after FAA has downgraded the airline due to safety concerns. OAT cares more about their bottom line than the safety of their customers.

Toronto, Canada
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48 posts
40 reviews
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2. Re: Overseas Adventure Travel - OAT

The response should be, always buy insurance regardless of who you are travelling with. I travelled with OAT to Tanzania in September last year. It was a terrific trip. I did my own flights because most tour companies have their preferred airlines. I like to book my own travel because I can choose which airline I prefer to use and I can decide when I want to arrive and leave. If, for some reason, you miss your flight, you can usually get a credit less fees from the airline you booked with, but not always. It depends on your class of ticket. The cheaper the ticket, the higher the penalties and the more restrictive the options. You don't need to take OAT's trip insurance. There are other travel insurance companies that do the same thing. Even your own personal insurance company may offer trip insurance. Mine does. Always read the small print when you book trips. That way you will be spared any surprises and disappointments in the long run.

Destination Expert
for Somerset, Solo Travel, Exmoor National Park
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28,696 posts
107 reviews
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3. Re: Overseas Adventure Travel - OAT

Yu2's post is excellently put. If you have the correct insurance in place before you book you should be covered.

A company like this cannot give you the tickets or pass the cost on because it is a totally different system they use and agreement they make with the airlines to book seats.

I am really sorry you went through such an awful time but it is the theives you should be mad at as they were the ones to ruin your trip - not a holiday company

It is up to you to make sure you are covered for all eventualities and you need to read the company terms and conditions before you enter into contract with them by booking as throughly as you read your insurance details.

Can't understand why you weren't covered for the loss of your holiday by your insurance company.

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3 posts
9 reviews
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4. Re: Overseas Adventure Travel - OAT

Thanks for the review and advice. I am booking a single spot on an October 2015 40 day trip to Africa with OAT. Good advice on the insurance and travel. I think if I plan my own flight and arrive at the hotel they will be using at least one day ahead, I should be fine. Were you also traveling solo? Any further advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Bath, Canada
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171 posts
2 reviews
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5. Re: Overseas Adventure Travel - OAT

Even though your OAT trip is a long way off, keep up to date with the present situation/advisories in Kenya on the Kenyan forum. I assume with a 40 day??? trip you have Kenya on the itinerary.

Westlake Village, CA
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20 posts
86 reviews
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6. Re: Overseas Adventure Travel - OAT

I'm really surprised to see negative reviews as we have traveled 5 times with OAT and Grand Circle and referred 14 people --- all of whom have been very pleased. We also travel independently but their tour format; small groups and lots of interaction with the local culture is a very nice plus. Every one of the guides has been excellent; highly knowledgeable and really dedicated to exceeding expectations.

My suggestions would be to read the reviews for each tour on their website. You'll find lots of great tips from fellow travelers. On every tour we have found some folks who are more active and adventurous (like us) and some who aren't. But always a great mix of people.

If you are a first time traveler with either OAT or Grand Circle and you are not being referred please feel free to email me. I'll share my code and you'll save $100 (sometimes more) ... and we get a $100 credit which I will gladly use.

Jesse Slome

E: jslome@aaltci.org

Sydney, Australia
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18 posts
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7. Re: Overseas Adventure Travel - OAT

It makes good sense to always have some travel insurance when you go out of the country for business or pleasure. It may cost you a little money but you’re not left out in the cold if something goes wrong while traveling.

Fort Wayne, Indiana
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9 posts
10 reviews
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8. Re: Overseas Adventure Travel - OAT

For sure, always buy travel insurance, not necessarily OAT’s trip insurance, but someone’s! You may never need to make a claim, but when something untoward happens, it’s sure great to have a chance at getting some money back. I’ve used Travel Guard and they treated me very well in paying a claim on a 2010 trip. I’ve also used Travelex Insurance and they’ve always been very helpful in helping me pick the correct level of insurance (which was not by the way their most expensive level) needed for several adventure tours, but I have never had to make a claim with them and so don’t know how fairly they treat you when making a claim. I’ve also bought OAT’s travel insurance and it was very pricey but it may be because they provide ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage? I’ve never had a claim with OAT’s insurance either, so I don’t know what they’re like from that end. Whatever you get, be sure to wade through all of the terms and conditions, read the entire contract carefully!

I have travelled with OAT twice; once in 2008 on their Real Affordable Peru with an Amazon extension, and again in 2012 on their Pure New Zealand trip. Both trips were very well done and the guides were absolutely fabulous - very attentive, very knowledgeable, and they all obviously loved showing us their country! Frankly I think OAT’s best deal is when you book one of their trips along with their international airfare, that's what really seems to make these great trips at economical prices. Their airfare was a lot cheaper for both of my trips compared to what I had been finding on my own for those destinations. Without OAT’s air arrangements, their land prices are similar to other adventure travel companies I’ve used. The problem with OAT’s airline arrangements though is that the flight itineraries are not set in stone until about two weeks before travel (when it’s too late tweak them), and that even when you work with their flight specialists at booking time to find an air itinerary that you’re comfortable with as far as length of connection times (I like to have a lot of time between connections rather than just an hour, in case my incoming flight is delayed – I really hate running through airports like a linebacker!) On both of my OAT trips where I used their airline arrangements, I had some gnarly short connections, one of which caused my travel partner and I to miss a plane home from Chicago and spend the night sleeping on the airport floor. I felt like I had been set up to fail on that one. That hour long connection was one of those last minute itinerary changes received in my final travel documents from OAT two weeks before departure, when it was too late to ask that they change that flight to one with a longer connection time. Unfortunately my travel partner and I did run like linebackers through O’hare trying to catch that plane. I can run but my partner, though she tried her hardest, cannot. My travel partner ended up at the gate gasping and wheezing and in tears and that along with sleeping overnight on the airport floor was her last memory of our Pure New Zealand adventure. So even though the trip itself was awesome, that ridiculous flight itinerary left a mighty sour taste and I haven’t booked another OAT trip again. A very similar scenario occurred with the flight itinerary returning from my Peru trip. That time there were 5 of us running through the airport like linebackers, including my 73 year old mother, to make a short connection made shorter still by an hour late plane arrival from Peru. That by the way was my last big trip with my mother before she passed away, making ending our trip that way an even more painful memory, seeing her panicked face as she ran and again as the airline attendant tried to slam the boarding door in her face and not allow her and three others in my group on the plane since we were late (Yay American Airlines, way to treat your customers!). In my opinion, since OAT clients are primarily people over 50, OAT should always allow plenty of time to make connections.

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142 posts
16 reviews
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9. Re: Overseas Adventure Travel - OAT

OAT is affiliated with AARP. I will never, ever have anything to do with any of their enterprises (Grand Circle Tours is also an affiliate of AARP)

Denver, Colorado
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918 posts
60 reviews
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10. Re: Overseas Adventure Travel - OAT

AARP and Grand Circle were founded by the same person and GC originally served AARP members. However, in 1982 Alan Lewis bought Grand Circle and as far as I know ended its affiliation with AARP. The GC and OAT demographics tend to the older end of the scale, but my OAT trip to Thailand (excellent, BTW) included a large extended family group with three children. If anyone hates AARP and anything ever associated with it, then it's good to hear that they won't ever ever book an OAT trip, because I might take one again and I'd hate to travel with someone toting a grudge.

About insurance. In my years of reading and posting around TA, it seems to me that it must be easier in some other countries to obtain good travel insurance coverage. Typical US homeowner insurance policies don't include travel insurance although they may insure you against theft/damage of specific items of personal property while away from home. Thus we have to seek out specific travel insurance, and that can be, as amply documented on TA forums, confusing.

I'm sorry the OP suffered a horrible theft, but as has been noted, OAT didn't ruin their trip, the thieves did. Also, what on earth were they thinking by leaving their *wallets* and *passports* in their car? The OP said that when the car was broken into, <<all of our luggage passports and of course my wallet were stolen>> but good grief, I would *never* in a zillion years walk off and leave my wallet, much less my passport, in my car.

BTW, I bought the OAT travel insurance on my Thailand trip. Then, protestors closed the Bangkok airport, and vacated it only a few days before we were supposed to leave. We played "telephone chicken" with OAT customer service reps almost up to departure date; they kept saying no the trip wasn't cancelled when we all knew darn well there was no way United would be flying into Bangkok the day of our scheduled trip (airport had to be cleared/secured, airlines had to get organized and caught up). OAT was hoping we'd go ahead and reschedule under our insurance, but we hung tough. Finally OAT had to admit they would need to reschedule us, which they did. At no charge, of course. And our insurance remained in effect for the rescheduled departure date trip. ("We" = my friend and I; we each booked the trip separately but wanted to be on the same tour, each with our own rooms.)

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