Overseas Adventure Travel
Hicksville, NYConsumerAffairs Unaccredited Brand
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The ten trips we have taken with OAT/GCT have all been excellent. Our trips have earned us travel credits toward future trips, however, they do expire. Some of our credits are expiring due to trip inactivity. We have not taken any trips since our home was flooded (Hurricane Harvey) and we are just getting back into our home (April 2018). Travel counselors with OAT/GCT have informed us they do not waive the expiration date. It is unfortunate this policy is inflexible given our circumstances.
The group leader in Peru, Freddy, was difficult to understand. My experience of him is that he was rude, arrogant and condescending and unhappy to be doing his job. I found his people skills extremely lacking. I have been on several OAT trips and have never had a bad experience. I continue to be in contact with the group leaders from Africa and Vietnam. The airline portion of this trip was exhausting - not only due to the length of the flights and layovers, but because of the seat assignments - last row is NOT acceptable when OAT has had 6 months to make flight arrangements. I requested a change of seat for my return flight - I waited for several days and when I hadn't heard from them, I purchased a different seat...then, OAT contacted me to confirm that I had the seat I had purchased. This is the LAST time I will take a trip with OAT.
When I asked OAT to make my wife and my flights, the cross Atlantic legs, ie outward and return, I got invoice that says Economy Plus. When I receive flight information, only return journey shows Economy Plus. Repeated call got standard answer that they will listen to the recording and get back to me within 5 business days. 5 business days passed by three times with my follow up. Adventure staff and flight staff repeats the same and would not do anything to rectify but that we can do it on our own.
My husband and I and two friends used OAT for an amazing trip to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos. We were so satisfied with the experience that we are taking their Ultimate Africa tour in March of this year. Our tour guides both in Peru and Ecuador were educated, well informed, gracious hosts. They took care of our group of seniors to the utmost of their abilities. When I was struck with altitude sickness in Peru our guide could not have been more helpful. He did exactly what was necessary to get me the proper treatment so that I could recover quickly and rejoin the tour in less than a half hour.
On the Ecuador part, I became dehydrated. Once again, our guide made every effort to protect my well being by speaking to the locals, and finding a store that sold Gatorade, and he made sure I was prepared with it for the rest of the journey. We never felt that we were being coddled, we simply felt that the guides in both countries had our best interests, our health and safety at the top of their priorities. I would recommend OAT to anyone who is interested in a physically active, informative, and life change journey.
A couple of key pointers about my Peru Travel experience with OAT in late 2017: 1. They are quick to take your reservation but you will spend almost 2 hours on the phone waiting for OAT customer service at any point after giving them your money. Horrible customer service. Virtually no customer service provided since I'm sure so many give up trying to reach OAT after making a nonrefundable reservation deposit. 2. OAT on their website will delete or prohibit from publishing, truly useful mixed and negative reviews. Biased and sneaky. 3. They force you to eat with the group at expensive restaurants. If we didn't have to do this and if the trip was cut short by at least 2 days, the price would have been a bit more reasonable.
4. Above all, the tour guides make all the difference and unfortunately our guide Jose ** was more so an attention seeker and impatient with us older folks than a patient educator about Peru. He was more interested in showing off about his trials and tribulations in Peru than focusing on the history, facts and dynamics of the country and the broader population. I would request a different tour guide if you weirdly enough choose OAT for your Peru experience.
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I have not yet gone on my trip, so I cannot offer a review in terms of actual travel and accommodations but I was deeply bothered by the misleading information I was given when making arrangements. When I booked my two trips, I wanted to include a visit (on my own) to Santiago. When I asked the rep (Sarah) how much this would cost, or if it would be extra she assured me it would most likely fit within the travel budget and wouldn't exceed the $1700 I was already paying for airfare. She said it "might" be a little extra... When I said, "Well I hope it won't be a lot," she assured me it would not be. She mentioned a small amount, and while I can't remember what exactly what that was, it was so minimal I told her to proceed.
She said she would have the back-to-back team give me a call. It turned out to cost $350 additional, plus another $85.00 for a hotel room (the latter of which is understandable because of the flight times). When I complained to an OAT rep, they reviewed "the tape" of our conversation and found (or claimed) she did not say these things. I told them there were three phone calls and it was one of the latter calls that we discussed this, but they refused to listen to the other tapes. In fairness to OAT, one of the reps did offer to apply a trip credit from the first trip towards the second - which helped take the sting off the additional fare. It's not a make or break thing for me but just want to warn you - ask specific questions, write down their answers and the DATE AND TIME of your call.
I've made one trip with OAT that was excellent from beginning to end. I have three more scheduled and making arrangements for all three have been excellent. Two are back-to-back trips and they patiently worked out the details for leaving one tour and connecting with the next. They seem fully aware of recent problems with contacting their representatives and are making apparent heartfelt efforts to work it out. Part of the problem might be that their reps, when they do get on the phone, take extraordinary efforts to make the call seem personal.
Ultimate Africa air travel - We booked our trip air fare included and were told by two representatives we could change our air travel arrangements by Nov. 1 at no additional charge. I called back on Oct. 31 and was told there would be a fee of 460.00 and that our first class ticket from Cape Town to Amsterdam would be changed to coach. If I had been told the truth when I booked I would have extended the nights in Amsterdam the same day. The two people who misinformed me were either poorly trained or lying to me. Either of which is unacceptable when you are booking a trip that is over $26,000.00. I wish now I had booked with Odyssey. Depending on whether the trip is as bad as the pre-service I may never travel with them again.
My friend and I had taken a trip with this company earlier this year and we were extremely satisfied. The process for registration was easy, all questions were answered, the tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and professional, and the group had wonderful experiences. We therefore decided to take another one early next year. Again, the process for registering for this trip was wonderful. However, once our trip was booked, our experience with this company became totally different. We were no longer able to speak to an agent without waiting a minimum of 30+ minutes on hold. We were given different information about flights every time we finally did manage to speak to an agent. One agent said that we could get a direct flight home. Another agent told us they did not exist. We asked for business class seats. One agent told us they were not available. Another "managed" to get them for us.
I wrote an email with my concerns to the email addresses listed on their website, a week ago. I did not receive any response. I therefore sent the email again a few days ago. As yet, I have not received a response. I therefore called this morning. In order to bypass the 30+ minute wait, I called the number for new registrations and was immediately connected to an agent. I asked to be connected to a supervisor and she would not give me anyone's name, phone number or email address. She asked me to tell her and when I explained the issue her response was, "we don't monitor emails." I asked her for the name of someone in charge. She was either unable or unwilling to give me a name and said it was a team and the only way I could contact them was by regular mail. She either did not have or would not give me a phone number for them. Altogether, I felt her tone was curt and she was not at all helpful.
We have a trip to Cuba scheduled to leave Sept 29. With the destructive path of Irma we are concerned about whether the trip will go. All we get when we call is a standard reply. The trip leaving on Sept 19th was cancelled less than a week before departure. Complicating this is that we are residents of Fort Myers, FL and have no power. We need to be in FL repairing our homes and those of our friends. OAT will not return calls. If we cancel we lose our money. If we wait for them to make a decision it delays our return to FL to recover from Irma's damage.
Is this an indication of OAT service. How can they assure that we will be safe traveling in Cuba. We didn't sign up for a trip that has any chance of unnecessary risks. We have seen first hand the amount of resources needed to begin the clean up in Florida. Cannot imagine that by Sept 30th Havana will be safe for travel. In addition I learned yesterday that trips supported by the foundation can be more than the promised 20 people. Why are their group sizes for foundation trips different than their standard 12-16. Had we known the group would be larger we would have never signed up.
When I called the toll free number and was not satisfied with the response, I asked for a return call and have not had a response. I have never dealt with a travel organization that is so unwilling to answer questions in a timely manner. We have traveled with OAT before and expected better from them when dealing with natural disasters. To assure safety and allow travelers to make plans the late Sept tour to Cuba should be cancelled. If it is not cancelled travelers should be told what changes will need to be made and allowed to reschedule if not satisfied with the changes or apparent risks.
I traveled last spring with OAT to Central Europe. The travel guide was outstanding, attentive, smart and very competent. All the individual guides in the various cities and towns were interesting and knowledgeable. The accommodations were always great, both clean and convenient. Our intercity travel was very comfortable and I would definitely book all my travel with this company. I traveled with another company and OAT far exceeds them in customer service.
I recently booked my first trip with OAT which will start in Nov. 2017. However, after I booked the trip, it is virtually impossible to get hold of them. On telephone, I cannot get them even after holding for 1 hour! The voice says they have high call volume and their telephone system is being changed! This of course is nonsense. I am wonder if they are still in business. Can someone advise me on that? Which is the right Government agency to report complaint? OAT is simply horrible!
This will likely be my last trip w/ OAT. Can't get through to anyone to talk about your travel. You're put on hold for 30+ mins or longer. It's frustrating. I went to Tuscany last year and never had this problem. I could get through to a person to ask questions, but not anymore. I have a trip reserved to Iceland this fall and I'm considering just saying bye bye to my deposit. I have questions about the invoice and can't reach someone on the phone to ask and they don't respond to email either. Very bad service; I don't know what happened.
We have had many wonderful trips with OAT, but their customer support has become terrible. Wait time on the phone averages close to 1 hour for any phone call except to book a new trip. I am very disappointed with this company!
I'll begin by stating that my husband and I have enjoyed five trips with OAT and Grand Circle as well as the Cuba Revealed trip with the Grand Circle Foundation. We have never been disappointed. In April, 2017, however, we were literally walking out the door to catch our cab to the airport for the OAT Sicily trip. At that moment I received a text that our Delta flight out of Pensacola had been delayed. We might, however, still make the connection to Rome. Following up on the second Delta delay notice, I learned that we would not make our connection.
Finally, we learned that our only means of reaching Sicily would have been to fly from Atlanta to Paris the following day; spend the night in Paris; fly from Paris to Rome, spend the night there, and finally meet up with our group three days after the tour had started. All of this came shortly after our local guide wrote a comprehensive letter to all of us, informing us that there would likely be an Alitalia strike in Rome that would affect our flight to Palermo. Although she had not intended it so, she gave the impression that were the strike to go forward, we would be on our own in Rome and would have to make our own arrangements.
Realizing OAT/Grand Circle cannot be held responsible for weather over Atlanta or airline strikes, it still would have been helpful to get any bit of support from them, but none was forthcoming. It seemed to me that we had paid in full and were on our own, with our bags packed and every travel "t" crossed and every "i" dotted.
Finally, an OAT agent said that she wouldn't blame us if we cancelled and we did. The very next day I sent a three-page letter to Trip Mate Insurance, along with the claim form. I could go on in detail about how long it took to get a response from OAT or Trip Mate. In fact, I had to be the bird dog, staying on our case for about six weeks when I finally learned that a travel voucher had been issued to OAT, and I'm not sure if it would have happened without invoking the help of a man in an upper echelon who, long after I sent my complaint to OAT, responded by phone, telling me the letter had just arrived on his desk. Caveat emptor: the voucher can only be used for travel with the company and must be used within a year. By that time, any trip we really wanted to take had been filled, but we could put a "tentative" deposit on a 2019 trip in which case we'd have to ask for an exception to the one-year framework.
Now we've booked a trip on this continent, and our voucher has been applied, but we still have an $800.00 insurance voucher that must be used within the year. From our current invoice it appears there are also dollar credits for future travel, given that our new trip was less expensive. So we ask ourselves, do we stick with the company to use those credits or cut our losses and run?
We planned a trip with Overseas Adventure Travel. We were not advised that (1) if we planned our own airfare it would not include transfers and (2) that there would be an additional charge for internal flights. When we received the invoice we called numerous times and were kept on a wait (with music and their advertising of a cruise) for a Grand Circle Travel Support Department (they apparently are no longer OAT) for up to 45 minutes and then did not get satisfaction. We are still waiting for a call back.
Since February 2010, I have traveled with OAT 32 times. Not once I had bad expedience with the Boston Office, the tour or the trip leader. I read lots of complaint about health issue, cancellation, or food or hotels. Well those people should stay home, because OAT delivers 101% what they advertise. I tell all my trip leader that I would follow them to the end of earth. People who are looking for adventure, foreign culture, food, religion and customs should try OAT once. Make sure you are in good physical condition, because you walk an average of 3 miles per day, and you are on a go from sunup to sundown. I have travel to all the 7 continents and when I come home I relax and take it easy. Adventurous people give OAT a try, there are never more than 16 people on a trip.
Trying to reach OAT air travel department. Three times left on hold for over 25 minutes! Had important information to convey. No idea how else to reach the air travel department. Their claim to be the best travel company, does not fly with me.
I have traveled with OAT and Grand Circle Travel numerous times. I felt very safe and taken care of. My sister and I have been on a combined number of 8 trips. We have found everyone to be so helpful. The drivers are so kind and considerate. I haven't found anyone in the company who does not bend over backwards for you. This is a great company. My husband and I are just getting ready to book his retirement trip. We plan on spending 3 weeks to a month with the company.
My experience with OAT while in Lima, Peru was jilted into an unpleasant reality when only six hours into the trip, my purse was stolen while dining with our group at La Panka Restaurant. While having our lunch, the tour guide asked me to learn a new dance that he knew as a native Peruvian. I was hesitant, but decided to be polite. As a reflective person, I thought it strange that he wanted to teach me a new dance during lunch and while local dancers were performing on a stage not far from us. The rest of our group of twelve were all seated at our table but when I returned, my purse was missing from the seat where I left it. Many in my group helped search for the missing purse to no avail. Stolen were my purse, passport, credit cards, phone, and cash. It was a flash of thinking and feeling like I had been set up. There were surveillance cameras but the tour guide was unable to get any information and did not follow up on this as he said he would.
I travel often and although I know unfortunate events happen, but OAT was not at all supportive throughout the travel claim process, as I did purchase the additional insurance for $699. I missed two days with the group and was by myself in Lima until I could go through the process to purchase a new temporary passport. The American Embassy in Lima had very few employees who spoke English. It was a harrowing experience over-all and as of April 3, I am still waiting for answers from Trip Mate Travel Ins. Company. I spoke with representatives and a supervisor at OAT and it is clear that they take no responsibility. They keep repeating that the Trip Leader has excellent reviews and they doubt highly that he had anything to do with the theft.
I can not help but feel differently and will never forget how awful it is to be in a place where one is at the mercy of others. OAT advertises as budget friendly; however I could have traveled with National Geographic or another well known travel company simply because of the additional expenses incurred due to theft in Lima.
We have traveled with OAT and are very happy! We have traveled to Africa, Costa Rica, Machu Picchu & Galapagos - with a pre-trip to Peruvian Amazonas. Every time we enjoyed our guides and the places we stayed. Last trip was to Cuba in November 2016! Another trip we really enjoyed! Looking forward to more with our friends! Next is Ancient Kingdoms of The South East Asia! One of the things we really enjoy is the donations to schools and communities we visit! I am surprised at the negative reviews and they mostly relate to some small insurance refund or a misunderstanding! That should not be the only criteria for bashing a great and philanthropic organization!
There are so many opportunities here for hardworking and excellent people. At the same time, we don’t tolerate subpar work/unprofessionalism. I had purchased the travel insurance. My mother is 94 and in the pre-hospice program. She had two heart related surgeries in 2015. When I booked the trip she was pending Medicaid and we were expecting Caregivers to arrive shortly. The Medicaid was delayed and as of the date of my canceling this trip the caregiver status was not guaranteed. Although I have provided medical documentation, the travel insurance, Tripmate has denied my claim. They did not deny my claim until February but have issued me a travel voucher which I am not able to use due to my mother's health. Due to my mother's declining health the travel voucher is a mute point even though it is suppose to be good for one year.
The travel voucher has been dated to expire in November even though the insurance company took 6 months to make the decision. I have gotten nowhere with the insurance company and have not been able to get in touch with OAT as no one appears to answer the phone. I would never recommend this company to anyone ever. The insurance they sell is worthless and OAT doesn't seem to be concern at the least with their customers.
In December 2016 I signed up with OAT for my first travel adventure alone, as my husband has become permanently physically and mentally disabled. This was a big deal for me and I put myself into the trusted hands (based on recommendations) of OAT. They signed me up for TripMate for $599 and this was paid up front with my deposit. Because I trusted OAT, I didn't personally check out this company. BIG mistake. My husband and I have travelled extensively before and had such good experiences with travel insurance, I didn't realize that this bad behavior was possible - and especially marketed by OAT. I agree with the previous reviewer - Shame on OAT!
Long story short, my husband has had another health episode that makes leaving the country right now ill advised. No problem - I have insurance right? WRONG! After finally getting through to them, trying to open a claim, giving them my info and then committed 2 typos that required multiple call backs before I could even get to the claim - I downloaded the 5 PAGE document required - with multiple doctor's signatures and a signed release form for all of my husband's medical records! And mind you, I have already paid TripMate, non refundable $599 for essentially nothing. My entire claim was to recover $300. And it could take me weeks to get this all submitted, and after reading these reviews I see it is hopeless. OAT - you've lost a customer. At least until you sever ties with this sham.
I am writing to let you know of the experience I have had with your agency and how it ruined my retirement trip. First of all I was working with Sarah who eventuality left your agency to start her own business. I was then switched over to Cheri ** and no information was given to her from Sarah. Only the information I had kept. We pretty much had to start all over again. I not only found this to be a pain in the ass but totally unprofessional. My trip was to travel to Australia and New Zealand from November 22nd to January 30th. After spending much time with Cheri over which places to go, she then mentioned the bus passes since I did not wish to drive because they drive on the other side of the road and sooner or later I would have an accident. She told me it was a 'hop on hop off' bus ride which gave me the impression that it would be easy and convenient. This was not the case.
First of all she never told me the bus schedule until the last day I saw her and that was the last thing she said to me. Because it was the off season the bus only ran on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Causing me to stay 2-3 days longer than necessary where ever I went, wasting time and money. She should have told me this before selling me the bus pass. After less than 3 weeks I was so fed up I went back home. She also should have advised me about the heat and that I would have been better off going in February not November. I hold her responsible for ruining my trip. In all fairness she should reimburse me for the bus passes and spending over $600.00 in costs for changing my flight schedules. I know this will never happen, she will keep her job and I am out a lot of money and a ruined vacation.
You should teach your employees to be professional in informing the people who are trusting you with the money they are investing in their vacations. I am planning another vacation. To see the mountain gorillas in Rwanda. And you better believe I am not going to waste anymore time and money on your agency. I have already told a number of my friends to stay away from your business.
I have taken about 41 trips with Grand Circle Travel and OAT. 3 were the worst trips ever - Australia and New Zealand was a nightmare because of the people in the group and an inadequate tour director. Costa Rica and Guatemala was bad because the tour guide in Guatemala kept trying to get money from us to feed kids. I just went to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Russia on May 20. I had signed up to go to the ballet in Russia but because of problems with our tour director that day I wasn't able to go. We were supposed to meet at the coat check at 4:30 and our tour director and the group never showed up.
When they were about to close the Hermitage Museum where we were, I went to a shop and asked them to call our hotel so I could find out where our tour group was. Our tour director was not in her room so I took a cab back to the hotel where we were staying and got there at 6:30 which was time to leave. Our tour director suggested I have a sandwich and go - forgetting I am gluten intolerant and I would want to change into something other than jeans to go to the ballet and I was so aggravated I didn't go. OAT called me too about paying the fee for the ballet and I told them I wouldn't as I didn't go. They called again yesterday and said because they couldn't give 24 hour advance notice they had to pay and expected me to pay. I did and wish I hadn't.
The trip was good but the airlines OAT chose were horrible. I missed my flight to Germany and had to stay in a hotel at San Francisco International airport. Same thing happened flying from St. Petersburg to Germany and I had to stay in a hotel at the airport. The airline insisted I had to buy a new ticket and because of the language difference it wasn't clear why but I paid $440 for a new ticket and they charged me for both my checked bag and carry on. The total for all of this was about $800 and I filed a claim with Trip Mate and have heard nothing. I will never travel with OAT again and I will pester them to get the money from the tour director as it was her fault I missed the ballet. And now I will pester Trip Mate like OAT pestered me.
I booked a trip on OAT and gave a $350 deposit. The agent I spoke with advised me to purchase an insurance policy with their recommended company, Trip Mate. I was assured that if I needed to cancel I would get my deposit back for ANY reason. I did have to cancel but it seems that the reasons Trip Mate lists are so outrageous that nothing I can say will fit. OAT returned $50 of my deposit and said I needed to file a claim with Trip Mate, which I did. Trip Mate and OAT both refuse to return my money, not for the insurance, which I realize I lost $599, but for the balance of my deposit.
I booked a trip to Morocco. I was led to believe that I would have a direct flight. I was then booked on a one stop flight and told that I would have to pay the difference. I wanted to add a pre-trip excursion. It was now not available. Their representatives would tell me what they thought I wanted to hear. The information was untrue and misleading. I cancelled the trip but was told that I would forfeit $300 per person. This is unfair considering that the reason for cancellation was due to their misinformation.
I have just read the complaints several individuals have written below and find them rather typical of older inexperienced travelers. My wife and I have taken OAT trips to China & Tibet, Baltic States & Russia and most recently to Turkey and also a Grand Circle trip to Spain & Portugal. We have had nothing but great experiences, very good hotel accommodations and excellent & knowledgeable guides. We have encountered these miserable older inexperienced complainers on every trip. Don't listen to them or take any credence in their complaints! They are the types that complain about everything on the trip and don't take the time to enjoy the adventure to a foreign country, its people, its food or its history!
On 11/27/15, I called OAT to reserve a trip to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos for 3/12/16. I was informed that this particular trip required booking the pre-trip to the Amazons. I did not want the extra week nor spend the extra $1,000 but was persuaded by the salesperson plus I really wanted that time frame. When I received the list of fellow travelers, there was only 8 for the pre-trip and 5 joining us for the MP portion. Each of the five said a mandatory pre-trip was not even mentioned. When I returned home I called OAT and expressed my dissatisfaction and anger about that practice. I got nothing except a "Sorry but that was company policy to fill trips." The rep did say this was a gray area but it would not be changed. I was offered $100 travel credit to soothe my feelings and I told her to forget it because I would never use it because I would not travel with them. She could have cared less, so much for customer service!!!
I took the OAT ultimate Africa (arrive Jo'burg 7/04/15 and depart 7/19/15) and I injured myself by tripping the duffle bag. The visit to the Chobe Medical Center in Kasane, Botswana costed me US$65. The doctor found I had broken ankle but I continued the trip since I could walk despite of pain. I did have surgery after returning to the US. I sent my claim of $65 to the Trip Mate. After I went through all procedure which Trip Mate requested I still not received any compensation of my claim of $65. The OAT does not try to help to resolve my problem. I think it is very poor customer service. Other than that the African safari and the guide was wonderful.
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