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OAT age question

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May 16th, 2007, 01:38 PM
  #1
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OAT age question

I booked OAT's Ultimate Africa trip for Oct 2007 unfortunately before I was a member of Fodor's and didn't do much research. My bad but I was also rushed by OAT on my decision as they claimed only one single spot left for the entire year (find that hard to believe but....). I have been to Africa 12 times on my own but sometimes it gets pretty lonely so I decided to try a group tour this year. I chose OAT because my Adventure Club (mostly in their 50's) uses OAT all the time and loves them. However, after reading the post here on Fodors I'm starting to get a little nervous that the age group may be a little, ok a lot older than I. I'm in my early 40's and love to hang out with folks in their 50's and 60's but I'm hearing these groups could be 70's and 80's. Would someone please reassure me that I'm not on the elder tour and I will be with some fit, fun people?
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May 16th, 2007, 02:02 PM
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You sound as if you will have a good time in any situation. I doubt that many 80's would select this tour. The 70's will probably be fit enough. The others on the tour will love your experience and you should be the tour star.
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May 16th, 2007, 02:04 PM
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Generally, the age range for OAT tours is from 40s up... most usually between 50-65. Some tours, depending on destination may have more at the higher end, others at the lower end. Is there a possibility of those in their 70s or 80s, yes, but these "elder" folks seem to have as much, if not more energy than younger travelers... rarely are they "crotchedy old people." For that matter, you might find some at the younger range, to be fussier travelers. With a group, there's no way of knowing, till you meet your fellow travelers.

While not an OAT tour, I did one group tour to Turkey (too big a country to venture on our own), and myself and friend were second from the youngest of the group... then in our 40s. The rest of the group in the late-50s or 60s. But the funniest and most energetic of the group was a couple in their 70s (believe he was 80-something). It wound up being one of my best trips outside of Africa.

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May 16th, 2007, 02:17 PM
  #4
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Thanks for the quick replies. I know what you are saying is very true and age really doesn't matter as long as they are fun folks. Also a good point that people who choose this tour will be adventurous at heart so we will have something in common from the start. OK, I'm feeling better already.
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May 16th, 2007, 03:13 PM
  #5
 
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I've done 3 OAT tours and found everyone to be great travelers and companions, regardless of their ages. The ages have ranged from a guy in his 20s traveling with his aunt to folks in their 70s. I think you'll have a great time with the group and also with your guides and lodge/camp staff personnel.

Where else have you been in Africa? Please give us a trip report when you return.
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May 16th, 2007, 03:51 PM
  #6
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ShayTay,
My brother and his wife lived in Harare, Zimbabwe from 1997-2004 and that's what began my love affair with Africa. From the very first minute I was hooked or obsessed as my friends would say. I've since been there 12 times, mostly going out on safari on my own.

Let's see, I've been to Zimbabwe 7 times, Zambia 2 times, South Africa 4 times (airport stops don't count), Botswana 1 time, Kenya 2 times, Tanzania 1 time.....I think that's it, not including northern Africa. I haven't been to Zimbabwe since 2003 so I'm excited to go on this OAT trip and return to my first true love, especially since I will be able to add Namibia to the list too.

My favorite camp so far is The Hide in Hwange. I was very sorry to hear about the two tourist being killed on the walk and I'm now considering not doing those on this trip. On my last trip in Kruger I had a close call and kinda felt my luck was up as far as the walks are concerned...now I'm sure of it.
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May 17th, 2007, 05:51 AM
  #7
 
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We are doing the OAT Ultimate Africa tour in late June. I am late 40's, my sister & her husband are mid 40's, their daughter is 10 and my parents are mid-70's.
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May 17th, 2007, 06:03 AM
  #8
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Mossway1,
That sounds like a great trip for the family. I've done several trips with my parents and really enjoyed it.

Please let me know all the details when you return.
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May 17th, 2007, 06:18 AM
  #9
 
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Hi.... please let us know how you liked it when u returned.... we have booked the Ultimate Africa for July,2008...we are in our 60's but feel like 40...and, we are going with sailing friends that will be 80...and, so young!!! can't wait to hear your report....have a great time !!!
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May 17th, 2007, 06:24 AM
  #10
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Just curious. Did you guys get your visas ahead of time or will you get them when you arrive? If you did get them ahead, how long did the process take? All this is new to me because when I use to go to Zimbabwe every year you just paid $20 at the airport and you were in!
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May 17th, 2007, 08:24 AM
  #11
 
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<<My bad but I was also rushed by OAT on my decision as they claimed only one single spot left for the entire year (find that hard to believe but....)>>

I believe it. The OAT tours promise small groups (10-16)and there are very few single spots available. The Africa trips are very popular ... look at Mossway -- six people booked for a tour in 2008!

If your "mostly in their 50s" Adventure Club friends use OAT all the time I don't think you need be concerned with being with 15 people in their 70s and 80s. There may be a few, but certainly not the entire group.

So, yes, you will be with some fun, fit people and will have a great time.
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May 17th, 2007, 12:21 PM
  #12
 
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I'm in my 40s, and have travelled with OAT 4 times (France, Costa Rica, Turkey, East Africa). While its true that I'm usually one of the youngest on the trip, I've never found the age to be a problem. Here's why:

OAT travellers tend to be a flexible, well-travelled bunch, who enjoy travelling (not the typical whiny American tour groups).

The older travellers have the advantage of being retired, and lots of them exercise way more than I do. I'm usually about the middle of the fitness range compared to the other people on the trip (and while I'm not an athlete, I do walk a lot at home).

On my first trip, I didn't even realize OAT catered to the over 50 crowd, and I freaked out in the airport when I saw all the gray-haired heads around the tour guide. But then I found myself jet lagged and dozing off on the bus to the hotel, while vaguely aware that everyone else on the bus was happily comparing notes of their trips to China, Thailand, Africa, Turkey -- they were energetic and eager to go, and I was pooped out. And that was just the beginning.
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May 18th, 2007, 06:06 AM
  #13
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Ann,
"I freaked out in the airport when I saw all the gray-haired heads around the tour guide" I loved that. Guess I had the cyber version of the same momentary freak out. I don't know why we all want to be with people around our own age, or think we do. Maybe it's the fear of not being accepted and spending the entire trip as the young one. I'm over it now.
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May 18th, 2007, 08:13 AM
  #14
 
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Once I got over my 'freak out', I had to admit that most of the travellers were more interesting, and more flexible, and better travellers, than most of my friends are who are my own age. Go figure.
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May 18th, 2007, 10:06 PM
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On one of my OAT trips, one of the guides laughed and said that they believe OAT stands for "Older American Travelers."
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May 19th, 2007, 07:18 AM
  #16
 
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AS I mentioned in an earlier post, our family of 6 is going on the OAT Ultimate Africa trip. We are leaving in late June 2007 and did not book until late April. At that time we tried to get on any of the July trips, but none had enough space for all 6 of us(although they may have had space for a smaller number of travelers at that time).

When you book with OAT, they send you the forms for the Zimbabwe visa and recommend that submit them through a private vendor in Virginia (I think the name is PVS) who will get the visa for you in advance. The vendor does charge a premium for this service, but OAT recommends that you use it as they say waiting for a visa at the border can cause delays. I don't know if that's really true, but didn't want to chance it and used PVS. You have to mail them your passport along with 2 passport type photos. My passport with the visa inside was returned in about 2 weeks via Fed Express.

Also, I went to the Johns Hopkins International Travel Clinic to prepare for the trip. They gave me the 2nd installment of my Hep A vaccine (now I am good for life). They also recommended the typhoid innoculation (which was not recommended for a South Africa trip 3 years ago). I took the pills which are good for 5 years. And of course, they gave me the standard Malarone and Cipro prescriptons. Other than the difficult job of packing for a 26 pound weight limit, I am ready to go.
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May 19th, 2007, 07:46 AM
  #17
 
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<<Once I got over my 'freak out', I had to admit that most of the travellers were more interesting, and more flexible, and better travellers, than most of my friends are who are my own age. Go figure.>>

They have more life experience and possibly have been traveling for many years during times when international flights were a lot longer than they are now. No rollaboards or soft-sided luggage either.

Doing group travel I've met retired government employees (one a former CIA agent stationed in Moscow during the cold war) former peace corps volunteers and several other "older" travelers who have lived in Africa, Russia, Poland, Kuwait, Jordan and European countries long before English was widely spoken.

I think it's natural to be more comfortable with people in your age group but everyone has a story to tell -- you have to be interested enough to ask.

Zimdonna, I'm glad you're "over it" and I hope you have a great time on your OAT adventure.

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Jun 6th, 2007, 12:34 PM
  #18
 
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All my OAT trips were great! Thailand and Peru/Galapagos. We are booking Africa for 2008. Still can not decide on The best of Kenya and Tanzania or Safari Serengeti. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I also was told that the best animal viewing was in July Aug and Sept. Any opinions?
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Jun 6th, 2007, 03:42 PM
  #19
 
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Hi, Zimdonna--
I'm in my mid-60s but don't feel or act decrepit (I've just posted my picture on the Europe board under Gloria and Barbara's 10 Day Trip to the UK [last post/June 4--link to shutterfly toward the bottom of the thread] Take a look, if you'd like, and see if I'd freak you out age wise. My usual travel partner, Jeri, is 60. We've had the most wonderful OAT trips to Vietnam and Cambodia, to Peru, and a Gtand Circle trip to Eastern Europe. Fantastic. Wide spectrum of ages. No laggards or anybody needing special consideration. Lots of fun because of the wide range of life experiences. Most were well read, well-traveled professionals. OAT is expecially nice for group travel because the groups are capped at 16. We are booked for OAT's Ultimate Africa this September, leaving on the 12th. Have added the Cape Town Extension. A year and a half ago we went with 2 Afrika to Kenya and Tanzania. That was also fabulous. Of course, by some stroke of luck, there were just the two of us in Tanzania and only 4 of us in Kenya. We are eager to see how this trip compares. One of our friends said the Ultimate Africa trip was among the best trips she's taken, so we'll see. Carolisle: If you'd like to read a trip report for OAT's Safari Serengeti Trip, contact me at [email protected], and I'll give you the email address of a friend who took that trip a while back and who has done the most amazing report. That might help with your decision.
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Jun 6th, 2007, 08:22 PM
  #20
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Thanks Barbara (I'm assuming you're not Gloria?). I did check out your pics and no, you wouldn't freak me out. I am absolutely assured that this trip will be wonderful. Please, please, please post a trip report when you return. Can't wait to hear all about it especially since I'll be leaving the first part of October.
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