Is OAT reliable or not?

Apr 19th, 2006, 08:27 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 19
I'm going to add another "yeah!" vote for OAT/GCT. I'm sorry to hear that other folks haven't been as lucky as me and my folks have been with them. I've taken OAT trips to Peru and Moracco - both were excellent. When my wallet was stollen in Peru, the trip guide couldn't have been more helpful or supportive. Several of us were critical of one local guide (she focused too much on pointing out houses of the rich and not enough on the culture, antiquities and museum) on our evaluations and we each recieved follow-up phone calls asking for more information. No trip is ever perfect, but OAT took us places larger group trips couldn't and provided opportunities for local contact that would have been difficult to arrange if I'd been travelling independently. In my late 30's and 40's, I tended to be one of the younger folks on the trips, but they let me go places I was uncomfortable wandering alone.

OAT also had the best single traveller deal I've found - no single supplement if you ask to be matched with a roommate even if they don't find one for you. I understand that they now charge 50% of the single supplement if they cannot find you a roommate, but that's still a better deal than most. Of course one can still have a private room by paying the single supplement.

My folks have travelled with GCT several times (I've lost count)- mostly European river and barge tours. The groups are larger and participants wear name tags (yuck!), but my folks love the pace, variety and have been extremely pleased with their trip guides also. One year health problems required that they cancel/reschedule a GCT trip. GCT was great about it and they took their trip the following year - no penalties, no problems. BTW, "The Folks" are now in their late 70's and just today made reservations with GCT for another river cruise next June.

Nothing's perfect and travelling is always a bit of a gamble, but OAT/GCT has worked for us.

Happy trails!
traveling_artist is offline  
Apr 20th, 2006, 08:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,598
Hi Traveling Artist,

I'm happy to read that you had good experiences with OAT. I'm registered for the Morocco tour and would appreciate any information or tips.

Luisah is offline  
Apr 20th, 2006, 12:32 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 7
I have traveled twice with OAT - China & Tibet and just returned from Thailand with a pre-trip to Cambodia. Both my husband and myself love OAT and from our fellow travelers on this last trip, all have the same feelings. We plan to book Egypt for next February and would recommend to any traveler.
LindaJane is offline  
Apr 20th, 2006, 12:46 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,448
I am fascintated in reading this thread. I cam inches away from sending my parents on the Thailand trip. They backed out, saying they had too much happening.

However, I still constantly get those beautiful OAT brochures. Those brochures inspire my travels, even if I never go anywhere with them.

It seems that the great majority of people I listen to, swear that they are amazing, but that 10% who have had problems, get it really bad.
waynehazle is offline  
Apr 20th, 2006, 06:15 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 42
We have taken 6 tours with OAT: China/Tibet, Morroco, Peru/Amazon, Australia, Vietnam/Angkor Wat, and Egypt/Jordan. All of them have been very good, some excellent. We have read the bad reports about OAT on the message boards, but have neither encountered those kinds of problems ourselves nor met anyone on our trips who has. The one caveat for OAT is that they are pretty inflexible in terms of allowing variation from the planned trip ie. separate airline arrangements, extended stays other than their own extensions. So if you want to deviate, OAT is probably not for you. We have signed on for the India/Bhutan trip in the fall and are looking forward to it.
MariaL is offline  
Apr 25th, 2006, 08:10 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 19
You asked for tips/suggestions for the OAT Morocco trip. We went in March and found layers and thermal undies necessary for the cold nights in the desert and the mountains. Also, I tended to wear a longish travel skirt (over my thermal long underwear and hiking boots) much of the time and found that somehow that made me more approachable to some of the women we met, particularly in the rural areas. One of the other women on the trip brought little bottles of bubbles with her and as she blew bubbles the kids just flocked to her, followed by their mothers, which created more great opportunities for interaction.

At one of the farms we visited, one of the wives decided I was wearing a scarf I'd bought over there wrong and retied it for me the "correct" way for a woman and we became best pals - I was the only one in the group that she let take her photograph. She admired the beaded glasses keeper cord on my sunglasses, and when I gave it to her (out of sight of her husband who quickly took possession of moisturizing cream another person offered her for her children's very windburned, dried cheeks) when we left, she looked like I'd given her the world! I wished I had brought a bunch of those elastic seed-bead bracelets to give to the women we met who were so nice to us!

A word of warning for the day you visit the tannery, it will probably smell worse than you expect. Our guide quickly bought bunches of fresh mint and handed them out to us to crush and hold under our noses to counter some of the smell. Also, the smell rises, so if you climb up to the surrounding roofs for a better photo opp, or to escape the smell - the photo opp might work out, but the smell will actually be worse!

Bring lots of film or memory cards for your camera - the colors and light are fabulous. Moisturizer and sunscreen are critical - especially while in the Sahara - and a small flashlight. Sunrise over the Sahara dunes is spectacular, but those dunes are a lot higher than they look! Only a couple of the people in our group actually made it all the way to the top for sunrise.

As you can tell, I really liked Morocco and the OAT trip - hope you do too. Have a great trip.
traveling_artist is offline  
Apr 26th, 2006, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,598
Thank you, that's very helpful.
Luisah is offline  
Apr 26th, 2006, 07:52 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 97
how about the beaches in Hong Kong? Are there nice? How warm is the water? Any preferred one(s)?
tgnych is offline  
Apr 29th, 2006, 09:13 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2
My experience with OAT has been POOR, especially the handling of my complaint.

On a recent trip to "Route of the Maya",the cultural and historical aspects were heavily advertised, but were NOT DELIVERED -- our guide was more interested in telling us about recent political issues in Guatemala, and NOT about the Classic Maya culture.

COMPLAINTS and requests for some compensation to cover the "advertised but not delivered" issues were palmed off by the "quality management Department" -- more literally, "quality MIS-management".

I was quite displeased with the manner in which this was handled, particularly with the absence of any reply from "upper management", and can understand why the Better Business Bureau has revoked BBB membership.

OLDOG is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 09:58 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1
I'm thinking of taking a trip to Africa with OAT in April/07, the trip is called Ultimate Africa, has anybody been on this trip, or knows anything about it?
cappy54 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2006, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,469
I am a fan of Intrepid Travel.I took a four-week India trip with them last year,and will be using them again in the fall for a portion of my Australia trip. Their prices are great,and you get a lot for your money!
massagediva is offline  
Aug 19th, 2006, 07:17 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 474
Just in case anyone searches this thread when looking for China tours, we wanted to follow up with a post-trip comment. In the end, our relative decided to go with Grand Circle Tours to China this summer. She could not say enough positive things about the trip and about the tour company. GCT turned out to be the perfect choice. Thanks to everyone who provided advice this spring!
WinterTravel is offline  

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