OATS or Friendly Planet

Jun 9th, 2008, 10:54 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2008
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OATS or Friendly Planet

I am a 58 year old woman from Colorado and am planning a trip to Thailand or Viet Nam and have never traveled to Asia nor have I gone on a tour. I need help deciding between Overseas Adventure Travel Company (OATS) vs. Friendly Planet. Or are there other ideas? I am looking for a trip where I won't be the only singleton. Also, should I go to Thailand or Viet Nam for this first trip? I need help. Thanks, Fay
Fayv is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 11:31 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,291
I did a Thailand trip with OAT and swore I would never use them again. If you really want a tour you could also look at Intrepid, Adventures Abroad, Imaginative Traveler... However, Thailand and Vietnam are two of the easiest countries for doing on your own, see the many trip reports on this site. We'll be happy to help with the planning if you chose to go solo.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jun 10th, 2008, 12:39 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 135
I'm taking the OAT trip to Thailand, with the Cambodia pretrip in November. There is also a post-trip to Vietnam. I chose this trip because it came highly recommended by several people I've met on other trips. I am a big fan of OAT, and while no company is perfect, I have high praise for OAT. I've always had interesting itineraries and the best guides ever. I also love the small groups. Being a single traveler with a small group is no problem, because everyone gets to know everyone else very quickly.
PIPERPAT is offline  
Jun 10th, 2008, 06:32 PM
  #4  
pat
 
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If you go with OAT, check and make sure you aren`t the only single. You can even change your dates without penalty to try to get into a group with some singles. I went with 6 couples and myself, and I was often not comfortable. I had no one to pal around with and ended up doing stuff on my own. I haven`t been with Friendly planet, but have been with Smart tours, a very similar company. While the groups are larger, you have a better chance of other singles being on the trip.
pat is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 06:50 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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We also love OAT. We have never had a problem with them, and most of the other people that we meet on their tours are also great fans of OAT. There have always been singles on our tours. OAT gives excellent value for your hard earned money and has fantastic tour directors.
sandys is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 07:07 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Do you WANT to go on a tour, or do you feel you must?

I ask because Thailand is very easy to do on your own. Many of us here have traveled as lone women in many different countries. No need for traveling in a busload of tourists and stopping at pre-arranged stops, staying hotels that are not to your liking or eating bland food. If you are interested in traveling independently to Thailand, there are lots of us here who can help you.

I'd recommend Thailand over VN for a first trip.

What are you interested in? What do you want to do/see/experience?
Kathie is online now  
Jun 20th, 2008, 06:55 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 886
Hi Fay,

Am not able to advice you on one or the other since I have never traveled with a group.

I will be 68 by the time I embark on my solo Asian adventure, but I know who I am in terms of a traveler. Not to take away from the advice you have already received, but you really have to evaluate your own personality whether a group is for you or not.

If you are an independent kind of a woman, a bit of a risk taker and want to know what is around the coner, you go on your own. If these character traits are perhaps not quite developed as yet, then by all means take a tour. Next time you may feel more confident in embarking on your own.

Whatever you decide make sure you have a good time.
Nywoman is offline  
Jun 21st, 2008, 02:59 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 72
I too am a big fan of OAT and I also know that all companies have occasional problems. So far OAT has not disappointed us - I like the small groups and swear I'll never get on a bus with 50 again. On each of the tours we've taken with OAT in the past 9 months (Russia, Thailand and Egypt), we had singles on board and they were always part of our group. I am in my 60s and would never consider traveling to a third world country on my own. You get to see so much more - just look at an OAT itin for Thailand and read some of their reviews from recent travelers. We are going to India with OAT in November and Africa and South America in early 2009.

Take one trip and you too might get hooked!!!

But by all means go and have a wonderful time.

If you book with OAT, you can save $200 by using my name (or any friend who's traveled with OAT or Grand Circle) for a referral or if you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to contact me direct. I'm not on this website too often and would be more than happy to answer questions.

Katherine

Email: [email protected]


Egypt2008 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2008, 11:20 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 52
We just booked a trip with Vantage to Vietnam and Cambodia. We went with them to India last year and were very pleased. Their groups will be larger than the OAT groups - up to 28 people, which is the only drawback. The hotels are nice and I liked the itinerary.
We liked the OAT Vietnam trip with the Angkor Wat extension, but we were too leary about using them. They offer very frequent departures, but move around the dates of your reservation pretty freely, which is not good if your dates are not flexible. Also, if the Angkor Wat extension did not have enough participation, they could cancel that part and you could not cancel the main trip without penalties if that occured.
We also looked pretty seriously at General Tours, which has lots of great itineraries in a variety of price ranges.
giblum is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2008, 07:43 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,515
We did our first trip with OAT to Thailand and loved it. It's small group, and you see more than on your own because you waste less time wandering, etc. Our group was well educated, well traveled, friendly and fun. I'm not the solo type, so a group is fun because you can socialize. We rode of many types of transportation that I can't imagine doing on your own. We also went into schools and had an wonderful hour with a monk at a university that was outstanding. We ate in people's homes,and our guide was fantastic. Much better than many private guides we have hired in other countries while traveling on our own. It was well organized and I can't imagine doing all of what we did on our own. We got to know the people, walk their rice firends, etc. Great time.
southeastern is offline  
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