Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T. Tours)
Travel Style: Culturally immersive and local experiences. Walking between 3-6 miles a day.
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Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T. Tours) Reviews & Ratings
My favorite OAT adventure
I went to this adventure with my sister-in-law and we had the absolute best time! Our guide were all amazing and our trip leader Martin was exceptional! My sister-i-.
We visited Panama on this trip with OAT
We visited Panama on this trip with OAT including walking through El Chorrillo neighborhood and listening to the stories of the survivors of the US invasion. We woul.
India was on my bucket list.
India was on my bucket list. I have travelled with OAT many times and knew if any company could show it to me properly it was them. The trip surpassed any expectatio.
This trip has been one of the best with OAT so far
This trip has been one of the best with OAT so far. The sightseeing, food, and most of the accommodations were very good. Our tour guide, Anuja Skaria, was absolutel.
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip led by a fantastic leader – Pum from Thailand. He was an excellent mentor for all of the local guides and allowed them to lead in thei.
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Editoral Review of Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T. Tours)
Founded in 1978, Overseas Adventure Travel specializes in small group and small ship adventure tours. Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) is now part of the Boston-based Grand Circle Corporation, which also includes Grand Circle Travel and Grand Circle Cruise Line.
Founded in 1978
Very welcome to solo travelers – Free or low single supplement
Average Tour Price – $4,538
Average Tour Duration – 15 Days
Small Groups – between 10 and 16 travelers, max of 24 on small ship cruises
Travel Style – Culturally immersive and local experiences. Walking between 3-6 miles a day
Age Range – Primarily 50+
What Makes Overseas Adventure Travel Stand Out?
Overseas Adventure Travel is solo traveler friendly. They offer free or low single supplements. OAT understands that solo travelers desire to follow their own schedule, desires and needs. They help handle all the details to make sure your trip is affordable, easy and enjoyable.
A major focus of OAT is cultural immersion. Travelers can expect to visit local schools, churches, and homes (where you might be treated to a home-cooked meal). Experienced guides — all fluent in English — lead groups off the beaten path when possible.
OAT strives to give back to the world they send travelers around. A portion of all proceeds goes to the Grand Circle Foundation, which supports cultural and educational programs in the countries visited.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Overseas Adventure Travel?
- Ages 50+
OAT specializes in small group tours around the world serving Americans aged 50 and older. They appeal to the old fashioned – the fact that they still offer a physical catalogue is testament – and their travel style reflects an appreciation of the classics coupled with an adventurous spirit to explore each destination deeper and from a local perspective.
Overall, prices fall into the moderate range, and are especially a bargain for solo travelers, who can save substantially by not having to pay for single supplements. Accommodations are designed to be both comfortable as well as unique and in keeping with the local spirit of the destination. If your hostelling days are over but you feel too adventurous for a standard hotel, OAT will be a great company to travel with.
OAT travelers are those with a passion for culture. They don’t just want to see a destination, they want to experience it. For these travelers, spending a day in a Maasai village in Kenya, eating dinner with a local family in Chile’s oasis town and interacting with local musicians at the bustling Libertad Plaza in San Salvador, Belize is a welcomed adventure.
OAT operates tours all over the world, specializing in remote, off the beaten path destinations. African safaris are an especially popular offering, though you can also travel to Japan, India, Peru, Iceland, Vietnam, Albania, or Morocco, to name just a few of its far-flung destinations. OAT also runs small-ship cruises through the Galapagos, on the Amazon, and along the Turkish coast.
OAT Travel Style
With Overseas Adventure Travel you’ll find a combination of transportation and accommodation styles, but all with an element of comfort. Groups are small, with a max of 16 (24 on small ship cruises).
Accommodations vary, but generally favor being local and non-traditional over a basic centrally located hotel. Their exact words are “emphasis on authenticity, rather than amenities”.
Their style is all about unique and meaningful cultural interaction. While you’ll learn the history and see the famous sights, their true focus is about people and connections. This means you’ll enjoy meals with local families, like you’re just a friend over for dinner; visit schools and see the amazing work being done in small communities. The visceral understanding and perspective that comes from learning to cook traditional meals and make traditional crafts is what you’ll find on an OAT tour.
Why Choose a Tour with OAT?
OAT offers a unique up close and personal experience, guaranteeing that its groups will never exceed more than 10-16 travelers. A spirit of spontaneity is part of what makes traveling with OAT special, as they strive to take advantage of every interesting opportunity during a trip.
Traveling with Overseas Adventure Travel allows for an in depth cultural travel experience in comfort. Many opportunities exist for travelers to find deals, and it’s a great way to meet new friends in a similar age range.
If you traveled extensively in your youth and are not ready to slow down, but perhaps are looking for a few more logistical ducks to be taken care of for you, OAT could be the perfect fit. They offer a variety of options for more independent minded travelers, as well as ample free time to explore and plan your own adventure during cruise port stops and on their group tours.
Alternatively, if this is your first travel experience, OAT will be a great starting point. You’ll gain cultural insights, meet locals, as well as hit on all the best tourist sites that provide cultural and historical context to your destination.
Overseas Adventure Travel Covid Safety Precautions
Through December 31st 2020, Overseas Adventure Travel is offering Risk Free booking. You can transfer your departure with all change fees waived.
Some countries are beginning to reopen to international visitors with entry restrictions while others have remained closed. Stay up to date and see a full list of which countries are open »
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COVID-19 Travel Safety
COVID-19 is still affecting travel around the world but more countries continue to reopen and adjust travel restrictions and requirements. We recommend reviewing the following Travel restrictions & safety measures by country resource before planning or booking your trip to ensure you understand risks and logistics.
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About the company
Overseas Adventure Travel offers unique small group adventures worldwide to Americans over 50. By land and sea, we explore on—and off—the beaten path with a resident OAT Trip Leader, immersing ourselves in local cultures, sampling unique modes of transportation, and staying in authentic lodgings that reflect the essence of your destination. Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises serves both our GCT and OAT brands with an award-winning fleet known for exceptional value and high-quality experiences in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. Custom-designed according to our travelers’ specifications, our fleet includes 50+ small river and ocean-going ships that we own or privately charter.
Grand Circle Corporation is a global enterprise—comprised of a family of travel companies—committed to changing people’s lives by offering high-impact experiences to our travelers and building local communities through philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, and volunteerism.
Simply by traveling with OAT, you support the work of the nonprofit Grand Circle Foundation, which was created with the mission of changing people’s lives through travel—both those of our travelers, and of the people who welcome us so warmly into their homelands.
Journey with the Leader in Adventure Travel and Watch Your Dreams Take Flight: It is the stuff of dreams: gazelles bowing to lap at a glassy pool in the Serengeti as the vast sky turns purple with night, the tiered splendor of the Himalayas, rising behind a Tibetan monastery. Dreams like these are everyday realities for OAT travelers, thanks to the principles which ground every OAT adventure: value, choice, discovery, and carefully paced itineraries.
Our Value puts your travel dreams within reach: OAT can help you realize your travel dreams for a lot less than you thought possible. Together with our regional offices located throughout the world, we’ve been able to establish long-term relationships with many local vendors and hotels. Buying direct brings down our costs—and allows us to pass the savings on to you. And negotiating directly for hotel space also allows us to secure as many single room allotments as possible for our solo travelers. That way, we can also extend our great value to solo travelers. In fact, we offer the best value for solo travelers, guaranteed.
The Choice is yours: You’ll always have plenty of choices with OAT. We offer you a breadth of awe-inspiring travel destinations—from the peaks of the Andes to the sweeping desert sands of the Sahara to the rugged natural beauty of Iceland. You’ll also enjoy more trip extension choices than ever before—like hiking to ancient monasteries in Bhutan or discovering the Moai monolithic rock statues on Easter Island. You have plenty of choices within each adventure, too, including several interesting optional tours. And the free time we’ve woven into our itineraries allows you plenty of opportunities for independent exploration. You can shop, unwind, perhaps linger at a sidewalk café, visit an interesting gallery or museum, or explore a cobbled street that caught your eye earlier in the day. You can do as much or as little as you want on an OAT adventure—the choice is yours.
Adventure Travel: Adventure travel with OAT is a journey beyond the familiar, one that takes you into the very heart of a destination—to meet people where they work and live.
OAT Advantages: Journey with the leader in adventure travel and watch your dreams take flight, thanks to the principles which ground every OAT adventure: value, choice, discovery, and carefully paced itineraries.
Small Groups, Big Discoveries: When you discover the world in an OAT small group, you’ll journey off the beaten path to the places the big tour groups miss—and enjoy an intimate, discovery-filled adventure filled with personal connections, shared experiences, and treasured memories.
Trip Leaders: No matter where in the world you venture with OAT, you’ll have one of our resident, expert Trip Leaders by your side. All are fluent in English and possess the skills, certification, and experience necessary to ensure an enriching adventure.
Airport Transfers: We’ve listened to your feedback, and will now offer international airport transfers to and from your hotel to our travelers who choose to purchase their own airfare on OAT adventures as part of our Personalize Your Trip program, which allows you create the OAT adventure that’s right for you.
Personalize your trip: OAT travelers have long expressed the desire to decide exactly where they’re going, how they get there, and when they wish to leave. That’s why we developed a variety of choices that enhance the value of every trip we offer, allowing you to create the adventure that works best for you.
Traveling solo? Enjoy your own room or cabin—at no extra cost: You’re in control of your travel dreams—and we’re making them more affordable than ever: Maybe you prefer the freedom of solo travel—or maybe you and your usual traveling companion can’t agree on a destination. Whatever the reason, you don’t have to put your travel dreams on hold. When it’s time to go it alone, you’ll never pay a Single Supplement to have your own room or cabin with OAT.
Overseas Adventure Travel
reviews & complaints
I had booked and paid in full three attempts for a Kenya and Tanzania Safari. OAT cancelled all three. I was added on to a fourth booking two months before departure. However, I lost the reasonable airfare paid for in November 2021. Now I had to pay another $5,000 for the new airfare, increased cost of insurance and an extra hotel room after my group left. I was told in June that I would get a $1,000 refund in 2-3 weeks. That never happened. I have called OAT several times and was told that there would be no refund. OAT is the reason that I had to pay more, not me.
I am a 14 time traveler with GCT/OAT and will not travel with them again. I am on hold right now for 30 minutes waiting to tell an agent to take me off the mailing list! I get daily emails from them. I am done with OAT
Desired outcome: I expect a partial refund and a response.
Overseas Adventure Travel – Refund for canceled trip
On June 9, OAT (Overseas Adventure Travel) canceled my paid June 12 trip to Mongolia/South Korea. They asked if I wanted to reschedule, and I declined.
On July 1, OAT emailed me and canceled a post-trip for my scheduled October 1 trip to the Baltic. I phoned and told them that I would still take the trip and that they could take some of the $7,340 that I paid for the canceled Mongolia/South Korea trip and refund the rest to me. I stated that I asked for this refund on June 9 when they called to cancel the trip. I was told by the travel consultant that they were processing the refund but it takes 2 weeks. It was more than 2 weeks so the consultant said he would resubmit the refund request. I phoned on 7/21 and was told that a $2,719 refund request was sent to process on 7/14 and it could take a month. Since the money I owed on the Baltic Trip was $2, 916, where was the rest of my $7,340? My math makes $7,340 less $2,916 is $4,424. He said he would take care of it. Yesterday I received a late notice for payment of my Oct. 1 Baltic Trip. It states I owe $2,416. I phoned today and spoke to Jeffrey who told me that the bill was sent by a separate department and that my refund will now take 45 days. HELP.
Desired outcome: A refund check for $4,934. That is $7,340 (paid to OAT on 4/12/22) minus $2,416 (due for Oct.1 trip per invoice #07 4/24/22) for a total refund of $4,4934.
Overseas Adventure Travel – Immediate return of our money.
Unfortunately, this issue continues from BBB-Boston claim #[protected] which I thought was to be resolved. Concerns a trip to Turkey that Overseas Adventure Travel scheduled for April, 2022. OAT canceled the trip. We had paid in advance the amount of $8009.00. After we filed with BBB OAT said they would refund our money however they said it was given as a voucher and would take 30 days to send to us. That was in early April. When I emailed them last week they said it would an additional 45 business days. I have trust issues now with them. I fear that they are not going to return our money.
Overseas Adventure Travel – Trying to contact OAT via phone calls
We have to cancel our trip to Australia and have been trying unsuccessfully to contact OAT via phone calls. We have been trying for over 1 week with no results. always on a wait list, “we will call you back within 24 hours” message after waiting for over 3 hours. and no call back.
Overseas Adventure Travel – Impossible to reach by phone or any other way
We had one great trip to Columbia 2 years ago, then booked a trip to the Baltics & Russia scheduled for 2020, then it was canceled rolled over to 2021 due to COVID, then it was canceled rolled over a 2nd time to 2022 due to COVID, then it was canceled a 3rd time for 2022 due to the invasion of Ukraine. Calling to get a refund or credits is impossible. For four days in a row times we were on the phone for 3 hours and never got through. When we finally got through, the customer service person was not well informed. We were offered a partial refund with the rest as credits, but when we saw the refund in our online account it was short by $600. We called to ask about it but waited on hold for 5 hours – and never got through. We were also told we’d get a call back with a day/time specified, never got the call. We sent emails to their customer support email address, never got a reply.
We have been trying on a daily basis (when the Boston office is open) to clarify our airfare, adjusted airfare (post-trip was cancelled by OAT but WE must pay for the rebooking?), and errors on our flights to Italy. We leave in less than two weeks. This is our 19th trip, and we had always been satisfied with the Boston office’s responses. After 3 hours and 15 minutes on hold, our calls are disconnected with a promise to return our call in 24 hours. Guess the company is short-staffed and filled with newbies who won’t understand customer service.
Overseas Adventure Travel – Refund for cancelled trip Reservation No 3961333
The trip was cancelled September 30, 2021. I have been sending more than 50 (FIFTY) emails because they failed to fully refund me. They issued a check for me which I never received and asked them to immediately cancel it. This is easily done by accountants. Again weeks passed and I was patient because apparently they are afraid I could cash their check. I had enough patience though.
I asked to refund me on the credit card originally used as they did with the biggest part of the money. Nothing happens. They only reply withe usual THANK YOU FOR CONTACTING OAT and IT WILL TAKE A FEW DAYS.
Desired outcome: Moneynrefund
Overseas Adventure Travel – Failed to honor incentives to reschedule and added cost of airfare on a trip with free airfare
A trip to Egypt was originally scheduled for 04/20 but cancelled due to the pandemic. International airfare was included in the cost. The original reservation was #3910108 and changed to 3975236 when I rescheduled. I received a letter dated March 21, 2020 from the CEO, Harriet Lewis stating that I could get a full refund, reschedule for later 2020 or in.
Overseas Adventure Travel – Getting a refund due to Covid cancellations
My trip to Israel was canceled in 2020 in 2021 due to the Covid I was told I could rebook if I am fully vaccinated but I am not and due to medical debt conditions cannot be so I called on July 8 was on hold for two hours but finally reached somebody and talked to Rebecca and told her of my problem and stated I wanted a refund she said she would have to talk to the finance department and would get back to me within a week this did not happen so the following Monday the 19thI called and was on hold for two and a half hours and I was told but my whole time had reached it’s limit and I was being disconnected but they would call me within 24 hours and this did not happenOn July 21 I called again at 6 o’clock my time 9 AM their time and was on hold for three hours and I finally had to give up because I had an appointment I then sent an email to their [protected]@oattravel.com and still have not received anything back
Desired outcome: Full refund for trip plus insurance
Overseas Adventure Travel – Travel cost for reservation
I would like to complain on a recent reservation. We made our reservations number 395357 for myself and Friend on early February. We told the travel agent we were flexible and wanted the best deal. We booked a departure date of November 5, 2020. The travel agent never told us that a $500 airfare was being offered if you depart in Sept or October. If we knew.
Overseas Adventure Travel – simply horrible
They provide a strange kind of service. I booked from them for the first time recently and had some questions regarding my trip. Couldn’t reach them through their website forms and emails. Decided to call and was on hold for about 40 minutes without somebody picked up the phone. I just stopped calling. I understood I was just wasting my time. This is terrible what you do.
Overseas Adventure Travel – Mexico – oaxaca & merida
I booked first time through OAT for Mexico, specifically for a 1st-time tour with them because they prominently display their trips are 10-16 maximum guaranteed. –OAT opened an account in my name, which shows my booking with OAT to this day. However, the trip is led by the OAT-parent company Grand Circle. Nowhere on the Grand Circle website does it inform.
Overseas Adventure Travel – Don’t use them
This past month (November 2010), my mother treated my husband and I to a 3-week African safari. She booked the $25, 000 trip through Overseas Adventure Travel, a subsidiary of Grand Circle Travel LLC. The trip included international airfare for each of us, however, since she lives in a different U.S. state than we, OAT booked her onto a different flight than us. Since our trips were all booked and paid for at the same time as travelers on the same trip, I thought it was extremely cheap for OAT to put my 78-year-old mother on an international flight all alone. They obviously did it because the cost was less. Then to make matters worse, the layover in London for my mother’s flight from the United States was only 1 hour. Nowadays with the additional security checkpoints, it is absolutely impossible for anyone to make a connecting flight for international travel in 1 hour. So, as you would imagine, my mother did not make the connecting flight to Nairobi. The next flight out of London was 7 hours later, so my mother sat in the Heathrow Airport by herself for 7 hours, and by the time she arrived in Nairobi the next morning to begin our safari tour (which was leaving Nairobi at 9am), she was exhausted. Would you want your 78-year-old mother to begin an expensive excursion halfway across the world in a physical state like this? My husband and I were really upset about it. Upon her return to the United States, my mother called OAT to complain about their huge error in booking her outbound flights. To truly show their indifference to the magnitude of the situation and their obvious lack of professional customer service, Overseas Adventure Travel responded to my mother by telling her that there was nothing they could do for her since that was the only airline flight available at that time. You and I know that is totally bullshi_. If it were true, ALL of the U.S. travelers on our trip would have been on the same flight that she was on – but we weren’t. I’m appalled at OAT for taking this stand, especially since the majority of their tour clients are over the age of 60. Do yourself a huge favor when booking your travel plans to foreign and exotic locations: do not use Overseas Adventure Travel / Grand Circle. You’d be better off spending your hard-earned money with a tour company who is much more attentive to your travelling comfort and safety needs.
Overseas Adventure Travel
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I booked a Scotland trip for September after they told me “no issues” on other trips with COVID. Just before I left, I heard two recent horror stories from folks who said OAT didn’t enforce their COVID protocols and both got COVID and/or positives and lost part of trips within several months. I cancelled because of that and requested refund. Calls and 2 letters were futile. Finally a call that said they’d reimburse. What did I get? A voucher that must be used within 3 months this year, still during COVID and bad travel time re weather. I sent letter rejecting this, no response for another several weeks! BTW, I’m one of their “loyal travelers” with a number of past trips with them. And I’ve heard of several similar complaints about lack of COVID protocol enforcement in buses and other enclosed areas. I’ll think twice about signing up for future trips.
I have been working to book my third trip with OAT. I am scheduled to travel this spring to morocco with my partner. We had to cancel due to health problems a trip we had hoped to take this fall. They convinced us that it made more sense to have a credit than to use our insurance for cash reimbursement. In any case we went to book the trip and invited a friend who is a new client to sign on as well. She had to advocate for herself to get 10% off for early booking that is printed in their material.
When we booked, using our credit from the fall trip, nobody made mention of the opportunity for the early booking discount that my friend had just gotten. We called them back to advocate for ourselves but they told us that we wouldn’t be entitled to this. The agent that we spoke to said there was nobody we could try to talk to for a better outcome. All of the negative reviews for this company are telling About a group that doesn’t inspire loyalty and leaves the customer feeling helpless. There are so many good travel agencies out there. I am incredibly disappointed with a turn for the worse that OAT seems to have taken since I took my initial trip with them to India many years ago.
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We have not taken our trip, yet. but we are scheduled for this November. I hope it will be more positive than their credit policy. We have been signed up for a tour since pre-covid and have had to cancel and reschedule a couple of times. NOT their fault. We have finally scheduled a trip and are using our credit because they would not reimburse our money. We get it, no problem. The problem is that we are in France and OAT will not use our credit to purchase our airfare (which is cheaper from here).
Ok, we can use on another tour. not exactly as we have been informed that we have to use our approximately $6000 credit by the end of this year, 2022. So, how are we supposed to schedule another trip this year when our present trip is scheduled for this November 13th. OAT can really expect us to schedule another one in December. We will have just arrived home. Unreasonable requirement.
I have been able to resolve the problem.
I made a reservation along with two other couples to travel together on the Suez Canal crossing trip with OAT travel company. We paid for the trip in full. A few days ago I received a voice mail saying that they could not accommodate us on the tour so they were moving us to another date. They were supposed to follow up with an email and a phone contact regarding the change but that never happened. Now we have to change our airline reservations and bear the cost of that and we are no longer traveling with our friends. The email has never arrived and it is impossible to reach them by phone to try to work it out. I cannot believe any travel company would behave this way. And forget trying to call them. They never respond to emails. The worst company I have ever dealt with. I will never book a trip with them again. Terrible service.
Overseas Adventure Travel response
Please accept our apologies. Thank you for letting us know that this is now resolved.
I have tried to get in touch with a person at OAT for a month- basically since I booked my trip in the beginning of August. I was able to get ahold of one person who told me they could not help me but that a supervisor would get back in touch with me – three weeks later I’m still waiting. This is absolutely not acceptable. I have been on hold for two hours at a time. I cannot imagine if I truly had an emergency. Additionally, I e-mailed several times; I got one response but the person conveniently did not address my concerns.
Bottom line- your customer service representative evidently gave inaccurate information and the company does not stand behind the information provided. I was told by the one person who did answer my call that since my request was less than 90 days from departure, I could not get what is in your own travel Guide. NOWHERE IS THIS STATED-nor was it told to me when I decided to book the additional day (at the customer service representative’s suggestion). This is our third OAT trip and it will be our last.
My issue: As directed by the customer service representative, I contacted the hotel directly to add the extra night and to schedule the hotel transfer. At. No time was I told that I would not get the lower group rate. I specifically asked about the airport transfer and was told this would be covered. I was told however that I would have to set up my own transfer.
FROM the OAT TRAVEL BROCHURE: Arrive Early, Stay Later: Arriving early or staying late allows you to spend one, two, three – or more – days abroad in the
first destination on your pre-trip extension or main adventure, or in the last destination of your main adventure or post-trip extension. The additional time is spent at your leisure, and you can either rest up or explore. Choosing this option lets you take advantage of our lower group rates – ranging from $25-$300 per person, per night – and your price includes accommodations, daily breakfasts, and private airport transfers.
I’m am stunned at all the negative reviews as they do not match my experiences with OAT. We took the Iberian Voyage: Lisbon to Barcelona cruise that departed the US on May 9, 2022. This was the first tour post-pandemic for virtually every crew member on the ship and for all our tour guides. They were all positively thrilled to be back at work and it showed in their attitude and attentiveness. Our overall tour guide, Gabo **, was the best guide we have ever had on any of our tours. The ship experience was phenomenal. The food and the service was perfect. The land portion of the trip went according to schedule and was great fun. I would give the tour 5 stars but I downgraded to 4 stars because there were a few negatives. First, getting someone at OAT on the phone was aggravating to say the least.
Second they were slow to refund our money for a Baltic trip they cancelled during the pandemic. It’s possible they are having serious cash flow problems due to the pandemic and it may take a few months for them to get back to normal. Before the pandemic they were one of the highest rated tour companies and I’m willing to bet they will be again. And a little tip that might be helpful on any overseas tour: book you air travel through the tour company. They may not route you exactly the way you would, but if any issue comes up, the tour company handles it. We are looking forward to our next trip on OAT, Hidden Gems of the Dalmatian Coast & Greece (2023), Sept 30, 2023.
I fractured my spine 2 days before my Overseas Adventure Travel trip to Spain, France & Portugal in April of 2022. I was in the hospital when the trip departed and then in a back and neck brace, leaving me unable to travel. I have received communication that my paperwork is complete, but after repeated phone calls with long wait-times I am unable to determine why I haven’t received a refund. The entire trip plus airfare was purchased through OAT and insured, which should make a refund simple. I’m expecting a refund of around $9,000 and extremely frustrated after repeated attempts to contact the company about the delay, I do not hear back from them.
Overseas Adventure Travel response
We’re sorry about the long call hold times. We are continuing to hire and train more Traveler Services team members to address this issue. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will look into your case. Thank you!