Private & Charter Trips

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Group, Charter and Private-Custom Trips–What’s the Difference?

In order to meet your needs most effectively, it is important for you to know what kind of trip is best for your group.  The three types of group trips that O.A.R.S offers include Group Trips,
Charter Trips and
Private-Custom Trips.

Group Trips

Group trips are available to any group, large or small, wishing to travel together on any one of our existing departures.  Depending on the departure, group trips may or may not include other O.A.R.S. guests.

Group Trip Policies:
A deposit for each guest is required to confirm space on the trip departure.  The deposit is made in one payment, usually by the group leader. The amount of the deposit is dependant on the trip cost and is typically 25-30% of the trip cost. Subsequent payments (if applicable) and final payments may be made by individual participants. Final payment is due 30 - 120 days prior to departure depending on the trip. 

A group discount applies to multi-day peak season trips beginning with 11-23 people receiving 10% off, and 24 or more people receiving 15% off when jointly making reservations for the same trip. (For one-day trips a discount of 15% will be offered for groups of 18 or more) If you will be joining us early (generally before June 1) or late (generally after September 1), ask about our group packages featuring accelerated discounts on shoulder season departures. It is worth noting that there is usually a better choice of available dates in the early and later parts of the season. Spring and fall often offer even more of a wilderness experience as there are generally fewer people at these times.

Group discounts are not applicable to Grand Canyon, Yampa, Green, Middle Fork of the Salmon,
weekend Tuolumne departures and international trips.

Charter Trips

Charter Trips require that your group take over one of our existing departures and itineraries in its entirety.  Upon receipt of the deposit, this departure will be exclusively for your group.  In order for your group to take over an entire departure, it is important that you plan ahead and reserve your dates early.  Any existing reservations will limit your group’s ability to charter an entire departure. 

Charter Trip Policies:
In chartering the expedition, you must generally commit to paying for the maximum number of guests allowable on that trip (even if you plan to bring fewer than that number). Although group discounts may be available in some cases, the total cost of the trip will be based on the per person retail rate for that specific departure multiplied by the maximum number of guests (generally 12 – 24 passengers).  A non-refundable deposit for each guest is required to confirm space on your departure.  The amount of the deposit is dependant on the trip cost and is typically 25-30% of the total trip cost.  Once a departure has been chartered, the trip is exclusively yours and will not be offered to any other O.A.R.S. guests. O.A.R.S. will provide a worksheet for your group showing a tiered dollar amount per person based on your projected number of guests and your specific trip. Final payment is due 30-120 days prior to departure depending on the trip.

For more information on the minimum and maximum number of guests required/permitted on your trip of choice or for a detailed explanation of our tiered pricing structure, please call Carrie Aronson at 800-346-6277 ext. 4786.

Private/Custom Trips

Private/Custom Trips allow your group to customize each and every component of your vacation; from the dates you choose to travel, the length of your trip, the destinations and activities...to the menu, the wine list, the type of boats you’d prefer and even your choice of guides.  If you would like O.A.R.S. to assist you in organizing your own private trip, it is essential that you contact us as early.  Planning well in advance will allow O.A.R.S. adequate time to discuss your group’s needs and arrange the necessary accommodations for your trip. 

Private/Custom Trip Policies:
O.A.R.S. will provide a 30 – 45 minute consultation at no charge to help develop your expedition requirements. This is an important part of the private trip planning process.  After determining your needs and expectations for a custom adventure, we will provide you with a written cost estimate and suggested itinerary.  Pending your approval, a non-refundable development fee of $500 is due and we will provide a detailed day-to-day itinerary and a final price quote. This development fee will be applied to your final balance.

A non-refundable deposit of approximately 25-30% of the trip cost is also required to confirm all arrangements for your custom itinerary. After receipt of the development fee and trip deposit, O.A.R.S. will confirm hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, vehicle support, equipment and guides, as well as the availability of other special services.  We have now committed to these suppliers as well as to you. This involves time and expenses, some of which we may not be able to recoup in the event that you need to cancel your trip. We have therefore developed a Trip Agreement for our Private Trip requests. Final confirmation of your trip will be reached upon receipt of the signed Trip Agreement. Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended to cover you in the event you may need to cancel your trip.



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O.A.R.S. Personalized Adventure Vacations

A Departure from the Usual

Creating your own personalized adventure vacation for you and your group of friends, family or colleagues is simple and easy with the assistance of our dedicated O.A.R.S. team of adventure travel professionals and experienced operations staff.

Offering more than 40 years of experience in adventure travel, we have literally thousands of river trips under our belt and valuable insights into the trip planning process.  We hold permits with the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and various other resource management agencies around the West and abroad allowing us to conduct rafting, sea kayaking and hiking trips and multisport adventure vacations in areas that might otherwise be inaccessible to most members of the public. 

Above all, we want to ensure that the planning and organization of your private or chartered adventure travel trip is as easy and hassle free as possible. Being the group leader or organizer may seem like a daunting proposition, especially if you’re taking it on for the first time. That’s where we come in.  We understand what’s involved in coordinating a variety of group interests, logistics, schedules and ages. It can be a challenge, but combining your adventure travel dreams with our expertise can be infinitely rewarding and may just result in the trip of a lifetime!

Whether you prefer a remote wilderness camping adventure, a yacht-based adventure or a cozy lodge-to-lodge vacation, you can rely on O.A.R.S. to provide a first-class rafting, sea kayaking, hiking or multi-sport adventure.  Enjoy activity by day and your choice of accommodations by night.  Whatever your destination for adventure, let O.A.R.S. escort you in style to these extraordinary places.

Take advantage of our exceptional services we offer just for you:

  • Over 75 unique adventure travel itineraries to choose from and dozens of other “off the shelf” itineraries in our archives, ideally suited for your next private vacation.
  • Special departures reserved exclusively for private trips.
  • More than 4 decades of trip planning experience and a dedicated Private & Charter
    Trips staff at your fingertips to help design your own custom adventure.
  • Custom pricing, including special group discounts available when jointly making reservations for the same trip.

Selecting the Right Private or Charter Trip for Your Group

O.A.R.S. offers a diverse variety of unique worldwide adventure vacations, from one-day and weekend escapes to multiday expeditions across rivers, lakes, bays, oceans, islands, arctic tundra, jungles, and deserts.  We offer you outdoor travel options while on vacation that include paddle rafts, oar rafts, dories, inflatable kayaks, sea kayaks, mountain bikes, horseback riding, yachts and hiking to name a few. This large selection of trips allows people of all ages and abilities to find a vacation that suits their interests and abilities.

As a group organizer, you might want to begin by asking yourself and your group these questions:

  • What type of trip would your group prefer? Rafting? Sea kayaking? Hiking? Multi-sport?
  • What length of trip overall works for your schedule? How many days on the water?
  • Consider the makeup of your group. Are you looking for a one-of-a-kind family reunion? Maybe you’d like a fresh approach to team building, corporate retreats or employee incentives?  Or, perhaps you’re seeking a rewarding experience for a youth group, school group, club or community organization?
  • Is this an alumni or affinity group with special educational interests? (E.g. Environmental issues, Astronomy, Geology, Photography, etc.)?
  • Are fine wine & gourmet cuisine, history, wildlife, or culture just the thing for your group?
  • What activity level would be appropriate for your group? Mild, moderate, strenuous or perhaps a combination?
  • What is the age range of your group?
  • What type of scenery and what kind of climate interests you the most? (E.g. Canyons of the Desert Southwest, high-country forest, granite canyons and jagged peaks, the California Sierra or the Pacific Northwest, arctic tundra and calving glaciers, lush rainforest or tropical beaches)?
  • Does your group have any specific activities they would like to include on your vacation? (Perhaps a stop at the Ashland Shakespeare Festival in Oregon, a visit to the Utah Field House of Natural History, a special hike to a hidden waterfall or a scenic helicopter flight, or maybe you’d just like a certain number of inflatable kayaks)?
  • How does your group feel about possible rain or heat during your vacation?
  • Would your group prefer a camping or lodge-based adventure? Or, a combination of both?Maybe you’re thinking a deluxe safari-style camp or a private yacht in the Galapagos is the way to go?
  • What about lodging before and after your trip?
  • Are there specific dates during which your group wants or needs to travel?
  • What previous experience does your group have, and what class of river would provide optimal enjoyment for the whole group?

Beyond our unmatched selection of rivers, coastlines and even mountain regions, it’s all about choices...
You choose your traveling companions
You choose the adventure
You choose when you want to travel
We take care of the rest!

Let us help you create your next adventure trip of a lifetime  - today.

"I recently contracted with OARS to take myself and 12 Customers for a trip on the Cataract Canyon.   I don't know how you guys do it..but again you have exceeded my expectations, from planning, organizing and executing the trip!!!  I plan several award trips for my area a year (to Mexico, Napa, PGA Championships, sporting events) and this certainly was the easiest to plan. Carrie took care of every detail of the trip!  I would highly recommend OARS to any company planning an Awards, Team Building or Event. 

I could not have hand picked a better crew to guide and entertain myself and my customers.  Lars was absolutely outstanding as a trip leader.  Nate, Jamie and Dean are all top notch as guides and I would (and did) trust them with my life J.  I had several people on the trip that were a bit out of their element and your crew put them at ease and made sure they all had an amazing time. 

I look forward to many more adventures with OARS!   I can't thank you and
your team enough for such a wonderful experience again."

~ Kaycee E. McNeff, Kohler Co.



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Company Info

Outside Travel Awards 'Best Outfitter' Runner Up National Geographic Adventure Magazine - Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth As Featured On 50 Tours of a Lifetime - National Geographic Traveler Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservations Manager Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist 2007-2013 (River Rafting) Best of the Bay Area Winner

For consecutive years, O.A.R.S. has been named the "Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure and one of the top two outfitters in the world by Outside Magazine in its annual Active Travel Awards recognition program. In multiple years, O.A.R.S.trips have been honored as "50 Tours of a Lifetime" by National Geographic Traveler and since 2007, Condé Nast Traveler has recognized Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservation Manager and International Adventure Travel Consultant, as Condé Nast Traveler's standalone Top Travel Specialist in the River Rafting category.

Questions about trips or making reservations? Contact info@oars.com or call 800-346-6277 in the USA or Canada or 1-209-736-4677 if outside the USA or Canada.
©2014
O.A.R.S. Companies Inc.,
PO Box 67, Angels Camp, CA 95222