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.
The original Grand Circle Travel was founded by retired high school principal Ethel Andrus in 1958, to serve members of her new association, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Grand Circle eventually grew into the Grand Circle Corporation, which in 1993 acquired Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.). O.A.T. had been founded 15 years earlier by another education professional, a teacher named Judi Wineland.
Since then, we’ve made it our mission to provide life-changing experiences around the world—primarily by connecting travelers with locals who live in the areas we explore. Our travelers are part of our family—and we’re eager for you to join us. We’re also accredited by the Better Business Bureau, so travelers can take comfort that they are choosing a trusted travel company to explore the world with. You can learn more about what drives us to share our love of travel in the film below.
Harriet Lewis: Traveler to Traveler
Hear what real travel means to Harriet—unique experiences, connecting with others, and learning about yourself.
Our Grand Circle family includes:
Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.)—The Leader in Small Groups on the Road—and Seas—Less Traveled
Overseas Adventure Travel offers unique small group adventures worldwide by land and sea to Americans over 50. We explore on—and off—the beaten path with a local O.A.T. Trip Experience Leader, immersing ourselves in local cultures, sampling unique modes of transportation, and staying in authentic lodgings that reflect the essence of your destination. On our Small Group Adventures by Small Ship, you’ll travel aboard one of our 13- to 210-passenger privately-owned or chartered ships, accessing smaller ports that most other American companies miss to discover everyday life in your chosen destination—away from the tourist crowd.
No matter what adventure you choose, you’ll be part of an intimate group of like-minded travelers—no more than 8-16 (average of 13) on Small Group Adventures by Land and 20-25 (average of 22) on Small Group Adventures by Small Ship—so you can easily slip into the flow of local life without disrupting it. And you’ll experience authentic people-to-people connections throughout your journey—perhaps you’ll find yourself reciting a lesson in a local elementary school, admiring the handiwork at a women’s weaving cooperative, or lending a hand during the local rice harvest.
Find Your Adventure
Grand Circle Cruise Line (GCCL)—The Leader in Enriching Cultural Experiences since 1958
Our award-winning cruise division operates Grand Circle Cruise Line River Cruises. With itineraries designed to maximize cultural interaction—and the lowest per-diems available in cruising—our River Cruises are the most discovery- and value-rich way to traverse Europe’s waterways. Aboard our 86- to 162-passenger privately-owned vessels, you’ll visit iconic capitals and small towns, while unpacking just once. And on land, you’ll explore in a group of no more than 47 Americans, with a local Program Director fostering unforgettable discoveries and camaraderie every step of the way. It’s unique benefits like these that have earned us the title of “Best River Cruise Line for Enrichment” from the editors of Cruise Critic and among the “World’s Best” River Cruise Lines” in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards for more than ten years.
Find Your Trip
Grand Circle Travel (GCT)—The Leader in Enriching Cultural Experiences since 1958
Grand Circle Travel makes the world accessible through trips that deliver unmatched discoveries, leisurely pacing, more travel choices, and comprehensive value. Our journeys take you beyond the major sites (although you’ll see them too, of course) and into the heart of your destination. In a group of no more than 42 Americans, you’ll break bread with local families, and go behind the scenes to see how they truly live and work. And with you every step of the way will be your local Program Director, who will make your trip come alive in a way that only an insider could. You’ll also have plenty of time to explore independently and make the discoveries that are most meaningful to you.
Find Your Adventure
Grand Circle Foundation—Giving Back to the World We Travel
Grand Circle Foundation was established in 1992 as a means to give back to the world that had already given us so much. Since its inception, our Foundation has donated or pledged more than $50 million to educational, humanitarian, and cultural organizations worldwide.