Oyster began life in 2006 with the aim of providing preparation and support that enables Oyster participants to go well beyond what they can experience through independent travel. This support allows them to take on challenging and unusual experiences that give a real taste of where they go rather than just passing through.
The key ingredients of Oyster’s support are:
- Careful screening followed by relevant briefing and training before departure. We speak to all potential participants before offering a place and offer everyone the chance to come to our office if they want to.
- Long serving destination managers with first hand experience of every project.
- Experienced and high calibre in-country staff, many of whom have worked for us for over 10 years.
- First class communications – we are contactable 24 hours a day in case of any problems and react immediately if there is an incident or if something is not right.
- Constant reviewing – Oyster is self-critical. Through regular communications and formal reviews we make constant improvements to the way we operate.
Learn more about this on our health and safety page.
Read reviews and comments from parents of past Oyster participants.
“You and your team have made it so easy to get everything done, even with all the complications with visas and our number of questions!”
Georgie, Canada participant
Oyster Worldwide is a full member of the Year Out Group, an association of leading gap year organisations that requires us to adhere to certain standards on safety and financial security. To offer you complete peace of mind when making payments to us we have opted for the most rigorous forms of financial protection.
We are protected by an ATOL (Air Tour Operator’s Licence) – a government-backed insurance scheme run by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) that guarantees a holiday or overseas trip in the event that any tour operator goes into liquidation. The ATOL requires a high standard of sound financial management as well as payment by us.
Our ATOL number is 9598. Please note that the ATOL only applies if flights have been purchased through us and not if participants arrange their own in which case you will be financially covered by our insurance with International Passenger Protection (see below).
If we have not booked your flight then your trip will be just as safe, since it will be insured through International Passenger Protection Ltd.
Read more about how your money is protected by International Passenger Protection (IPP) on our IPP page.
We support the key requirements of British Standard 8848 – whilst primarily designed for organisations leading group expeditions overseas, there are key elements that represent good practice across the industry and we have made sure that these are reflected in our practices.
You can read more about where your money goes to on our financial policy page.
We encourage our participants to involve their parents in the planning of their gap year and have put together some guidance to follow when they are discussing their plans with you.
Contact details for parents:
PARENT HELPLINE: Contact Roger on +44 (0)1892 771971
PARENT EMAIL: [email protected]
Some reviews from parents:
“I just wanted to say a huge thank you for making it all possible for Hector to have an experience of a life time in Canada. It has been a fantastic trip, he is amazed at what he has managed to pack in, that he has had the confidence to do it all, and all this would not have been possible without your company supporting with the initial trip to Whistler.”
Mrs Nelson, Yorkshire
“The crazy thing about travelling from South Africa is that due to our appalling exchange rate, a trip like this (in Romania) costs the equivalent of a year’s university fees in South African rands! But, in my mind, the value gained from such an experience is the equivalent to a year’s university fees! It is the university of life and you cannot put a price on that. Meg truly found her inner strength, confidence and peace on this adventure.”
Mrs Kirsten, Cape Town, South Africa
“You have a very impressive company. Julia is having the most wonderful time in Whistler – loves her job, loves Whistler and loves all the wonderful people she has made close friendships with. It is very reassuring for us to have someone to ring should we need to.”
Mr Bergin, Victoria, Australia
“Whilst in Nepal, Anna was so pleased to have contact with Basant (the Oyster Representative) and his wife who were so kind and hospitable”
Mrs Newey, Stratford Upon Avon
“Our son Ned, who went on a placement to Nepal last year, had a splendid time and as parents our impression of your whole organisation has been very good indeed. Right from the aptitude testing interview to the Pre Departure Course to the feedback questionnaire everything was extremely well organised, and the whole placement excellent value for money – although that was not really our problem as Ned paid for himself”
Dr Yoxall, Taunton
“A very capable, independent, organised young adult daughter returned home from Chile in August. We would just like to take this opportunity of thanking you for making Susie’s visit possible. It was a huge success.”
Mrs Power, Yorkshire