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TDudette Mar 10th, 2015 10:56 AM

Go Ahead Tours
Hi to All, Here is the note from yet another friend who thinks Fodor's info is wonderful but doesn't get online much. She and her DH have gone on their own, with cruises, in a camper, etc., etc. They want to take a tour this time. I've sent them a 2013 post for Sicily but I am wondering if there is anything more recent about Go Ahead Tours for what my pals are seeking.

"We're looking at combining 2 tours back to back. Starting in Barcelona, through the French and Italian riviera, to Florence, Sienna, Rome. Would be about 3 weeks, seems long enough to tour with the group and still have time for ourselves. Somehow I never encountered this tour company in all my searching, so I wondered if you have."

Can anyone help with his/her experience with this company? Thanks in advance for not suggesting that they go DIY.

elberko Mar 10th, 2015 11:10 AM

They apparently are a subdivision of EF Education Tours. Isn't that a company that's gotten bad reviews here as a student tour company?

TDudette Mar 10th, 2015 11:33 AM

Thanks, elberko. Well, there were no bad reviews on the link you provided (there's a shock). I'll do a search on EF Education Tours.

TDudette Mar 10th, 2015 11:34 AM

Nothing came up on EF or plain education tours. Maybe someone will have more info.

elberko Mar 10th, 2015 11:40 AM

Ef got quite a few hits:

latedaytraveler Mar 10th, 2015 02:36 PM


Hope all is well. Nice of you to help out your friends. I would suggest a well known company like INSIGHT. Of course, there are always the standard companies like GLOBUS and TRAFALGAR (Insight is the high end version of Trafalgar.)

If cost is not an issue, they could go for TAUCK. Personally, I would avoid any tour with the words "budget" or "cost saver" in the title - sure to provide inferior hotels and meals.

Do you have any travel plans in view?

kybourbon Mar 10th, 2015 02:38 PM

>>> Well, there were no bad reviews on the link you provided (there's a shock). I'll do a search on EF Education Tours.<<<

Well there are plenty right here on Fodor's. EF is the bottom of the barrel in student tours (along with Explorica started by some former EF employees). EF has lots of complaints (including mine and I would never travel with them again) and they are based in Boston. There are some teacher that continue to use them because they are cheapest and can earn free trips easier, recruit more students (earn more cash).

Go Ahead is the adult version. Unlike regular tour companies, Go Ahead operates somewhat like the EF student tours. You have people that organize/recruit a group to take with Go Ahead although you can just book on your own too (you can't on EF, you must be part of a group). That person recruits a certain number of people and gets their trip free (I think it's 8 people for Go Ahead free trip and 6 for EF). If they get more people to go, they take cash for the extra people. I have not used them (they send me recruiting stuff all the time)and don't know anyone that has. Their itineraries look ok (most aren't too rushed) and hotels look fine (EF won't tell you their hotels), but I don't know how much they stick to what is in their brochures.

EF nickels and dimes you the entire trip, stops in out of the way places for the meals that aren't included(they get kickbacks) and take you to a lot of demos (more kickbacks). I don't know if Go Ahead does similar things.

deladeb Mar 10th, 2015 04:39 PM

I went on an EF tour and had a great time- good intro to an area and gives you confidence to go back on your own. A friend has done 12 EF tours and has not had any issues.

TDudette Mar 11th, 2015 05:40 AM

Thanks to all. I have jury duty in April so am waiting to see how much time that takes before I make any travel plans. Boston and New York City are on my radar to see more Sargent and Sorollo works, ldt. Overseas? Not sure.

deladeb, did you find the nickel and dime-ing that kybourbon described to be a problem?

TDudette Mar 11th, 2015 06:23 AM

elberko, I looked at the sites you found just using 'ef'-thank you for the helpful feedback.

deladeb Mar 11th, 2015 05:42 PM

TDudette, I did not. The shopping experience they offered via a glass blowing demo I declined and they were fine with that. I said, "with only 5 hours in Venice I can not waste a second seeing glass blowing when I've seen it dozens of times before, what time and where do I meet?"

TDudette Mar 13th, 2015 04:54 AM

Thanks deladeb, TDu

scotlib Mar 13th, 2015 05:45 AM

chiming in with another "I didn't have a bad experience with EF" - but we had the best tour director! I do think luck with tour director is why we had a decent experience. A teacher in the district continues to use EF, though as kybourbon notes she is getting her trip for free. I don't hear complaints in the rumor mill, but maybe she's done enough trips that she gives EF more than a bit of direction for how things will go? I don't know.

When looking at tours, there's also Rick Steves. I've done only one, but an absolutely terrific tour director, so if ever I were looking at doing a tour (vs enjoying planning my own as it's cheaper and I can do it) and had the funds, I look at his tour lists.

suec1 Mar 13th, 2015 05:52 AM

I've done 2 EF tours and one GoAhead - yes they are considered low end BUT in some ways, that can be OK. It probably means fewer pre-paid entrances and meals. Yes, the tour director will try to sell you "optionals" dinners or excursions BUT it also means you can chose to explore on your own at those times, which IMO, can be a good idea. The tour should get you into the main sights with minimum wait times and get you from city to city. When we traveled with them sometimes the hotels were out from the city center but we had a list of where we were staying ahead of time and could either use taxis or public transportation. We do travel on our own now (or cruise, horrors!)but for my first trips to Italy and Spain EF / GoAhead provided decent value and service for a basic overview of the countries.

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