Go Ahead Tours

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Understand What You Are Buying
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Rating: 4/51
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS -- Please understand that Go Ahead tours is a small portion of EF Student Tours and the business/tour model they use is that for HS student educational travel. The hotels are upgraded from 2-3 star for students to 4 star for adults--but they are still located way outside of towns and transportation into the major cities is your cost. The optional excursions offered are those that Traffalger or Overseas Adventure builds into their initial packages and airfare, transfers, etc. are just as comparable to booking it yourself. They do everything on tour to minimize their cost, such as going to a ton of free churches v. other sites that cost a euro or two to get into and museums like the Prado are always scheduled for entry during the reduced senior hours at noon. Meals are always breakfast and there is no difference between the student tours and the adult tours. In fact, if you want anything extra or different--it is your cost. These are BUDGET tours and expect to herded and prodded around like students--that is what their tour guide expertise know how to do--they are used to barking out directives and have fixed timetables for every day and event that are resistant to any change--even if the entire group wishes to change one of the local guided visit spots to an attraction that may cost a euro apiece to enter. If you don't want to think and research your destination before you go--this is the group for you--they prefer it that way. But remember it is a bargain basement operation that works on volume so the tour group size can go to 45. Also, there are minimums that are not stated for the optional day trips or they will cancel them. These are basically pure profit on a tour for the company and there are high pressure sales techniques for days by the tour directors to sell these to the group. The tour directors are issued quotas for these optionals that are reported back to the regional sales offices and then to Mass corporate. Be prepared for sales pitches. If you can deal with the above items and don't want to think like an adult but follow around like an adolescent--then this is the tour for you. I have chaperoned groups for EF and have traveled with GO Ahead to run this analysis.

Personally, I would use them for a quick cursory look at a city or country--then later visit the country on my own once I had a feel for metro service, bus & hotels available, and researched the sights that I would want to see from lonely planet or fodors as well as recommendations from locals you talk with in the watering holes you visit at night while on the cursory visit. Figure to spent at least 1500-2000 above the cost of the tour for the hidden expenses and the cost of eating out, ancillary costs, etc. Even the truck stops the bus stops at for bathroom stops cost a half a euro to get into and that is not paid by the company. They are a quick, bargain basement tour agency.
     
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Beware of Hidden Fees from Go Ahead Tours
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WOBURN, MASSACHUSETTS -- Go Ahead Tours is full of hidden fees. Their customer service people are very nice when you are booking the tour, but once they have your money--Look out!!! My husband and I booked a tour to London/Paris/Rome to celebrate our 25th anniversary. The trip was booked and paid one year in advance of the travel date for a total of $6100.00. One month before we were scheduled to depart, we received a bill from Go Ahead for airline fuel surcharges. This cost us another $400. You can expect to pay extra for just about everything on their tours--for example, to visit the Vatican in Rome, it costs extra. Go Ahead calls these "Excursions". At the time of booking, they will attempt to sell travel insurance, a regular level plan and a gold level plan. Which we were foolish to purchase. One of our bags was lost by the airlines. Although they say the insurance covers baggage loss, we were told to resolve this issue with the insurance company upon returning to the US. The insurance company told us to first work through the airlines and that the insurance company would subsequently "consider" any claim that was not compensated by the airline. Go Ahead was of no help at all; they simply told us this was a matter for us to handle through the airlines and the insurance company. Go Ahead schedules very bad flight itineraries. We flew from Houston to Atlanta to London. Due to airline mechanical problems, the Houston flight was delayed and we had to reschedule the connections in Atlanta. This cost us $480. Go Ahead assumes no liability and we paid this money out of our own pockets. They will tell you that tips are included in your tour price, but don't believe it. You will be expected to tip bus drivers, hotel staff, restaurant staff for group meals (including the meals provided in the tour), auxiliary tour guides, and your Go Ahead tour guide expects a substantial tip at the conclusion of the tour. Read the fine print very well before you book with Go Ahead, and God forbid if you have to cancel--don't expect any refund even if you have paid for the trip cancellation insurance--it's full of loop holes.
     
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raven2010 on 2010-09-12:
You booked a full year in advance. Did you not read your contract? Excursions, fuel charges, etc are almost always extra and are quite clearly spelled out in your contract.

isabel strasser on 2013-10-31:
I have taken ten Go Ahead Tours and it always states that you have to tip the tour guide, driver and local guide. there is no place that says tips are included. also I have never left a tip when there was a group meal no do I remember any one on any of my tours doing such
Eric on 2014-02-27:
There are no hidden fees. I'll be going on my first GoAhead tour and I am aware of the possible fuel surcharges, the tips needed for the trip. Things like lost luggage, airline delays are not the fault of GoAhead. Also, excursions are well documented and fairly priced. You can either go on them or not. Lesson learned: read your contract.
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Travel arrangements poor
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CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS -- Go Ahead staff have been unresponsive to our needs for a family group tour of Landscapes of Britain and Ireland. We requested that arrangements be made for an 83 year old woman to be accompanied by a family member from Edinburgh, Scotland to London, England. Go Ahead has adamantly refused to do this and has separated her from the rest of the family for this leg. Additionally, Go Ahead has refused to arrange for a direct flight from London, England to Orlando, Florida for her. Instead they have arranged this leg so she passes through Washington, D.C., Dulles by herself, with a lay over, arriving in Orlando at midnight when transportation to her home will be very difficult. A direct flight on British Airways is available and would get her to Orlando by 3:20 PM. Go Ahead has a contract with British Airways, but refuses to even try to make suitable arrangements.

Go Ahead staff in Cambridge, Mass. have not be helpful.
     
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Hugh_Jorgen on 2007-08-16:
Not sure what your complaint is - for enough money they should be willing to book any flights you want. If you are expecting package tour prices and premium air service on BA, it's not going to happen - with these guys or anyone else. If you are willing to pay the upgrade and they still won't work with you, it's time to find another tour operator. Good luck! (Now after reading the complaint right next to yours about BA as well as the numerous other "BA lost my luggage" complaints on here you might not be so eager to fly BA direct.)
jktshff1 on 2007-08-16:
what hugh said
Timboss on 2007-08-17:
If you haven't paid anything yet try another agency.
Raven2Max on 2007-10-13:
This is not the fisrt time I have heard such comments. Go Ahead and EF tours are a cheap, no frills operation out of Massachusetts that give just the basics, if that.

If you are expecting an apology, forget that too. I traveled with them once and that was the last time. Good luck. Hope it doesn't sour you on traveling. Not all tour comopanies are like Go Ahead. Thank goodness.
drpoundsign on 2010-10-05:
I just took them for spain portugal and morocoo. Wayyy too much time in Morocco and we all got "Mohammed's revenge (GI problems)" the Medina of Fez is FILTHY! There are included dinners at the Hotels. They are not so great. Breakfasts verry uneven. As a 50 year old single guy I felt VERY out of place despite their assurances there would be singles travelling. Fernando the guide worked hard but didn't give us much Spanish history and was apologist for Franco. (he helped tourism. Another dicator got the trains on time and we know who built the Autobahns..nice guys!) There was waayyy too much travel time on the buses. My advice... get a Eurail pass and take city tours of European capitals. If you go to Spain spend time in Barcelona and Touramolinos. The former was offered as an extension- I didn't go. The latter not on the tour.

The hotels? Feh The Gaudi in Madrid well located but maybe Herv Villechaise would be comfortable on their toilets. AT six foot tall I WASN'T. Gibraltar was on the tour but most of us didn't have enough time to go up to the top.
MWalters on 2014-05-29:
Maybe Go Ahead refused to book a direct flight from London, England to Orlando,
because there are NONE!!
BD on 2014-06-18:
We just returned from a group tour of Portugal. Go Ahead booked our entire trip with United Airlines - an airline nightmare! In spite of being aware of MAJOR runway repair in Newark, which was announced in March, Go Ahead booked our return trip to Newark. United staff informed us our connecting flight to SAV was cancelled early the morning of our return, because of runway repair. They refused to provide lodging for us "because the control tower was to blame" and could only offer a replacement booking 36 hours later! I called Go Ahead and requested a customer service contact number for United, since Delta staff tried for 40 minutes to contact United at both Newark and Laguardia. Go Ahead staff membersaid their team could put their heads together the next day at 9:00 a.m. but could not provide contact info. Go Ahead rep said the weekend number was for emotional support only. No helpful advice was given.

Once groups were separated into two, two of our group members had travel insurance, but we were forced to solve the problem on our own.

Go Ahead was certainly aware of runway repair at Newark, which was announced on March 30, 2014, yet Go Ahead booked our flight into Newark instead of Laguardia anyway. This is a blatant example of taking the easy road, instead of thoughtful planning. I called ago Ahead 4 times for assistance and was left on hold for more than 20 minutes each time. I agree that once fees are paid, the support is just not there. I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND USING THIS COMPANY AGAIN. VERY DISAPPOINTED.

Our shuttle of 6 additional people from Newark to Laguardia included others stranded by United. Our shuttle to the Marriott (compliments of Delta) also had multiple folks stranded by United.
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