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Travel ready approach

Our Travel-Ready Approach

Since 1965, our travelers have come first. Today, we’re evolving to better support you as we begin to travel again.

As we look ahead to traveling in the age of COVID-19, health and wellness will have a critical influence in how we will design and operate tours. Your safety and well-being has never been more important than it is today. This is our Travel-Ready Approach for you.

A comprehensive approach for your well-being

Enhanced measures for confident travel

Preparation for your journey

Our new guidelines adhere to the global safety protocols from the World Travel & Tourism Council. The Safe Travels stamp is the world’s first ever global safety and hygiene stamp for Travel & Tourism, designed specifically to address COVID-19 and similar outbreaks.

A comprehensive approach for your well-being

Putting new protocols into practice, every day

Our protocols are developed based on guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and government authorities and health providers around the world. We’re prepared to add new elements—including enhanced health and hygiene measures—to our travel safety standards.

Developing industry-leading standards with trusted partners

We’re also shaping new global safety standards with established partners including some of the largest airline, hotel, and transportation companies, global governmental agencies and health organizations, and tour operator associations.


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Activating our global support network

When you travel with us, you’re backed by the EF Global Safety Network, comprised of:

  • EF staff on the ground, 365 days a year, in over 50 countries.

  • EF crisis response teams available 24/7.

  • The EF network of industry experts, healthcare experts, and government personnel, who liaise with country embassies, local government authorities, and local health providers.

  • EF team members living in nearly all our major tour destinations who stay up-to-date on local policies and communicate our high safety standards and requirements to local suppliers.

Enhanced measures for confident travel

Strict adherence to health protocols

The only hotel, transportation, meal, and activity suppliers we’ll work with are ones that are compliant with enhanced hygiene and social distancing standards aligned with local regulations. To make sure standards are met, our team will be performing in-person spot checks regularly.

Extra sanitization of private motor coaches

Your bus will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before your group boards and regularly thereafter, with a specific focus on high-frequency touchpoints. All drivers will be trained in social distancing best practices and how to provide the safest possible environment. Hand sanitizer will always be available on our buses.

Hotels & restaurants with enhanced cleaning measures

We will only partner with hotels and restaurants that adhere to strict guidelines, such as frequent cleaning of common areas and thoroughly disinfecting guest rooms between customers. Partner restaurants will follow enhanced protocols with staff trained in local health, hygiene, and physical contact guidelines.

On-tour experiences with physical distancing in mind

Portions of your tour may be adjusted as we continuously work with our partners, local venues, and restaurants to provide the safest experience possible. Examples may include avoiding crowded locations and peak times, itinerary alterations to follow local guidance, and staggered timing for included activities.

Smaller groups for your comfort

With the EF Go Ahead Tours Right Size Advantage, we’ve carefully chosen each tour’s ideal size. Our groups are capped at a maximum of 14 to 38 travelers, allowing for extra space on the bus. Each adventure has its own Right Size, whether you’re embarking on a safari with 8–18 travelers or exploring Rome with a group of 15–38.

Please note: To allow for additional physical distancing based on local regulations, some tours may run at even smaller group sizes. We also offer private tour booking options with a minimum group size of friends and family members.

Expert Tour Directors & local staff

All local staff, including your Tour Director, will be ready to explain social distancing and hygiene guidelines in the destinations you're traveling to, and following these rules themselves. This may include the use of face masks in addition to frequent hand washing and hand sanitizer use. If you’re interested in taking public transportation during free time, your Tour Director will advise you on how to do so in the safest manner possible.

Ongoing around-the-clock support

Traveling with EF means you have a worldwide support team behind you, monitoring and sharing the most up-to-date guidance. We react quickly to unexpected circumstances, which may mean changing your itinerary at a moment’s notice when necessary—at no additional expense to you.

Detailed departure information

You will receive details about COVID-19 protocols in advance of tour, and Tour Directors will provide additional details specific to the destination upon arrival. Traveler health checks and testing may be implemented as required by local guidelines. While on tour, you will be kept updated on any relevant changes.

Preparation for your journey

Our enhanced measures are in place to support your health and well-being as we start to travel again, and we appreciate your flexibility. Please consider your responsibility to protect yourself and others.

Carry your own washable face mask, as local regulations in some destinations may require it.
Bring your own gloves and hand sanitizer. Should an unexpected situation arise, we will have extra hand sanitizer and single-use face masks available.
Closely monitor your health leading up to and while on tour. Should you feel ill during your journey, your EF team is specifically trained in how to support you.

Frequently asked questions

How does Go Ahead decide which itineraries will depart as scheduled?

At EF Go Ahead Tours, the health and safety of our travelers and staff is a top priority. EF considers guidelines released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and the U.S. Department of State, and our global 24/7 Emergency Service, Safety & Incident Response Team closely monitors each of our destinations to identify potential risks and local regulations. The most up-to-date information about impacted departures is available here.

We are reviewing each country we visit on tour to assess any border restrictions and to confirm flights are operating between the US, Canada, and that destination. We are continuously communicating with our suppliers to review and uphold our safety protocols and safe travel standards, and are working with our local staff to thoroughly understand the environment of our destinations before we travel there. It is important to us that we are providing our travelers with immersive, cultural experiences, so we are careful to assess whether points of interest are open to travelers and whether new policies and social distancing standards will inhibit a traveler’s experience. In the age of COVID-19, we are also specifically regulating reports regarding infection rates and health care accessibility and will closely monitor any changes in reported rates following a destination’s reopening before commencing travel.

What other recommendations does Go Ahead have regarding my health and safety?

EF Go Ahead Tours recommends that all travelers follow the recommendations of their own medical professionals. Experts advise people to frequently wash their hands in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds and to avoid touching their face. Be aware of high-touch surfaces, such as handrails, arm rests, and security bins at the airport, and be sure to wash hands thoroughly after coming in contact with such surfaces, or before any meal. If possible, wipe down any personal surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes before use and bring hand sanitizer for moments when water or soap may not be available.

Hand sanitizer will be available on all our buses and we recommend travelers use it upon re-entering the bus. Buses will be cleaned and sanitized regularly, with a specific focus on high-frequency touchpoints. Tour Directors will also provide a reminder of these guidelines at the start of every tour.

As always, we recommend our travelers appoint an Emergency Contact who can be reached in case of any urgent concerns during their tour. This individual should be aware they are being listed as an Emergency Contact and their name and phone number should be reported to Go Ahead prior to departure.

Finally, we also recommend our travelers speak with their doctors about any concerns they may have about traveling during this time. We are not medical professionals and will always encourage our travelers to take the advice of their own physicians.

Is there anything specific I should pack to prepare for travel during the time of COVID-19?

In addition to our standard packing list, we recommend travelers pack masks, hand sanitizer, and anti-bacterial wipes in their carry-on bags. As always, keep any prescriptions in your carry-on as well, in case of any luggage delays.

What should I expect at airports and on my flights?

Travelers should plan to arrive earlier than usual at the airport to allow additional time for potential health screening and social distancing protocols. Airlines and airports will enforce their own health and safety measures and travelers should adhere to the guidelines in place. For additional information about your flight, visit your airline’s website.

Will there be changes to the meals on tour to accommodate for health recommendations?

We are working closely with each of our suppliers to adjust our dining experience in accordance to local and expert guidelines. In some cases, we will adapt our meals to accommodate social distancing and reduce the number of shared surfaces as much as possible.

We partner with restaurants and suppliers that meet superior cleanliness standards and follow the safety protocols in place in their region. We discourage travelers from sharing food and drinks with others on tour and, again, advise travelers to thoroughly wash their hands before eating.

What procedures are in place if someone becomes sick during their tour?

Your Tour Directors and On-Tour Support Teams are trained prior to departure on how to respond to any medical concerns that come up during a tour. For most health-related questions, travelers will be advised to seek medical attention, with the assistance of their Tour Director or another local EF staff or guide. Local medical professionals will assess the severity of the condition and will advise on appropriate treatment and protocols.

Should a traveler test positive for COVID-19 during their tour experience, Go Ahead will inform other members of tour as soon as possible and will then follow local protocols to best protect their health and safety. Travelers diagnosed with COVID-19 on tour may not continue on tour. The subsequent response will vary based on the specific conditions of the situation and the policies set in place by local authorities. Go Ahead will continue to communicate necessary information to the travelers in the group until a resolution has been reached and will assist in making arrangements should travelers be required, or if they desire, to return home due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Our extensive network of offices around the world, and integration of ISO 31000: Risk Management Guidelines, help our dedicated 24/7 Emergency Service, Safety & Incident Response Team anticipate and address on-tour challenges—in a flexible and iterative way.

See our Terms & Conditions for additional details.

What if the status of my destination changes while I am traveling?

Should a destination be put under a stay-at-home order while travelers are on the road, we will either reroute the tour or bring all travelers home as soon as possible. For tours with itinerary adjustments, customers will not incur any additional fees. Customers with flights purchased through Go Ahead will not incur any flight change fees. Go Ahead also reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to make the decision to end a tour early due to COVID-19 concerns even if a destination does not have a stay-at-home order.

What if I am detained at the airport due to health checks?

Due to enhanced screening measures at airports, it is possible that travelers showing symptoms may be denied boarding and could be held at an airport for additional testing. In these instances, travelers should call our 24/7 On-Tour Support Team. While travelers must adhere to the airport guidelines in place, Go Ahead can assist in communicating with group members and supporting travelers throughout the experience.