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Travel stories

How going guided helped one traveler navigate the unexpected

Sep 21, 2020 by Jamie Gallerani

When traveler Anna’s first Go Ahead trip to Italy was impacted by the beginning of the coronavirus, our experts stepped in—and made sure she and her husband still came away with lifetime memories! Here’s what she loved about her tour of Venice, Florence & Rome, and why she says her next trip will be with us.


Knowing they were in good hands

“The day we got to Venice was the day the first cases of coronavirus were officially announced in the city. Our Tour Director Leonor assured us that EF Go Ahead Tours was monitoring the situation and keeping in contact with her about our safety, which was very reassuring. Go Ahead made a stressful situation in a foreign country tolerable and got us home safely. Our trip was still fun and we still got to do most things we’d planned! My takeaway is to buy trip insurance, always. Our travel coverage would have helped had our flight been canceled or our trip been postponed.”

Read more about our global team and Go Ahead difference.


Having everything taken care of (including flights)

“Our guides helped us navigate language barriers, airports, cultural dos and don’ts, changes in our schedule, and overwhelming menu options! Our biggest concern was booking flights and hotels, and it was a huge weight off our shoulders that Go Ahead took care of this for us. We were able to sit back and daydream about our upcoming trip without feeling stressed.”

Learn more about the benefits of booking flights with us.


Enjoying low, interest-free monthly payments

“If someone was thinking about going on their first guided trip with Go Ahead Tours, I would say do it! I would advise to plan ahead so you can set up an AutoPay payment plan; that made affording this trip much more manageable for us. I would also say just have fun! Make friends with your traveling group, don’t stress the small stuff, and be open to new adventures and changes in plans.”

Learn more about interest-free payments and $99 down with AutoPay*.


Discovering magic in Florence

“Each city we visited had its own charm but Florence was my favorite. The city has so much character and so many fun markets and shops. You could spend days in Florence just walking around exploring (or shopping if you’re like me!). I remember walking back to our hotel room on our last evening in Florence and it started sleeting (so random). We were trying to hurry and get back before we got soaking wet but then the bells starting chiming at Giotto’s Campanile. It sounds silly but it felt almost magical standing there in the sleet, staring at the gorgeous cathedral, and thinking, ‘This is the moment I’ll remember from this trip forever.’ We had planned and dreamed about this trip and standing there in that moment was amazing.”


Getting up-close to culture in San Gimignano

“Our favorite adventure was pretty spontaneous. We didn’t originally plan to add the San Gimignano: Medieval Sights & Tuscan Flavors excursion but decided to after our Tour Director gave us more detail about it. It was absolutely our favorite day of the entire trip! This excursion made us feel like we got a glimpse inside real Italian culture and history. I remember just standing in awe of the hand-painted frescoes in the chapel at the top of the hill and feeling like we had discovered a hidden treasure.”


Finding a favorite dish... and another... and another...

“My husband and I still talk about our favorite foods from our trip to Venice, Florence & Rome and have even tried to replicate some at home. Our three favorites were the pizzas at Il Tunnel in Rome down the street from our hotel, the homemade lasagna with truffle oil from our wine tasting in Tuscany, and the third was a tie between the chocolate gelato in Venice and the caramel gelato in San Gimignano.”


Being wowed by beautiful churches

“My advice is to walk in every church you can. The churches in Italy have so much history and are all so unique. They’re like hidden gems sprinkled throughout each city! You never know which will be covered in hand-painted frescos, or have marbled floors, or mosaic tiles, or beautiful alters.”


Coming home with broadened perspectives

“Traveling helps me to have perspective that everyone and everything isn’t like where I’m from. People are unique and so are the places they live. My house is full of art I have collected from my travels as a reminder that there’s more to the world than my tiny corner of North Carolina. Not everyone has the same privilege and lifestyle that I do and I carry that with me.”


Seeing it all in person

“One of the main reasons I love traveling is because I get the opportunity to explore and be immersed in other cultures. There’s something so exciting about not knowing what is around the next corner, and being able to see sights that you’ve only heard about on TV or in books. We have our eye on a few trips right now and it’s fun to just daydream about where you’ll travel next.”

Planning a future trip? Learn about the safety measures we’re implementing in our Travel-Ready Approach.

About the author | Jamie Gallerani
It was Jamie’s homestay in Germany that made her fall in love with travel (and her studies in Florence that really sealed the deal). When she’s not writing and sharing the magic of seeing the world with others, she’s usually on the lookout for her new favorite memoir, testing out recipes at home, or visiting her family on Cape Cod.

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