Puzzles, bread makers, our trusty TVs—so many things helped us pass the time at home in 2020. And with Black Friday and the holidays fast approaching, you may be thinking of even more stuff to add to your pile. But, there are so many unforgettable experiences that mean more than trinkets ever could, and now that the world’s reopening, it’s the perfect time to make up for missed travel moments.
You only become a richer person when you buy experiences, not things—and that’s something us travel lovers stand by. So, if you’d rather have a full camera roll than a full house, read on to find some of the top travel experiences to invest in this year.
(And step away from that sale on treadmills… )
While it’s important to get those steps in no matter how you get them, we’ve gotta say that it’s far more inspiring to look at storybook European scenery as you walk instead of a wall inside your house. Set out on foot on any one of our Walking Tours, and you’ll get up close to culture as you wind through hidden alleyways and traverse paths worn from centuries of use. (And yes, those moments are just as inspiring as they sound!)
“This was my second Go Ahead tour to Italy,” said solo traveler Mary after her Tuscany Walking Tour. “I wondered if it could be as amazing as my first trip... it was! This was my first Solo Tour and I was worried about fitting in, I didn’t need to. I loved pulling away from the more well-known locations and out into the Tuscany countryside. Walks were very doable and included strolls through vineyards and olive orchards as we made our way to a medieval walled city or a great meal at a winery.” You’ll never regret spending money on experiences like those.
(And forget about that expensive mixer you’ll probably only use once)
Now, we love to whip up a good meal at home as much as the next person—especially during a good old fashioned Go Ahead Tours cookbook challenge! But, buying an expensive kitchen gadget could never match the feeling of eating an expertly prepared, regional meal on a Tuscan farm, or in an underground wine cellar in Portugal, or at a Parisian cafe. If you ask us, those are some of the best experiences money can buy.
On our small group Food & Wine Tours, there’s heritage (and super fresh ingredients) in every single bite you take. “Every day was a culinary joy!” said traveler Rita of her Food & Wine: Northern Italy & the Italian Riviera tour. That’s true whether you’re sipping cider on a farm in Kilkenny, dipping rustic bread into olive oil in the Italian countryside, or sampling flaky, ricotta-stuffed pastries in Naples. So, while you make up for missed adventures on our culinary journeys, expert chefs will be making you dinner—and we’re talking some of the best meals of your life.
(Instead of getting caught up in the spin bike craze)
If you’re looking to fill your life with new experiences, not things, then look beyond your living room to our small group Adventure Tours! These immersive trips are all about the roads less traveled, and are full of wow moments you just have to experience in person to believe. All you need are your walking shoes and an open mind, and the world is your oyster on these unforgettable trips.
“Our small group Adventure Tours offer a range of destinations, tour lengths, and tour pacing options,” said travel expert Lael, who’s our Vice President of Market Innovation & Development. “Hiking along the Amalfi Coast in Italy, taking a Zodiac cruise amongst icebergs in Iceland, interacting with an indigenous community in the Andes—these are just a few examples of the types of activities and travel experiences you’ll have on one of our small group Adventure Tours.”
(And skip all those miscellaneous gifts that’ll just collect dust)
Whether you go on a Christmas Market Tour as a solo traveler, or go with friends and family in tow, the most important thing is that you GO. There are so many unforgettable things to do at Europe’s Christmas markets (and so many special holiday souvenirs to bring home!), but the best things to collect at these Yuletide fetes are memories. No gift under the tree could ever be as amazing as taking a spin on “Magical Maastricht’s” illuminated Ferris wheel in the Netherlands, or admiring a 100-foot-tall Christmas tree in Munich. We’d take sparkling experiences like these over things any day.
“It’s incredible to see government buildings, cathedrals, museums, concert halls, hotels, restaurants, and so many public spaces adorned with exquisite Christmas decor,” said traveler Barbara, who’s been on four Christmas Market Tours and is booked on a fifth for 2021. “Often, even the tiniest of hamlets have several outdoor markets that model the plentiful markets in big cities, all offering handicrafts, as well as seasonal food and drink, accompanied by a variety of musical merriment. European families enjoy an immense camaraderie in their festive plazas both in their city centers and in their neighborhoods.”
(Instead of paying for a new computer for virtual get-togethers)
Is there anything sweeter than being with your friends and family after spending more than a year apart? Only one thing: being with your friends and family in a dream destination! No new gadget or group Zoom call could ever compare to standing side by side, feeling awed and inspired on a trip you’ve always dreamed about. Those moments are what lifetime memories are made of, and our Family Tours are full of ‘em.
While there are so many benefits of multi-generational travel, simply spending time with the people who mean the most to you is one of the best—and traveler Deron would agree. “All the trips I hold dear to me are special because of the time I had with [my grandfather],” he said of their four shared trips. “That’s what Go Ahead Tours does, it brings families together. Enjoy where you’re at, but enjoy the company of who you’re with more.”
(That new TV just won’t cut it, even if it is hi-def)
Nothing you pick up in a store could ever compare to the naturally formed beauty of our pristine national parks—there’s no doubt that they are some of the most beautiful places to visit in the U.S. There are soaring mountain peaks, and wildflower-dotted fields, and red-rock canyons that’ll leave you speechless (and will make you glad that you chose to invest in travel experiences over things!). Our National Parks Tours are all about finding amazement in your own backyard right here in the U.S. and Canada, and trust us: You’ll find it.
The best part? The world is reopening, and you can take all this awe in on our National Park Tours, alongside 2021 travelers. “This is the best trip ever to the National Parks,” said traveler Cik after her 2021 tour of the Southwest. “All the time I was always planning for overseas trips and totally forgot how beautiful our backyard is.” Traveler Michael was just as awed after his 2021 trip, U.S. National Parks: The Grand Canyon to Zion. “It felt wonderful to travel again, and each destination was more amazing and breathtaking than the last,” he said.