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Self-Drive Adventures With A Difference

3 min read

By Russell Murray, Business Development Manager
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We believe that a fully guided trip to Scotland offers the best experience for travellers, as our guides introduce travellers to places and experiences they would never have uncovered themselves. It also means that travellers do not need to worry about any trip logistics, as our guides handle everything. And, of course, they don’t need to drive on the ‘other’ side of the road or navigate the narrow, winding roads of the Scottish Highlands on their own.

However, we know that some clients just want to experience the freedom of the open road and self-drive. We can organise these trips for your travellers too. This blog explains the approach that we take to self-drive trips in Scotland – one that we believe combines the freedom that clients feel they want with the experiences that will make the trip memorable for them.

Guided Days

self-drive trips the guide

As a starting point, we believe that all trips to Scotland and Ireland benefit from spending some time with a local guide, even if you are self-driving. So all of our self-drive trips will include several activities and experiences led by local guides. We do not take on bookings which simply involve hotel bookings and a rental car, as we are not adding any value to the client experience.

Typically, we recommend including a private guide for 2-3 days close to the start of the itinerary, usually once clients arrive at their destination. A private guide will meet travellers at their hotel in the morning to discuss options with them. We’ve usually agreed on an activity in advance, such as hiking, biking or wildlife watching. Our guides will then tailor the day to the travellers’ needs. For example, a guided hike could be an easy hike for 1-2 hours, followed by some cultural touring or simply free time for the travellers. Or, it could be a challenging full-day hike. With a private guide, travellers can decide on the day. Our guides will show your clients the hidden gems, tell them more about the flora and fauna of the area, point out historical points of interest, and much more. In short, they significantly enhance their travel experience and add a lot of value.

By having the same guide for 2-3 days, it allows travellers to get under the skin of that region. It also allows our guides the chance to get to know your clients, meaning that they customise the days even more, based on conversations they have with the guests.

In addition to having one of our private guides spend these days with your travellers, we typically also organise some other experiences for them, such as a boat trip, steam train ride or specialist local tour. These are usually half-day experiences (or shorter) and are delivered by local guides in that area.

A typical self-drive itinerary, therefore, includes 2-3 privately guided days, as well as 2-3 other activities. So what about their free time?

Non-Guided Days

self-drive trips free time

Your travellers will have free time whenever they are not with our guide or enjoying one of the locally booked experiences we have arranged for them. So how will they spend their free time? Some operators like to produce very detailed client documents listing 101 things to do, along with instructions of how to get there and all the background history you could desire. That’s not our approach.

Part of the joy of a self-drive trip is the freedom to explore. Our itinerary notes will generally name 1 or 2 places of interest close to where the travellers are staying. These are our recommendations – but it’s up to the travellers to decide what they want to do. They can research further options online if they like (all hotels have wifi, as well as folders with extensive details of local activities and attractions). Or they can just go for a drive and see what they find. It’s up to them. It’s self-drive exploring.

Note that if you typically provide very detailed notes for your clients, you will need to prepare these, as it’s not part of our service. The reason for this is simply that it’s time-consuming and expensive to prepare – and therefore not the best value-for-money for the travellers.

Car Hire

self drive product

We find that travellers all want different things from car hire! Therefore, while we will book the car for your guests, if they decide they want to upgrade / add a driver / add SatNav / add extra insurance / etc – we leave these details to the travellers to handle when they collect their car. If you prefer to arrange a car for your travellers (or if they prefer to book it directly for loyalty points etc), that is fine by us. Just let us know when you make the enquiry.

Client Budget

Just because clients want to do self-drive trip does not mean that they want to travel on a budget. And as a self-drive trip in Scotland is going to involve much more than a hotel and rental car, we do need to know a budget range before we can take on an enquiry. As well as 5-star hotels and lodges, we can also arrange some incredible experiences for clients with a more generous budget, so please be sure to find out a budget range from the potential travellers before you contact us. We’ll then work with you to create the perfect self-drive itinerary in Scotland for your travellers.

Where clients may not have the budget for a fully bespoke itinerary, we can offer 10% commission on our pre-built self-drive/part-guided itineraries in Scotland and Ireland.

We also offer a wide range of fully-guided small group adventures which may appeal to some travellers. For more information on commission and our small group adventures, please read Booking onto Our Small Group Holiday Range.

Self-Drive Itinerary Sample

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Want to discuss your clients self-drive adventure? Don’t hesitate to drop us a line or give us a call – we’re more than happy to help.

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Meet the Author: Russell Murray

“Born and raised in the Scottish Highlands I have always been passionate about all things outdoors actively pursuing white water kayaking, skiing and mountain biking in my spare time.”

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