A group of six of us just returned from an epic trip across Scotland. The group included my husband, another couple, my 15-year old daughter and her friend. A diverse group! We walked, we ate fish and chips, the adults sipped whisky, the kids drank Irn Bru (Scotland’s #1 soda) and we witnessed some of the most spectacular natural beauty in the world.
This trip came about because my husband changed from a beer only drinker to a Scotch whisky connoisseur over the past five or so years. Going to Scotland to visit the distilleries had become a bucket list item for him and he asked me, as his own private travel consultant, to make his dream come true!
I am not a whisky fan. So, you can imagine a trip to Scotland specifically to taste whisky did not sound very interesting to me…but the promise of history and natural beauty did, especially since we wanted to bring our daughter. But, I also knew this trip would not be fun for my husband if he didn’t have a fellow whisky lover to share it with and I knew my daughter would not have fun as the only kid. With that in mind, we invited our friends Scott and Ann and my daughter’s friend Mary Beth. Traveling in a group may have its difficulties, like agreeing on itinerary and budget, but when you have the right mix of people and the perfect guide, it can be magic. Ours was.
We started in Glasgow and went on to some places that may be familiar to you and maybe some that are not: Loch Lomand and The Trossachs National Park, Islay and the Isle of Skye, Inverary, Loch Ness, Cairngorms National Park, St. Andrews, and Edinburgh. And, that is not the complete list!
This is our route!
During our trip, we covered an incredible number of miles and saw so many sights. I credit this to our private guide, Archie, owner of Uniquely Scotland, who spent 8 days showing us his Scotland. Could we have done this trip on our own? Sure, but as a travel consultant, I knew we could never have the experience on our own that we could and did have by being escorted by a local who is passionate about his country. Archie took us places he knows inside out. Archie’s stories were entertaining as well as educational and he even gave us a private bagpipe lesson! He gave us the gift of an unforgettable once in a lifetime experience!
As a family, we’ve traveled on our own, done group tours and cruises but this is the first trip we’ve done as a family with a private tour guide. I book private guides for my clients, especially in places like Ireland and Italy, but never for my personal family travel. This will probably be something we do often in the future. Are you asking yourself is this right for my family? You should be!
Top Reasons To Use A Private Guide
There are a million reasons why I would use a private guide but if I must boil it down to just 3 reasons why, here they are:
Simplify Your Life
The private guide takes care of all the details. Once you get to your destination, your guide helps with everything – managing the itinerary, providing dining suggestions and trouble shooting if needed. Someone always has to be in charge – but it doesn’t have to be you! This was one of the main reasons for me to select a private guide. I am always in charge of everyone else’s travel but don’t want to be in charge on my own! It was really nice for me to relax and really reconnect with my family and friends. Archie handled all the little details. It might cost a bit more than doing everything on your own, but the experience is well worth it.
Another great reason to use a guide is because they can offer flexibility during the trip that you won’t find in a group trip or doing it on your own. For example, if the weather changes or some unforeseen dilemma occurs, they will have the knowledge and connections to do a Plan B. Even when it’s not an emergency situation, they can make a big difference in your experience just by knowing what pub has the best experience or which cliff gives you the best photo ops.
One of the biggest trends in travel is authentic experience. Why go somewhere if you are going to have a canned or touristy experience. Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes a standard tour works great. For example, in Edinburgh, we did a Hop On Hop Off tour of the city. But for the most part, I want to see the real places and meet the real people. Having a private guide helps show you what’s important to them and should be important to you.
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