Comparison between one day and two days Scottish tours

Touring Scotland in one or two days?

Most people -- myself included -- would agree that two days is not nearly enough time to get a taste of Scotland. I would usually recommend a 5 or 7 day tour around Scotland, or at least a 3 day sightseeing tour in order to get a real feel of this incredible country but if time constraints are an issue, it then comes down to choosing between two short trips around certain parts of Scotland. The best choice in this case, however, is not the most obvious one.

Which tour to choose

The obvious choice for most tourists would be to take one of the two day tour packages put together by the many Scottish tour operators because they feel that they would get to see much more of Scotland than they would on a one day tour. Tour companies also book the accommodation for you, making this type of two day trip particularly attractive. However, when you consider the following, you may find that a two day tour is not the best choice when time is so limited.

Overnight Accommodation

Most tourists taking the two days sightseeing tours of Scotland will already be based somewhere, usually in Edinburgh or Glasgow where they already have their accommodation arranged for a number of days. If they decide to take a two day tour in the Highlands of Scotland (which is where most multi-days tours go to), they have to pay for the for the tour itself as well as for overnight accommodation. This means that for the night that they spend touring, they will in effect pay for accommodation twice, once where their base is (be it Edinburgh or Glasgow) and once in the village or town where the tour stops for the night. This turns a cheap mini-coach sightseeing tour of Scotland into a much more expensive affair! There are two ways around this added cost:

Going on a two day Scottish tour may, therefore, not be as hassle-free as it appears originally. Of course, if paying for a nights accommodation twice is not an issue, then this type of sightseeing trip is a good choice but most budget-conscious tourists will want to avoid paying more unnecessarily.

Itinerary differences between single day and overnight tours

Having studied the itineraries of most two day tour packages (all of which are in effect tours in the Scottish Highlands) put together by operators I feel that the extra sights you get to see on this longer trip don't justify the added expense and hassle because:

Alternative to two day trips to the Scottish Highlands

The best alternative to going on a two day tour in the Scottish Highlands is taking two one day tours. One could be the Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Day Tour which has the best possible Highlands day trip itinerary. The second one could be either the West Highlands Lochs and Castles Day Tour which allows you to experience a different part of the Scottish Highlands or my other favourite, the St Andrews and Fife Day Trip.

Bottom line, if you only have two available days for touring Scotland, then the best possible choice is to take two single day trips rather than a two days trip. Multi-day Scottish trips are the better choice only when your travel arrangements allow you to spend 3 days or more on a sightseeing tour.

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