Dealing with the second question first, the exchange rate. We use Wise.com for you to send payments, which gives you a mid-market rate, not a bank's rate, so already you are saving money. Other than that, it is not possible to avoid a bad rate for sure. It just depends when you make the payment.
If you wish to pay in US Dollars or Euros, this is possible too, via Wise. Please let me know and I will give you a mid market rate taken from Wise and you can pay Dollars to a US-based bank account or Euros to a European based account, through an easy and free local bank-to-bank transfer. This will save you about 3% of tour price.
You have a grace period of 14 days from submitting your booking form and paying your deposit in which to cancel and receive your deposit refund. This is your statutory right.
All refunds will be made within 15 days of your written and acknowledged cancellation request.
Your Balance Payment is refundable in the following ways and does not include your deposit.
NOTE: If your tour is one where your accommodation is paid directly by you to your host (see the "What's included" in the tour description), cancelling your tour place may also incur cancellation charges for the accommodation, (usually just a deposit) but can be up to the full amount for the rooms depending on how much notice you give them and their own T&C. This is a matter between you and the accommodation provider, however, if they have not been reimbursed, we reserve the right to act on their behalf and deduct the amount from your balance refund.
All my tours have the same baggage allowance, drawn from years of experience, as
to what makes good travelling. Each person is limited to ONE piece of luggage.
Maximum luggage size is 50 linear inches total (Example: 22" high + 14" wide + 10" deep = 46" linear inches).
Note: Laundry service or self service is available about half way through most week long tours.
You must be able to lift your own luggage in and out of the vehicle trunk and carry it up 2 flights of stairs. There are no elevators, tour guides or porters to carry your luggage for you. The photo to the right shows the appropriate luggage.
A small day/book pack may be substituted for a purse (no more than 16" tall) and must comfortably sit on your lap in the vehicle to hold your wallet, camera, etc. This daypack should NOT be used to hold additional luggage items.
You will be sent a document of a suggested packing list after you complete your sign on and balance payment. It has been compiled from my own and our guests' experiences.
Our tours are active tours, meaning that while we do stroll and use vehicles at times, many of the activities are better described as "Hiking". Importantly, some sites you will visit require hill ascents of a few hundred feet without a path. It is important to understand that guests can not always opt-out of such activites as no alternative is provided. Neither can guests make a hike at a strolling pace as that will impact upon the timing, the itinerary and the enjoyment of the other guests.
Fitness is very hard to quantify. Are you fit? The best measure we have found is to walk one mile on the flat and to time it. If your one flat mile comes in between 17 and 20 minutes, these tours will be about right for you.
We have had guests with long-term health conditions on our tours, so having an issue does not necessarily preclude joining. However, some health issues might prevent full participation. Equally importantly, your guides need to know your health conditions in case of emergency. Make sure you include these fully in your booking form.
Things to list on your booking form: Please list all medical conditions or recent operations, including but not limited to knees, bladder issues, joints, back, respiratory, cardiac, vertigo, claustrophobia, sleep, nutrition. Do you have any conditions that would affect others on the tour? Including chronic coughing / sneezing, uncontrolled body movements / sounds, etc.
This personal information will not be passed on to anyone outside of Scot AnSgeulaiche's tour guides.
Accommodation cost is usually covered in the tour price. This is stated on the "What's included" section of the tour description*.
Sometimes accommodation is not included in the tour cost, again this is clearly outlined in the "What's included" section. In this latter case, accommodation is booked on your behalf and you pay the host directly, in which case an estimate of the total tour price including accommodation, will be shown on the tour description. This is an estimate because the accommodation cost may in the end be less than the estimate, but never more.
* Also see the next question below.
The evening before the tour begins is not covered in the tour cost or booked; the evening of the last day of the tour, back in Edinburgh is similarly not booked or covered in the tour price, but we can recommend a hotel near to the start and end point of the tour, to assist your travel plans.
We don't book these nights as many guests prefer to arrive a number of days early or stay in Edinburgh a few days after the tour, so they will be booking their own accommodation for before and after the tour.
We use 9 seater MPV vehicles (one or two) like the one shown here. Their size allows us to go into remote parts of the Highlands unavailable to large coaches.
However, these vehicles have limited luggage capacity, hence the personal luggage allowance.
Guests must be able to take turns in front, middle AND back seats. We switch around regularly. They must be able to sit comfortably in the seat without encroaching upon the seat of other guests. If you suffer from travel sickness and can only use the front seat, then you have two options:
Before your tour contract is agreed, you may transfer to another tour, space permitting, without loss of deposit.
After the contract is agreed, no transfers to another tour are permitted unless your tour is cancelled (see below).
The cut-off date for us to cancel (due to insufficient tour numbers of a minimum of 6 guests) is at least 4 months prior to the tour start.
Should we cancel a tour, we will refund 100% of your deposit and balance. Thus far, we have never needed to cancel and refund a tour, but we like to be cautious.
Transfering: If your tour is not going ahead, you may request to transfer to another tour, space permitting, at no cost.
The meet-point is in Edinburgh, close to train, tram and airport hubs. Details of the meet-point are included on the Tour Agreement, which you are sent after you have booked onto the tour.
All these conditions, content of the tour, costs, optional extras etc. are repeated on the Tour Agreement which you will be sent in PDF format as a confirmation after booking. Once you have checked that the details of the tour meet your expectations, you will pay the balance.
In a week-long tour, I try to stay in three places maximum, two nights each if possible, for your comfort.
My preferred type of accommodation is high standard 4* B&B (not AirB&B) and small guest houses up to six rooms. This allows you to stay with and meet locals, gaining the richness of their experience. Sometimes, due to the nature fo the tour, I use hotels for some of the stays.
All rooms have their own ensuite toilet and bath or shower. On rare occasions you will have what is called a private bathroom. That is a bathroom and toilet across the hall or nextdoor to your room, which is only used by you. Robes are provided for moving between your room and your private bathroom.
You can indicate your prefered bed type on the booking form, however your first choice of bed type is not always available. The numbers of single and twin-bed rooms are few in our quaint accommodations. We keep twin rooms for friends traveling together, rather than couples, for example.
Solo traveller: You will have your own room with a single, double or twin bed.
Friends, Sisters, Mums: Your room will be a mix of twin beds or a double (queen +) bed. Wherever available, I'll book a twin-bed room for you.
Couples: Your room will usually be provided with a double bed.
Vegetarian, gluten free and vegan diets are catered for in Scotland, as food allergies. If you have such a request, please let me know during booking and I will pass that on to our hosts. There is a box on the booking form for "anything else".
Food standard in Scotland is excellent, with much influence from Europe and India and many awarded chefs. Some of the best beef in the world comes from Scotland. Enjoy the variety of our cuisine. We give no help to the un-adventurous and picky eaters.
We do not publish a day by day, hour by hour schedule. Why? Because we like to keep elements of surprise and, frankly, you don't need one. You're on holiday, so relax and enjoy the view while WE make sure we're on schedule! Each evening we will go over the next day's plan so you can prepare the appropriate clothing and have something to chat and dream about. The main parts / inclusions / sites of the itinerary are on the Tour Agreement, which is the same as the web page.
On the week-long tours, we guide you from about 9 am till about 5pm, afterall you are paying for a guided tour! During theses days, there are some places we go where you can explore at your own pace away from the guide and group for a bit before we journey to our next destination.
On Pilgrimage tours and Slow Scotland™ tours, we build in more down time and alone time.
You'll also have some independent evenings to eat where you choose.
On short tours (1-3 days) we use the whole day for quality experience, without free time, except in the evenings. On custom tours, you can choose how much free time you want.
All our pre-scheduled tours have no more than 8 guests. Private tours can have up to 14.
For accommodation, you will have your own room. Usually within our small groups there is a natural camaraderie that happens. I do help this along and I remain aware of any single travelers and do my utmost to make everyone feel part of the group. You'll never be short for a dinner date.
No. Scotland has strict No Smoking laws. It is now illegal in/around accommodation and within public interiors. For ease of rules and everyone's comfort, we do not allow smoking at any time on the tour, even in the off hours, as the smell of smoke clings and can be carried into the vehicle, accommodation, restaurant, etc., making it unpleasant for others to sit next to that person.
As part of your booking process, you will receive a suggested Packing List, Edinburgh Hotel suggestions for pre/post tour and information covering everything from currency exchange to local transport, etc. We try to make your first or return trip to Scotland as easy and informed as possible.
Your travel arrangements and payments to/from the tour start/end points are your responsibility.
Flights should only be purchased after you have received word that the tour
is 'set to go'.
This happens when there are a minimum of 6 guests registered and you will be
notified as soon as it happens (at least 3 months before the tour start and of course sooner
if 6 guests sign on before that).
You will arrange and purchase your own flights to/from Edinburgh or alternate airports when appropriate.
We advise you to avoid flights that change in Newark NJ or in London Heathrow.
A great route from the north Americas into Edinburgh is via Schipol (Amsterdam) in the Netherlands, or via Mancherster England or Shannon Ireland.
Yes, absolutely. If you arrive the day before a tour, you don't have to
worry about your flight being late and you can ease through any jet lag so you're
rested for the first day of the tour. If you are late for the meet time, we cannot wait.
The documents you receive after booking will have a few suggestions for Edinburgh accommodation and transport so that you can make use of your extra day.
If you have trouble with the booking process,
you can email me by translating this email address
the-wee-folk @ ansgeulaiche 'dot' co 'dot' uk
Telephone from outside UK: your country exit code* +44 7784 004192
(Remember the time difference: We are in the GMT +0 to +1 zone. *US/Canadian exit code is 011)
Within the UK 07784 004192