This is the first post in a series Planning Scotland. Over the series, I will be going over how to plan, pack, save, etc for a trip, as well as share worksheets on helping with the planning.
One thing that I have planned for the next ... oh, let's say 5 years, is for C and I to take a trip to Scotland. I've wanted to go back ever since I went with family when I was 16. C has never been, but we've been talking about taking a European vacation and I think Scotland would be the perfect.
At the beginning of your planning process, there are five basic questions you need to ask.
1. Where do you want to go? This may take some time to really narrow down. It can be a country or a city depending on the particular trip.
2. How long? When planning this section, keep in mind travel times to and from the destination. If you have to fly, make sure you take that into account.
3. When? This part can take some research -- do you go during the off season to save money, but can't see as many attractions? Do you go during the high season, but pay more and battle crowds?
4. Who do you want to go with? Go dutch or pay all? Are you going solo? With a friend or significant other? Do you want to treat for part or all of the trip or split 50/50?
5. What do you want to do while there? What are your must sees? Is there any certain food you want to eat? The more you think about this, the more accurate your budgeting and saving plan can be.
Here are my answers with Scotland.
1. Where? Scotland
2. How long? 10 days total / 7 days of in country traveling
3. When? I want to go in the spring or fall. I haven't narrowed it down 100%, but those aren't quite to off season or the high season.
4. Who with? With C and we'll probably split it pretty 50/50.
#5 is a longer answer, so I figured it needed it's own actual paragraph. As much as I want to go crazy and see EVERYTHING, I know that being go-go-go on the vacation will not be restful at all. I want to enjoy the trip, not feel stressed about it. I decided to focus on one big city and one side trip.
Big City : Edinburgh -- I fell in love with the city while I was there. It's perfect for walking and I think that C will enjoy all the open spaces and not crowded feeling of it.
Side Trip : Isle of Skye -- For the side trip, I wanted to take all of the trouble of renting a car and whatnot out of it and found a 3 day tour with Lonely Planet for a reasonable price. It includes transportation there and back, hotel and breakfast. It also means that C and I don't have to try driving on the "wrong" side of the road or read a map. We can relax and enjoy the scenery.
Next time, I'll have the in-depth budget and saving planning worksheets that I used for this. I'll also have blank ones for your use as well.