• Andrew, Tour Leader

Staycations: The ScotLux Definitive Guide [2020]

Lets talk staycations. You must have heard this word enter our lexicon recently. Even the Prime Minister is getting in on the action, with he and his family opting for a two-week staycation in Scotland! And at ScotLux we believe this new trend is not simply a passing fad. As more and more people choose domestic travel and private tours in the near future, we are confident that they will do so again and again in the years to come. As I and many others have discovered, once Scotland has you hooked its very hard to go elsewhere.

Recent times have highlighted to us all the importance of living in the here and now, taking stock, and focusing on what matters. More often than not, it's to be found close to home. And we're confident that with a bit of a helping hand we can all still have some amazing travel plans to look forward to.

With that in mind, we'd like to offer some informed tips on making your staycation truly wonderful. Staycations are a bit of an art, and with just a small amount of planning you can easily create an incredibly exciting holiday at home.

Keep an open mind

The first thing we'd like to ask is that you keep an open mind. Dispense with your preconceived notions about what you can and can't do or see close to home! You'd be surprised about what Scotland has to offer. We've got everything in Scotland from bungee jumps and wildlife safaris, to history experiences and Outlander tours. Something for the thrill-seeker and history buff alike. Maybe you'd like to discover your ancestry, or learn more about our national tipple. Explore some of those famous locations you've always heard about. All within easy reach of home.

So before deciding exactly what you want, it can really pay off to do a little bit of research and get some inspiration first. See what's on offer and get all your options in front of you. There really are some amazing experiences to be had on these shores, far too many in fact to create a tour for every one! We've done our utmost to cover the basics, but staycations are all about discovery so get on Google and get searching!

Look at your budget

The good news is that a staycation can be much more affordable that your regular package to the continent. Without the burden of all those "boring" costs for luggage, transfers and the like, you'll have much more of your hard-earned dough to put towards the things that really matter to you, whatever that may be. Whether its fine dining you're after or amazing excursions and activities, a staycation will give you the financial freedom to really manage your break the way you want to.

So, once you've got some inspiration and your fun-fund finalised, you're ready to take the leap back in time to high school geography class.

Look at a map

It's a great idea to get a handle on the lay of the land. Our experience navigating in Scotland has been twofold.

Firstly, there simply aren't that many roads once you find yourself above the Central Belt. This can be extrapolated to most places outside major urban areas. This can be helpful as its difficult to get lost as such - however, I have found that when exploring somewhere new it can be extremely easy to lose track admiring views and talking about your experience. Suddenly you realise you should have turned off the road 10 miles back! Give yourself a leg up by getting a rough idea of the terrain you'll be travelling through, taking note of major landmarks.

Secondly, it can be very easy to focus our travels on destinations. However, for many staycationers (again, definitely a word), you'll have more success focusing on the journey. Many of those hidden gems we're all so eager to find are not so well-signposted or obvious, and it pays off to survey your route ahead and make sure you don't miss out on some excellent mini-stops. Time previously spent hanging around airports or waiting on a late bus can now be spent actively exploring and becomes fully part of your staycation experience.

Now that you have your desires, your budget, and a rough idea of where you're going, the rest is up to you. This is where you can fully implement your own creativity into planning the best staycation you can conceive of. Every single person is different in this respect, and rather than tell you what you should & shouldn't be getting up to, here's some extra helpful hints to make the whole experience all the better...

Actively disconnect from being 'at home'.

This is key. We understand that there's no better way to disconnect from stress than to jet off to a foreign country. And everybody loves that feeling of travelling to the airport and knowing you'll wake up tomorrow in a different country. The physical distance from home definitely seems to help us unwind. However, this can be stressful in itself, what with baggage, transfers, language, currency, insurance, etc...

When you're having a staycation, it's important you actively switch off from work and home stressors in order to allow your staycation to unfold with the most amount of restorative benefit to you and yours. When you leave the house and lock up behind you, close the door on your normal routine for a time and involve yourself fully in the epic trip you've got planned.

Have multiple mini-staycations throughout the year

What's better than a holiday? Two holidays! What's better than two? Three! We are in favour of splitting our vacation allowance throughout the year into as many smaller breaks as time and budget allow for. One lavish holiday per year can be great, but its an awfully long time in between. Why carry around a whole year's worth of itching to get away?

We like to manage this better by taking regular breaks, every few months or so, to take a load off. This can allow you to pack much more into your year, and help you work through that bucket list. More regular breaks can also help you be more productive in between, with something to work towards well within reach, and more regular time for decompression.

Engage with local history and culture

Part of what makes our modern world great is the ease with which we can travel to and experience other cultures, meet new people, and learn about other ways of life, broadening our horizons so to speak.

With recent events, many of those bucket-list places and experiences have been been put on hold.

In the meantime, we can use this time of restricted international travel as an opportunity to engage more with the history & culture right on our very shores. Familiarity breeds contempt, they say, and it is important to combat this notion on your staycation. We at ScotLux believe the future of travels holds a renaissance for localised cultural events and experiences. We look forward to seeing a reawakening of our appreciation for what's to be found close to home.

Make an epic reading list

Taking a holiday is always an excellent time to catch up on all the reading we've been so eager to do throughout the year, but can never seem to find the time for. And it should be no

different with a staycation. Take your trip to the next level by involving some local literature - we've found this to be a great way of really breathing life, imagery & story into our adventures, and find it gives us an extra appreciation for the places we visit.

If you're thinking of visiting Scotland, we've done the hard work for you and compiled a list with all this in mind.

You don't even have to leave your home

Much of what we've said assumes you'll be staying away from home, however this is not at all necessary! To enhance your experience, we would recommend that you do allow yourself some of those luxurious comforts we find when staying away. Hire a private chef for a night, or cap off your day trip with some epic takeout!

Also, we don't need to travel to the far side of our own country for some great days out. Be a tourist in your local area and discover the wonders on your doorstep. If you don't fancy a Multi- Day Tour, our Day Tours are a great way of achieving this, packing in some amazing sights, new places, great stories, and a generous touch of luxury.

What do you like to do abroad? Find it at home.

Creature of habit? So are we. In order to minimise disruption to your travel plans, simply decide what it is you love so much about your foreign trips, and see if you can replicate it at home. Sightseeing? You're spoilt for choice. Wildlife your thing? We've got you covered. Adrenaline junkie? Here you go.

By doing this, you don't have to make any sacrifices to your yearly plans and may even manage to pack more in.

Buy some souvenirs

I don't think I've ever gone abroad and not bought a magnetic bottle-opener with the name of my destination on it. Our fridge door is a testament to this fact. My mother has the same habit, except with tea towels. Yet, these small and seemingly insignificant items really are a great way to conjure up some good memories to keep you going during those times between travels, or to pass onto others. So do the same on staycation and treat yourself and friends to some keepsakes that'll help you remember your trip forever.

Let us do the work for you

Maybe you'd love to take a staycation, but simply can't find the time to plan. We completely understand, and can help you out. So why not get in touch with us, give us a few pointers on what you want from your trip, and we'll craft the whole thing for you! A fully bespoke luxury tour with your very own private tour guide, luxury transport, and personal pick-up & drop-off. What's better than that?

ScotLux has you covered.

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