General FAQs

This page is designed to answer any questions you may have. If you cannot find the information you are looking for then please call our office on +44 (0) 131 240 1210 or email us at info@absoluteescapes.com and we will be happy to assist you.

Choosing your Holiday

 

Why choose a tailor-made holiday with Absolute Escapes?

Unlike many travel operators offering holidays to Scotland, we are here in Scotland! All our travel consultants have an intimate knowledge of this country and can share their first hand knowledge and experience with you. We are also local and contactable when you arrive here in Scotland and can sort out any unforeseen issues you may have.

Our philosophy is to offer special holidays tailored to your individual requirements. We use our expert knowledge to seek out the best that Scotland has to offer - the best places to stay, the best experiences, the best routes, and we take away the hard work by arranging it all for you. And as each of our holidays is individually booked, you have complete freedom and independence during the holiday itself.

How does the tailor-made service work?

Simply visit our website and browse the suggested holiday ideas for some inspiration. Then let us know your own ideal requirements, either by completing the online enquiry form or by calling us to discuss on +44 (0) 131 240 1210.

We will then send you a detailed personal proposal tailor-made to your holiday requirements. This can then easily be re-issued and amended to suit, so do let us know what you think of it. Once you have agreed your ideal holiday option and you have received a booking code from us, there are three ways you can book your holiday.

What type of accommodation do you offer?

If you choose one of our self-drive itineraries we offer four accommodation categories using a five-level star-grading system which has been established by Visit Scotland to indicate the standards on offer at assessed establishments.

5* - Exceptional
4* - Excellent
3* - Very good

We work with B&Bs, Guest houses and Small Hotels, predominantly 3*rated and above. Most are owner-managed and many are off the beaten track in superb locations. In the cities we work with slightly larger hotels to ensure excellent quality for our guests.

Budget 3* B&Bs & Guest Houses
Standard 4* Guest Houses & 3* Hotels
Premium Boutique Guest Houses & 4* Hotels
Special Places to Stay A collection of unique, often privately owned exclusive retreats and intimate hotels situated in spectacular locations.

 

On some of our walking trails a budget, standard and premium option is available and we use carefully selected, hand-picked Hostels, B&Bs, Guest Houses, Inns and Hotels in all of our packages.

Budget Staying in Hostels and some B&Bs
Standard Staying in Guest Houses, B&Bs and some Hotels
Premium Staying in good quality Guest Houses and Hotels

 

How do you choose the accommodation you recommend?

To ensure that you stay in the best places we have visited Bed and Breakfasts, Guest Houses and Hotels all over Scotland. We are very selective with our choices and only choose accommodation where we would wish to stay ourselves. This means you can be confident of quality and value for money when you book your holiday with us. We look for high standards of personal service, attention to detail and excellent food and many of the places have hands-on owners, who ensure our guests are extremely well looked after.

When is the best time to visit Scotland?

During spring and early summer is a great time to experience Scotland. May and June are beautiful and are the driest and sunniest months and a recommended time to visit, with normal daytime temperatures of 15 - 18°C. The northerly latitude also means that Scotland enjoys 4 hours more daylight than London, with the most northerly regions barely getting dark during midsummer.

July and August are the warmest months with normal daytime temperatures of 18 - 22°C. This is a very popular time to visit Scotland especially during the School Holidays.
Late summer brings generally settled weather with normal daytime temperatures of 14 - 18°C during the months of September and October. The Autumnal colours in September can be quite spectacular.

Can you book flights or train travel to Scotland for me?

We are more than happy to advise you of the best routes to Scotland, however we do not arrange flights or train travel to Scotland.

Driving in Scotland

Many of Scotland's roads are very scenic and traffic is relatively low in comparison to many international destinations. Due to Scotland's landscape it is easy to underestimate the driving time required as although distances may appear short, the road may be windy and hilly which will reduce your average speed and generally most driving guides work on 50mph when calculating the time required.

A foreign driving licence is valid in the UK for up to 12 months from the time of entry into the country and vehicles drive on the left-hand side of the road. Seat belts are compulsory for the driver and all passengers and the speed limit is 30 mph in built-up areas, 60 mph on single carriageways and 70 mph on dual carriageways. Motorways (designated as "M") are toll-free dual carriageways and are limited mainly to central Scotland. Main roads (designated as "A") are dual or single carriageways and are sometimes clogged with slow-moving trucks or caravans. Travelling by car is far more relaxed and interesting on the secondary roads (designated "B") and minor roads (undesignated). These wind through the countryside from village to village - you can't travel fast, but you won't want to.

Booking your Tailor-made Holiday

 

Can you check availability for me before I make a booking?

All our tailor-made holidays are booked on a request basis to suit your individual requirements. Providing this level of tailor-made service means we are only able to check availability once you have completed the booking form and provided the deposit for your holiday. We do not however bank your cheque or deduct money from your credit or debit card until all the booking arrangements have been made for your holiday.

How far ahead do I need to book my holiday?

The further in advance you are able to make your arrangements the more likely we can secure exactly the holiday and accommodation you want. This is especially important if you wish to visit Edinburgh during the festival or spend Hogmanay (New Year) in Scotland. Some holiday periods (Easter and school half term weeks, public holidays and the peak Summer months) can get booked up very quickly, therefore if you know you want to travel at this time it is a good idea to contact us as soon as possible.

The West Highland Way, Great Glen Way, Coast to Coast and Hadrian's Wall Path walking routes are very busy during May and early June and begins to book up a year in advance. Please book well in advance if you wish to walk these routes during this time.

How do I book my holiday?

When you are happy that the holiday proposal we have issued you with is correct and you have received a booking code from us, there are three ways you can book your holiday:

1. You can complete the secure online Booking Form on our website and where you will also find our booking terms and conditions.

2. You can print a copy of the Booking Form and return it to us by fax on +44 (0) 131 226 5490 or post to Absolute Escapes Ltd, Forsyth House, 93 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3ES, Scotland, UK.

3. Alternatively, you can telephone us on +44 (0) 131 240 1210 with your credit or debit card details.

How do I pay for my holiday?

You can pay the deposit and balance for your holiday in any of the following ways:

1. Cheque - Please make cheques payable to "Absolute Escapes Ltd". Cheques must be made in British pounds sterling (£).

2. Credit or Debit Card - We regret that due to the level of bank charges for such transactions, we are forced to add a 2% surcharge for payments by credit card. Payments by UK debit cards do not incur any surcharge. Unfortunately we do not accept payment by AMEX.

3. Bank Transfer - If you wish to pay by bank transfer our account details will appear on your proposal and quotation. You must pay in British pounds sterling (£). If your bank charges you for this service we do ask you to ensure that you settle these charges directly with them.

Is my money safe?

In accordance with the UK Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992 your financial security is guaranteed when you book with Absolute Escapes Ltd. As a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) your holiday and your money are protected by the highest standards of consumer protection. AITO is an organisation representing over 140 of Britain's best specialist tour operators, and all members aim to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction in terms of Choice, Quality and Service. Every AITO holiday is backed not only by AITO's Quality Charter but also by full financial protection. Further details of AITO can be found at www.aito.co.uk or on our website along with our full booking terms and conditions.

Your financial protection is insured by International Passenger Protection Ltd (IPP) and is underwritten by insurers who are members of the Association of British Insurers & Lloyds Syndicates. Further details of this insurance policy can be found at www.ipplondon.co.uk.

How late can I book?

Due to the personal nature of our service we can usually take bookings up to 1 week before departure. Full balances for all bookings confirmed within 7 days of departure must be paid for by debit card or electronic funds transfer.

Do I require travel insurance?

Although it is not essential we do strongly recommend that you take out holiday insurance to cover cancellation, personal accident, illness and loss or theft of personal possessions and/or money.

Can I change the dates of my holiday after I have booked?

It is usually possible to change your start date up to 8 weeks before the start of your holiday although it is not advisable. We charge an administration fee of £50.00 to cover the considerable amount of work involved in cancelling and then re-booking your accommodation. Requests for changes made less than 8 weeks before the start of your holiday will be treated as a cancellation of your original booking.

What happens if I have to cancel my holiday?

If you have to cancel your holiday please inform us in writing. You can send it to us by mail, fax or email. The date from which we receive your cancellation is the date from which cancellation fees will be calculated.

What information will my Information Pack contain?

Your self-drive Information Pack will include a map, detailed directions and our recommended route around Scotland, details of your accommodation and a selection of leaflets for the areas which you are visiting.

Your walking holiday Information Pack will include Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook describing the trail (one per party), details of your accommodation, travel information to the start and from the end of the walk, a day-to-day itinerary, information on facilities and points of interest along the trail, an equipment checklist and a contact telephone number in case you require any assistance.

When will I receive my Information Pack?

We will send your Information Pack to you by post 2-3 weeks before your holiday. If you live abroad we will, of course, send your documentation sooner. It is very important that you let us know if your holiday to Scotland is part of a longer holiday and you will be leaving home in advance of the start of your Scottish holiday so that we can despatch your documentation in good time.

When is your office open?

Our office is normally open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. We are closed on Public Holidays and the first two days of the New Year. When the office is closed, and occasionally during very busy periods, calls will be diverted to an answering machine, where you can leave a message, and we will call you back. Once you have booked a holiday with us, you will be provided with an emergency contact number so that you can reach us if needed while you are away on your holiday.

Do you offer holidays to any other destinations?

We currently specialise in tailor-made holidays in Scotland and self-guided walking holidays in the UK and Ireland.

Fair Prices

 

While many travel companies like to promote low prices, we believe that value for money is more important. This translates into charging a fair price for your trip - whether staying in simple Guest Houses or luxurious hotels - and not compromising on quality. We want you to travel with us again and know that you will not do this if you feel that you paid too much for your arrangements.