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I looked at old threads and couldn't find an answer to this, but apologies if there is already one on this topic! I'm looking to go away for a long weekend (or even a week) sometime in February/March. I'd like to go somewhere to photograph beautiful landscapes so was thinking of perhaps going to Scotland. Because time is short (I don't have time to do detailed planning myself) I was thinking of joining a phototour. However, they are all so expensive and it's very difficult to tell from the websites if they are any good. Does anyone have any experience of winter phototours, or any particular tour that they would recommend?
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Quote: However, they are all so expensive and it's very difficult to tell from the websites if they are any good.
I think when you factor in the cost of accommodation, food, transport, insurance (a killer), and the fact that like any other business they should be trying to make a profit, then you'd understand why they are so expensive.
Our experience was that owners of B&B and hotels (some English-owned it has to be said) weren't interested in giving out discounts to tours companies as small as ours and so they wanted top dollar at every opportunity. Single occupancy of a double room can cost £100 a night in the kinds of hotels you would want to stay in and not many hotels do single rooms either. The price of food in the Highlands is also priced above most Lowland places and the restaurants are catering to a smallish market in a restricted opening season and so are more expensive too. Insurance on vehicles (£3500/annum) and on public liability insurance was extortionate, so we resorted to insuring the vehicles but having to have a disclaimer against injuries written into the booking form (another £2000 solicitor bill). The price of fuel is now also a killer at £1.50+ in the Highlands for diesel. Take all this and add in a fee for your tutor/guide then it gets up to the levels that you have seen.
Re Testimonials, they really are the only way to gauge a Customers feedback on the tour, so they are the best thing to look at. Ask your tour company for copies of the forms or emails showing the testimonial if you want real piece of mind. We asked our Customers to fill in a form that we emailed to them after the tour.
Re dates too - March is best, February in Scotland can be very unpredictable ad sometimes very horrid!!
Ask your tour guide what happens too when the days activities are rained off. Some offer photoshop tuition or slideshows, others just hit the bar!!
I personally don't think you wouldn't enjoy it. I went on 3 before doing SPT and loved all of them and met some great people too. It's great to be with people who have a shared passion...
PM me if I can be of further help.
Only today I spotted a week on Skye for a shade over £1000 - cant recall the company. It included breakfast, sandwich lunch and a three course dinner with wine. Transport, knowledge (both local and photographic) and lightroom tutorials. Bargain (even if the tuition is rubbish it's still a bargain!!).....and fully booked.
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