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Anyone taken a tour with MacBackpackers in Scotland

Anyone taken a tour with MacBackpackers in Scotland

Jun 30th, 2005, 12:08 PM
  #1  
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Anyone taken a tour with MacBackpackers in Scotland

My sister (age 18) and mother (age 49) are considering a "Hop-on, Hop-off" bus tour with MacBackpackers in Scotland.

Has anyone used this company? Did you like the tours?

I've searched the archives at Lonely Planet and they seem to get good reviews there, but I'm wondering if any Fodorites have experience with this company.

Thanks for your help!
kureiff is online now  
Jul 1st, 2005, 07:00 AM
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ttt
kureiff is online now  
Jul 1st, 2005, 07:51 AM
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MacBackpackers, like Haggis Adventures, state that their tours are designed for ages 17-35. Whether or not they would prevent someone older than 35 from participating is the key... And whether or not your 49 year old mother wants to hang out with a bunch of college age kids is also another thing to consider!

MacBackpackers and Haggis are basically the same type of outfit. Other folks on the tour will be in the younger age group (especially if the trip is planned over a school break period), and accommodations will be hostels and very basic. Great concept of off/on bus travel, and when my husband was in college he made many wonderful memories on his own Haggis Adventure...not sure he would ever consider doing it again, though!

If your mom is okay with staying in hostels and hanging around college kids, then the first step would be to contact the company and ask if there is an age restriction since their website stipulates an age range.
beanweb24 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2005, 08:00 AM
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Thanks for the feedback Beanweb!

My sister has already contacted the company, and they don't have an age restriction -- just generally cater to a younger crowd.



kureiff is online now  
Jul 1st, 2005, 08:12 AM
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I need to ask -- why does MacBackpackers appeal to your Mom/Sister? Is it simply because of relatively low costs? Or is there an itinerary they like? or is your Mom VERY young at heart? Or some other reason?

I ask because - if it is costs - there are ways to travel w/i Scotland pretty inexpensively w/o staying in hostels or back packing.

If the itinerary is good - then they could easily go to the same areas on their own.

If your Mom like traveling w/ younger folks that's fine. But do realize your mother on one of these will probably feel much the same as an 18 yo on a typical bus tour w/ an average age in the 60's or 70's. sort of fish out of water-ish.

Not that MacBackpackers or Haggis aren't good companies - but why do they think they want to travel this way?
janis is offline  
Jul 1st, 2005, 08:37 AM
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Janis: They're looking at MacBackpackers for a couple of reasons.

First, some background:
My sister saved her own money to take this trip before college and is paying her own way. My mom only decided to go along last week because my sister felt nervous about travelling on her own as 18 year old female. They are trying to keep costs down. They will be travelling August 10 through the 26th.

The MacBackpacker itinerary matched the one my sister had come up with and they're wondering if maybe it would be easier to just hop on the bus with MacBackpacker.

The second reason for considering MacBackpacker was that they are guaranteed lodging every night. They are concerned about availability of lodging due to the number of festivals in August.

And the atmosphere that MacBackpacker seems to offer is appealing to my sister. It is less appealing to my mom, but she's willing to try it.

Personally, I wouldn't want to travel this way, but my mom seems willing if it's what my sister wants to do. They haven't booked it yet and are looking for feedback.

Thanks for any advice you can give!
kureiff is online now  
Jul 1st, 2005, 09:57 AM
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I think your sister will LOVE it, and I think your mom will come back saying "NEVER AGAIN!"

Is your sister already talked out of going by herself? The only reason I ask is because it's completely normal to be nervous about travelling alone somewhere. I used to take tours with Contiki (not hop on/off) when I was a bit younger and didn't have any friends who could afford to go along with me. I was always nervous (to the point of dread sometimes), but that nervousness passed on the first night when I met up with my new travel buddies. On my very last Contiki tour, I met someone I liked so much that I ended up marrying him - best souvenir I ever got.

My point is that these tours are designed with the young (physically or in spirit) in mind, and really support a fun -- and SAFE -- adventure. I think that your sister would actually miss out on a lot by having your mom along, even though your mom must be an incredible person since she would subject herself to such a trip. Sure, your sister would still get to see the same things, but I guarantee her experience would be completely different (and perhaps more liberating) without your Ma in tow. These types of tours really cater to the *spontaneous* and that spontaneity might be a bit curbed if a parental eye is keeping close watch.

Good luck!
beanweb24 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2005, 11:40 AM
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If accomodations in Edinburgh are guaranteed - that is a BIG plus. Because at this late date finding a room in the city next month will be very difficult.

Wanting to travel w/ Mom is a wonderfdul idea. But if your mother is basically along to "protect" your sister -- that isn't needed at all. Scotland (or anywhere in the UK for that matter) is VERY safe as long as you have even a minimum of common sense. An 18 yo on a MacBackpackers tour will NOT be travelling alone and she will be safe.

Of course, I don't know your sister -- but, unless she can get a freind closer to her own age to go w/ her, I personally think everyone will be happier if she does this solo.

In the end, Mom may resent having to go on such a basic tour when she could afford more, and Sis may resent having Mom along once she sees how much fun there is to be had.

If danger is the main worry - MacBackpackers and Haggis are really good long established companies and she will be just fine on her own . . . .
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Jul 1st, 2005, 11:54 AM
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Thank you Janis and Beanweb! Your advice has been great.

The primary reason for travelling together was safety, but it doesn't sound as though that's an issue at all with Scotland or this tour group.

I'm curious to see whether they book MacBackpackers. You both seem to think it's a good company but certainly geared toward a younger crowd.

My mom is a good sport and an avid backpacker and camper so I'm sure she'll do fine if they decide to book the tour.

I'll pass your comments along! I wish I was going to Scotland in August!
kureiff is online now  

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