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Booking Ireland and Scotland back to back

I haven’t checked the schedules yet but we were considering booking tours for Ireland and Scotland (any order) back to back. We would already be over there so thought it made sense. Does it? We were thinking of spending a total of two weeks for these tours. What should we consider??

Posted by
8493 posts

I just finished my first (and last) set of back to back tours. The first was a 12 day tour followed by a nine day tour. I very much enjoyed both tours, but I noticed a considerable lag in my energy in the second tour vs. the first. When they say these are active tours, they are not kidding. I found that 5 to 8 miles a day for almost 4 weeks was a bit much for me.

Everything looked so good on paper. Use the same airfare, no jet lag second tour, etc. I just didn’t realize I would feel done before the tours were done. I know other people love back to back tours and thrive on them.

Posted by
6787 posts

Is there any way of tacking on an extra day or so between the tours to relax? Are they really back to back with the last day of Tour 1 and the first day of Tour 2 butting each other?

Posted by
23411 posts

We have done back to back tours but never truly back to back. We always have a few days between to do laundry, to catch up on sleep, resupply if needed, and to relax a bit. Even when we travel independently we leave the fourth or fifth day completely blank as a just in case day.

Posted by
913 posts

I would add a at least two days in between tours to rest, decompress, do laundry and tour a little bit on your own. We usually arrive a few days if taking a tour and add on a few days afterwards for the same reasons.

Posted by
1259 posts

Scotland 13s are all Tuesday thru Saturday; the 8s are all Sunday-Sunday; Ireland 14s are mostly Friday thru Saturday; 8s are all Sunday-Sunday. So, it's easy to schedule the two back to back if you can get across the UK in a day. Or you could enjoy a leisurely week between. Some folks would love the opportunity to unwind, others could go nuts.

Posted by
202 posts

I get the idea of maximizing your travel across the Atlantic. We have never done two tours back to back, but who knows, we might. Instead, we add independent travel to a tour trip, either before or after the tour. The difference in pace is really nice.

Posted by
2453 posts

We just came back from a back to back Scotland in 13 days and Ireland in 14 days. We had a few days in Edinburgh before the Scotland tour, one day in between tours and a few days in Dublin post tour. We did just fine and we are in our early to mid 70’s. We were hit be jetlag when we got home. We loved both tours.

Posted by
2453 posts

We just came back from a back to back Scotland in 13 days and Ireland in 14 days. We had a few days in Edinburgh before the Scotland tour, one day in between tours and a few days in Dublin post tour. We did just fine and we are in our early to mid 70’s. We were hit be jetlag when we got home. We loved both tours. Edited to add we did Sicily and Southern Italy in April/May back to back. Those were a bit more tiring but we were told that the Sicily tour was the most energetic of the RS tours.

Posted by
509 posts

That absolutely makes sense. I visited Ireland and Scotland in 1999. My airfare from Dublin to Edinburgh was $90 for the 1-hour flight. There is also a ferry between Belfast and Stranraer, Scotland, if you are traveling independently.

Posted by
6604 posts

Back-to-back makes sense if you have the time, money, and energy for it. As Carol pointed out, two RS tours in a row can wear you down if you're not used to that pace. As others pointed out, taking a few days between tours can help you recharge and see things on your own. My impression from this forum is that back-to-backs are fairly common. Someone, must have been just before Covid, had been planning four or five in a row. Don't know whether that really happened.

But if you want to spend only two weeks total, you won't find RS tours short enough to combine Ireland and Scotland. And I wouldn't recommend trying to see both countries in so little time anyway. Choose one or the other for the two weeks you have. Hopefully you can go back for more time in the other one.

Posted by
240 posts

If your total time for vacation is 2 weeks, pick one country and add a few days to beginning and end.
My husband and I have done back to back tours since retiring. Since most tours are around 2 weeks, if you arrive a couple days early (recommended) you are looking at 4-5 weeks. We have spent 3-8 days between the tours which allows for relaxing, laundry and exploring. We’ve enjoyed these combos. Before retiring we would arrive early and add 3-7 days at the end giving us a 3 week vacation. My husband hates flying, so combining tours has worked for us.

Posted by
14153 posts

I agree with Dick and Patty about your time frame and would vote for a longer tour of one country over 2 short tours.

I’ve done a number of back to back tours, either 2 Rick tours or 1 Rick and 1 Road Scholar. I have enjoyed them but the duos I liked best were 2 that were very different cultures. I did Southern England and Scotland back to back and by the end of the Scotland tour I could not even go in to another castle. That surprised me but also made me realize that I do best with similar cultures split up. One of my favorite combos was Best of England and Paris and the Heart of France.