Well I will not take much of your time and will share some of my own experienced ideas for you so that you can plan this fabulous but little disappointing trip in advance.
1- The tour bus/coaches – They are highly professionals and hardly gives you any time to spend at the main shore stoppage of Loch Ness. (Not more than 10-15 minutes).
2- The drivers/guides – Ours was a female guide driver who kept guiding us about certain eateries and washrooms but again she was also highly professional and was driving quite fast. So try to get a seat near window to see and click the beautiful Scotland’s highland.
3- Be quick – You are initially going to see micro seconds glimpses of Harry Potter related sites and major 3-4 bridges of Ireland. So just keep your eyes open for the first 1 hour of the start of your trip.
4- Hire a cab/car – Loch Ness or Harry Potter trips if you are a big fan go for personal transport. You will be able to see the places in real and with plenty of own time.
5- Not much vegetarian feasts around – Just keep some good and heavy snacks and cold drinks with you. Eat ice creams and baked cakes and muffins. These trips stop at small hypermarkets or eateries where you can hardly get any good vegetarian meal kind of thing. Plan in advance.
6- Washrooms – A big issue almost everywhere. Initially they stop in between and there is a public toilet with 50 Pennies fees. Go for it. If you are opting for that small restaurant’s free toilet, trust me at least 60-70 people will be there in line. Again I insist opt for own transport if you wish to avoid such things.
7- Short time stoppage – Each place they stop for very short time and that is for reason. They need to return back in time to Edinburgh. Roads are highly zigzagged and they must be trying to keep you safe. Better come back to the bus/coach in time.
8- Shopping – All prices on highland tour stoppages shops are bit cheaper from Edinburgh. So better buy from there. I repented for not buying a bag for 49 GBPs and because I loved it so much so bought the same one in Edinburgh for 55 GBPs.
9- Avoid small kids – This trip is not meant for small kids like below 10 years. As 80% of the time you are in bus sitting and looking outside. They are bore, lot many start howling and crying as well. Opt for personal vehicles to avoid such issues if you can afford.
10- Trip plan – Check the facts before booking. Like in our trip we saw one World war soldiers memorial, Loch Ness, Three Sisters mountain range etc but we thought they are taking us Isle of sky as well. Our fault that it was not included.
Please do check the fact that if you are going for a whole lake’s trip(not possible by being in guided tour in bus/coach or just crossing the lake for good money to reach the other side of the lake?Make sure with the driver/guide about this. People think they are paying for whole lake’s trip. But whole lake’s trip is very expensive and needs 2-4 hours in fact. Only possible by a days trip in own vehicle.
Last tip. Keep the google around. When your guide asks you that how many Lochs(Lakes) are there in Scotland? 10-20-30? And if you reply 4000 plus actually ….. they feel happy for their country. They are very proud of William Wallis and their heroes mentions in several Hollywood movies as well.
Our tour guide/driver – Ms Kelly(amazing person)