There are a choice of companies offering express coach services to Scotland (both day and night) from many cities in England. These include Scottish Citylink Coaches (telephone 08705 505050) and National Express (telephone 08705 808080).
The main coach operator providing a service throughout the whole of Scotland is Scottish Citylink Coaches, telephone 0990 505050. The Citylink Explorer Pass offers a flexible way of visiting most areas of Scotland and give exceptional value for money, including 50% off Caledonian MacBrayne Ferry passenger fares and 50p discount off the first night's stay at many of the SIH hostels.
If using Citylink Coaches to visit the main centres you can explore the majority of the more remote areas and hostels in the Highlands and Islands by using the local buses and the Postbus service (telephone 01246 546329).
Several companies provide 3 and 6 day tours of Scotland including a "jump-on/jump-off" service. The itinerary of these tours does not cover all areas of Scotland.
http://www.travelinescotland.com/welcome.do is a fantastic site for planning trips by public transport.
This can be the cheapest and most flexible way for 2--3 persons to tour Scotland. Travel at your own pace, visit the most remote areas and hostels of the Highlands and Islands and stop where and when you want.
With many of the international car hire companies it is normally cheaper to arrange and pay in advance in your own country for thecar hire. It is always cheaper to hire a car in the major cities as rural garages often charge a higher basic daily rate plus a surchargeon distance travelled.
When travelling by road, travel news is obviously of vital importance, especially in winter when bad weather can close some of the higher routes. For up to the minutes travel news visit the RAC and AA websites.