BEFORE YOU GO
If you're interested in a trip to Scotland, you've come to the right place.
Below you'll find all the information you need about how to pack for your adventure, what to prepare for logistically with your flights and travel documents, and the nitty-gritty details like which side of the road you drive on in Scotland. Take a look and let us know if you have any additional questions! We're always happy to chat and can be reached directly at 1.888.870.0903.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: WHAT'S THE WEATHER LIKE?
When the sun shines in Scotland, it is the best place in the world to be. When it doesn’t, it is the second best place to be! Although the Scottish climate is renowned for its variability, it is not nearly as rainy as you might think.
During spring and early summer, meadows of wild flowers bring an abundance of colors to the landscape and it is a great time to experience Scotland’s rich wildlife and birdlife. May and June are the driest and sunniest months, with normal daytime temperatures of 57-64°F. The northerly latitude also means that Scotland enjoys four hours more daylight than London, with the most northerly regions barely getting dark during the weeks around midsummer.
July and August are typically the warmest months with normal daytime temperatures of 60-71°F. Scotland’s famous purple heather is at its best in late August.
Late summer brings generally settled weather as we pass into September and October, and beautiful fall colors begin to emerge with birch and rowan trees showing off particularly bright foliage.
Q: WHAT'S THE TIME ZONE?
Scotland and the UK use GMT which is five hours ahead of east coast USA and Canada and eight hours ahead of west coast USA.
Q: WHAT LANGUAGE DO THEY SPEAK?
English is the official language of the UK, and comes with a wide range of regional accents in Scotland. One of only four surviving Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, also remains a living language, particularly in the Outer Hebrides and Skye.
Q: WHAT'S THE FOOD LIKE?
Food in Scotland is delicious. Fresh and flavor-packed produce like seafood and all kinds of meat (including beef, pork, chicken) will generally be part of the daily menus. Be sure to sample some of the wonderful Scottish beer and ale, as well as the whiskies that Scotland is famous for. Dietary requirements such as vegetarian and gluten-free will be catered for with advance notice, although Scotland is typically a meat eating nation. Scotland’s well known dish, Haggis, is often offered in both a meat eaters and vegetarian format.
Q: HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I BRING?
The monetary unit in the UK is the Pound Sterling (£). £1 is made up of 100 pence (p). Travelers’ cheques are not very convenient as not many places accept them apart from banks. The best way to get cash is at ATMs, which are widely available. You might have difficulty finding them in the remote Scottish Highlands, but you can always ask your guide for help. Most hotels, shops, and restaurants in Scotland accept credit cards (though some places may charge for using them). Credit cards are less widely accepted in more remote rural areas and smaller establishments so ensure that you have some cash. It’s a good idea to carry about $300 per person in the local currency in addition to money you have allocated for staff gratuities. Come with a few options so you’re not scrambling, and remember to store everything in a money belt or pouch for safe keeping.
Q: WHAT'S THE DEAL ON TIPPING?
Tipping is entirely voluntary and greatly appreciated but never expected in Scotland. If you do decide to leave a tip, how much you give depends on how you feel about the service you have received. If you believe that you have received outstanding service from your guides, they would welcome any monetary gift at the end of the trip which shows your gratitude for their exceptional service and expertise. An example of how much some clients choose to tip their guides is around £5 (about $6 USD) per guide per day, depending on the length of the trip. Gratuity for hospitality services is normally 10%-15% of the bill. People usually tip in restaurants, hotels, and to the local guides. Taxi drivers, baggage carriers, and bar tenders do not expect tips.
Q: CAN I USE MY CELL PHONE?
Even if you have an international plan, you may or may not get service in some parts of Scotland. Check with your provider before leaving the country. But hey, don’t you want to unplug anyway?
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS AND VACCINATIONS
PASSPORT & VISAS
Scotland is part of the United Kingdom. If you are a non-UK citizen, you are advised to check with your local embassy and/or online here to confirm if you will need a visa for travel to the UK.
Before you leave home, make several photocopies of your passport. We also recommend bringing at least two extra 2x2 passport photographs. This will facilitate the replacement of your passport in the event your passport is lost or stolen. Keep your passport, money, vouchers, and international air tickets in a money belt or pouch.
- Your passport must be valid for six months after your date of entry into antarctica
- Please have 2-3 blank pages in your passport, you world traveler you!
CHARGERS AND ADAPTORS
Electricity in Scotland 240V AC. A UK universal AC adaptor is required if you're visiting from outside the UK—plug Type G.
In general, no special immunizations or medications are necessary for travel to the United Kingdom. You can also check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The following are recommended by the CDC for all travelers.
Driving around Scotland is a great way to see more of the country during your trip. Before you head out exploring Scotland by car, there are a few rules and regulations you should be aware of:
- Driving license: Visitors coming to Scotland from European Union (EU) countries with a valid license can drive in Scotland. Visitors from countries outside of the EU can also drive in Scotland and throughout the UK for up to 12 months, provided their license is still valid in the country in which it was issued.
- Insurance: All drivers using roads in Scotland and the UK must have at least third-party insurance cover.
- Driving on the left: In Scotland and throughout the UK, driving is always on the left-hand side of the road.
THINGS YOU'LL NEED
- Waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support
- Hiking socks that are wool based
- Lightweight and quick-drying pants
- Shorts that are comfortable to walk in
- Waterproof and breathable pants
- Leg gaiters to protect your lower legs from wet grass
- Quick drying t-shirts
- Base layers such as Patagonia or Icebreaker tops
- One long sleeve travel shirt
- One heavier weight fleece top
- Fully waterproof and breathable jacket
- Hat (both for sun and warmth)
- Water bottle or hydration pack
- Small day pack (25-35 liters). This will be for carrying water, your packed lunch, camera, additional clothing, etc. (don't forget a waterproof cover for the pack!)
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- Personal blister kit
- Walking poles
- Buff (neck gaiter)
- Normal prescriptions and traveler’s meds for heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea, and sea-sickness
Remember! Your carry-on should include your passport, money, toiletries, camera, and a spare set of clothes.
WHEN YOU'RE IN THE AIR
Check-in time for all international flights is three hours prior to departure time. This allows for delays at the security screening units in each terminal. There is no first class fast track through security screening, so get there early to avoid any stress.
First of all, take a deep breath. You’ve already packed a spare set of clothes, your passport, money, and camera in your carry-on. Next, provide your airline with contact and delivery information for your first stop. Let our ground operator there know that your luggage has been lost, and they will track it while you enjoy your stay.
IN CASE YOU MISS US
If your family needs to contact you for emergency reasons while you are away, please have them call the Outside GO office in Santa Fe at (505) 795-7710.
For after hour emergencies, please use the following:
SANDY CUNNINGHAM | (505) 231-0699 | firstname.lastname@example.org
BRITTANY BENGRY | (616) 401-9058 | email@example.com
CHIP CUNNINGHAM | (505) 231-0355 | firstname.lastname@example.org
- When dialing from the United States, the U.S. exit code “011” must be dialed prior to the international number for Scotland, "44"
- When dialing locally within Scotland, drop the “0” at the beginning of the number