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11 Scotland Highway Journey Tricks to Know Earlier than You Go


A beautiful blue sky over the rugged highlands of Scotland on a road trip
Posted: 5/23/2024 | Could twenty third, 2024

Scotland is a rugged and exquisite nation that’s excellent for exploring on a street journey. The craggy coasts, placid lochs, and rolling hills make it a dream to find. There are numerous historic castles, iconic distilleries, and postcard-perfect islands at your fingertips.

I completely love Scotland. It’s stunningly lovely and I can by no means get sufficient of the numerous altering landscapes, Scotch distilleries, and heat, welcoming locals.

Having been to Scotland over a handful of occasions within the final decade, I feel taking a street journey is one of the best ways to discover the nation. Residence to only 5.5 million individuals, it’s a sparsely populated land, a lot of your driving right here can be out within the countryside. The nation is simply constructed for it.

However there are nonetheless just a few issues to remember earlier than you depart.

Listed below are 10 Scotland road-trip suggestions (plus my favourite routes) to assist make your drive higher, safer, and extra enjoyable (primarily based on my expertise at the very least):

 

1. Get Journey Insurance coverage

I by no means go away residence with out journey insurance coverage. And I by no means hire a automobile with out complete insurance coverage both.

I do know, it’s an added expense. And likelihood is you received’t even want it.

However what occurs when you do want it and it’s not there? You’ll be paying out of pocket for injury. And that would value you hundreds.

Scotland has a lot of slender, rugged, or single-track roads (extra on these later) that may be difficult to navigate. Tire and windshield injury is frequent. Throw within the ever-changing climate, and also you’ve bought recipe for bother.

That’s why I strongly encourage you to take out automobile insurance coverage on your street journey. The peace of thoughts is value it.

With regards to renting a automobile, I like to recommend Uncover Vehicles. Whenever you ebook, it’s straightforward so as to add automobile insurance coverage onto your buy with the press of a button. The positioning makes it clear what is roofed and the way a lot it prices.

You should utilize the widget beneath to get a quote. It’s quick and free:

 

2. Lease the Proper Automobile

You primarily have two decisions in relation to renting a automobile in Scotland — and selection will drastically influence your journey. Your choices are a automobile or a campervan.

A automobile can be cheaper and use much less fuel, however you’ll have to search out lodging every night time. A campervan/RV can be extra money and require extra gas, however you’ll be able to sleep contained in the automobile and thus lower your expenses on lodging. (It’s not my jam however to every their very own.)

Each choices make for a tremendous journey, so there isn’t a incorrect reply. Simply understand that guide transmissions are the default in Scotland, so in order for you a automobile with computerized transmission, you’ll must specify that whereas reserving.
 

3. Be Able to Drive on the Left

Visitors in Scotland flows on the left, identical to the remainder of the UK. That is the other of the US, Canada, and nearly all of Europe (solely Eire, the UK, Malta, and Cyprus drive on the left in Europe).

If you happen to hire a guide automobile, you’ll be switching gears along with your left hand as a substitute of your proper, which has a little bit of a studying curve. (Personally, I desire an computerized).

Outdated habits die onerous, so when you’re used to driving on the right-hand facet of the street, drive cautiously. Driving on the left might be particularly difficult once you arrive at a roundabout (extra on that beneath) or in a metropolis. Take it sluggish at first, till you regulate.
 

4. Perceive Roundabouts

Roundabouts are a visitors circles that function intersections, as a substitute of cease lights or cease indicators. They drive autos to decelerate with out stopping the move of visitors. Whereas they aren’t particularly frequent within the US, they’re extremely common in Europe (they scale back severe visitors accidents by upwards of 90%).

Roundabouts are quite common in Scotland. They usually move in the other way (clockwise) than do these within the US (counterclockwise). When approaching a roundabout, decelerate drastically and yield to visitors within the roundabout till you may have a gap to enter the visitors circle. All visitors flows the identical path in a roundabout.

If there are a number of lanes, you’ll must be on an outer lane when exiting. The interior lane of the roundabout is for automobiles not exiting instantly.

Whenever you’re able to exit the roundabout, sign so automobiles behind you recognize you may be turning.

If you happen to’re not comfy once you arrive at a roundabout, simply take it sluggish and sign your intentions. They’re much simpler to deal with than you suppose!
 

5. Know the Pace Limits

Posted pace limits in Scotland are written in miles. Whereas that is useful for People like me, vacationers from international locations that use kilometers will need to pay additional consideration.

Frequent pace limits are:

  • Constructed-up areas: 30 MPH
  • Single roadways: 60 MPH
  • Twin roadways: 70 MPH
  • Highways: 70 MPH

These numbers are simply guides, nevertheless. All the time comply with native signage to make sure security. When doubtful, it’s all the time higher to go slower relatively than quicker till you confirm the pace. I’d write down some frequent conversions so you’ll be able to have them useful when you get confused.
 

6. Add in Time for Scenic Stops

I do know a whole lot of vacationers like to essentially plan out their routes and itineraries. Whenever you solely have just a few days, it may be tempting to plan every little thing to a T (I used to do that so much). Nevertheless, there are many diversions to discover in Scotland, from quaint cities to scenic vistas to quick hikes.

You’re going to need to pull over each couple of minutes for a vista, mountain, loch, or deserted fort. The panorama is so lovely that even the typical sights are Insta-worthy. For that purpose, construct in buffer time in your itinerary in order that, when you determine to cease or take a bit diversion, you’ll have the time. I can’t advocate this sufficient. Typically, the perfect elements of a visit are those you stumble into. And also you undoubtedly don’t need to be dashing from sight to sight both, so plan to be diverted.
 

7. Obtain the Proper Apps

I do know, once you head out on a street journey, the purpose is to get away out of your telephone so you’ll be able to benefit from the native tradition and beautiful views. Nevertheless, there are many apps on the market that may enable you lower your expenses, keep secure, and save time. Everybody road-tripping round Scotland ought to have the next apps downloaded to their telephone:

  • Met Climate – That is the perfect climate app for the UK. Circumstances can change drastically in Scotland, so plan accordingly.
  • Google Maps – The most effective app for trying up instructions. Make certain to obtain your maps so you may have them for offline use.
  • Park4Night – A useful app for locating spots to park on your RV or campervan (together with free ones).
  • Flush – A useful app for locating public restrooms.
  • Petrol Costs – An app for locating and evaluating close by fuel costs for when it’s worthwhile to refuel.

8. Deliver a Paper Map

Every time I am going on a street journey, I all the time carry a paper map. I do know, Google Maps is simple and free, and cell information protection in Scotland is usually dependable. But it surely’s higher to be secure than sorry. You by no means know when your telephone goes to interrupt, in case your sign can be misplaced (prone to occur when you’re driving by distant areas), or if there can be an emergency.

Give your self peace of thoughts: carry a paper street map, and simply go away it within the glove field. You probably received’t want it, however when you do, you’ll be glad you may have it (they make good souvenirs after a visit too).
 

9. Perceive How one can Drive on Single-Observe Roads

When you get out of the cities, it’s possible you’ll encounter single-track roads. These are primarily two-way roads that solely have house for one automobile. Which means that when you encounter oncoming visitors, there isn’t a room so that you can move each other.

Happily, these roads often have passing areas constructed into them at common intervals, permitting automobiles to tug over to make room. Reap the benefits of these once you see visitors coming, so as to simply move each other.

Moreover, take it sluggish round corners on single-track roads. Accidents can happen right here as a result of you’ll be able to’t see oncoming visitors (with whom you’re sharing a lane). So, drive slowly, and all the time be ready to cease.

Lastly, understand that many single-track roads are a bit rugged. Blowing a tire can occur simply, particularly when you’re pulling off to the facet to make room for passing autos. For that purpose, be sure you have a spare tire and that you simply even have insurance coverage protection on your tires, simply to be secure.
 

10. Don’t Rush

Whereas Scotland isn’t big, there are nonetheless a whole lot of issues see and do right here. It could be tempting to hurry, so you’ll be able to pack extra into your itinerary, however I strongly encourage you to not achieve this. High quality, not amount, is the secret. I’ve been on numerous street journeys world wide, and slower is all the time higher. Which means driving much less and spending extra time at every cease. Do this, and also you’ll be capable of soak in much more of Scotland’s distinctive tradition.

Moreover, likelihood is you’ll be driving on a whole lot of smaller, winding roads right here, typically surrounded by ambling livestock to be careful for. Which means, for security causes, you’ll must decelerate and actually give attention to the drive. Admire the sights, go away room for spontaneous detours, and neglect about dashing from sight to sight. You received’t remorse it!
 

Instructed Routes

There are just a few common street journey routes in Scotland. They every supply various things to see and do, and every require completely different quantities of time to finish. To profit from your time, choose the route that most accurately fits your journey pursuits.

Right here’s a fast take a look at just a few of the perfect street journey routes in Scotland:

North Coast 500 – That is in all probability the most well-liked street journey route within the nation. It loops across the northern tip of Scotland, often beginning and ending in Inverness. Fashionable stops embody Bealach na Bà, Cape Wrath, Smoo Cave, John o’ Groats, and Dunrobin Fort.

You’ll need at the very least 5 days, although seven days can be preferable. Simply understand that it may possibly get busy in the summertime.

Edinburgh/Glasgow to Glen Coe – Glen Coe is a picturesque valley within the Highlands that’s each a Nationwide Scenic Space and Nationwide Nature Reserve. It’s a preferred spot for photographers and hikers, and a must-visit location for anybody exploring the Highlands.

Glen Coe is simply 2-2.5 hours from Glasgow and Edinburgh, making it a simple day journey (although I recommend stopping in a single day, so you’ll be able to actually absorb the views). It’s additionally part of a number of street journey routes, together with the Argyll Coastal Route (listed subsequent).

Argyll Coastal Route – This route alongside the west coast of Scotland stretches for 129 miles (208 kilometers), from Loch Lomond to Fort Williams. It’s a fantastic different to the North Coast 500, because it’s much less common (and thus much less crowded). Fashionable stops alongside this route embody the Inveraray Jail, the cairns of Kilmartin Glen, Glen Coe, and Ben Nevis.

When you might simply drive the space in a single day, plan to spend at the very least three days. That provides you with time to see the highlights with out dashing.

Highlands Vacationer Route – Slicing throughout the japanese facet of the nation, from Aberdeen to Inverness, this route is a well-liked alternative for historical past buffs, as there are quite a few fort and museum stops, in addition to the location of the final battle on British soil, the Battle of Culloden (1746).

The route is simply 116 miles (187 kilometers), however at the very least three days are wanted to take all of it in.
 

Scotland Highway Journey FAQ

A rugged shores of Scotland on a beautiful day exploring on a road tripA rugged shores of Scotland on a beautiful day exploring on a road trip
How lengthy do you want for a Scotland street journey?
Ideally, at the very least 5-7 days. Clearly, the size will rely in your itinerary, however that could be a stable begin.

If you happen to choose a shorter route or simply need to do a weekend street journey to camp, three days will suffice.

What’s the most scenic drive in Scotland?
A number of the most scenic drives in Scotland embody the Argyll Coastal Route, the complete North Coast 500, and the Highlands Vacationer Route.

Is driving in Scotland tough?
Whereas driving within the cities generally is a ache, when you get out into the countryside, it is extremely straightforward. Simply use warning on single-track roads and in roundabouts — and do not forget that it’s a must to drive on the left!

Are you able to drive onto the Isle of Skye?
Yep! It’s related to the mainland through a bridge.

What’s the greatest month for a Scotland street journey?
Usually, April-October is the perfect time to go to. Personally, I just like the autumn, as you’ll get to see the altering leaves. It received’t be as heat, however costs can be decrease and every little thing can be much less busy.

***

Scotland is an exquisite vacation spot and ideal for street journeys. With beautiful surroundings, historic sights, plentiful mountain climbing alternatives, and attainable Loch Ness monster sightings, I feel renting a automobile to discover is one of the best ways to expertise the nation. Whether or not you need to uncover the rugged coast or weave concerning the Highlands, having a automobile or campervan will make it each attainable and inexpensive. Simply comply with the ideas above and also you’ll you should definitely have a tremendous time!

 

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Guide Your Journey to Scotland: Logistical Ideas and Tips

Guide Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to discover a low-cost flight. They’re my favourite search engine as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you all the time know no stone is left unturned.

Guide Your Lodging
You may ebook your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the largest stock and greatest offers. If you wish to keep someplace aside from a hostel, use Reserving.com as they persistently return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low-cost motels.

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage protects you in opposition to sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes incorrect. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions prior to now. My favourite firms that supply the perfect service and worth are:

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Try my useful resource web page for the perfect firms to make use of once you journey. I listing all those I exploit to economize after I’m on the street. They may prevent cash once you journey too.

Need Extra Info on Scotland?
You’ll want to go to our strong vacation spot information on Scotland for much more planning suggestions!



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