Passports & Visas
To enter Scotland (Great Britain), you need a valid passport. Citizens of the EEA member states (the 27 countries of the European Union EU, together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and many other countries including USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand do not require visas to gain entry to Scotland.
If only one parent is traveling with a child under 17 year of age and that child’s last name differs from the parent, a signed notarised letter from the parent with the same last name as the child’s authorizing permission to allow that child to travel.
For more passport information contact the U.S. Department of State (877/487–2778).
What to Pack
Bring a sweater, even in summer; waterproofs to accompany all outdoor activities; sunglasses; comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella. The weather is changeable so go for layers that you can put on or take off as the temperature changes. And if you are planing to do a lot of walking, comfortable walking shoes. Travel light and save yourself the burden of handling large and heavy luggage. In Scotland wearing casual clothes is acceptable with less emphasis on formal dress codes.
The climate in Scotland is moderate with rarely extremes in temperature.
January and February are the coldest months with an average temperature of 42.8°F.
July and August are the warmest months with an average temperature of 66.2°F.
There are variations from region to region. for example the Western Highlands experience some of the wettest weather in Europe due to the prevailing wind coming in from the Atlantic. In contrast, the Eastern part of Scotland has far less rainfall.
In Scotland the official currency is the pound sterling(£). One pound sterling consists of 100 pence.
Gratuities and tips are lower in Scotland than in the United States and some restaurants include these as a service charge on the bill. When tipping in restaurants you should pay 10 to 15 % and similarly with taxis, hairdressers and barbers.
Police, Fire, Ambulance: Telephone: 999
24 hour medical treatment is available in UK hospitals under the National Health service and you should expect to be billed but it is nowhere as expensive as it is in the United States.
The electrical current in Great Britain is 220–240 volts and the plugs are three-pronged. Adapters are widely available and it is a good idea to bring a couple for your various gadgets.
Traveline provides information on all public transportation in Scotland including timetables.
Most stations and bus terminals in Scotland will accept credit and debit cards for payment of tickets and other services.
The train service in Scotland is efficient, clean and comfortable with long distance journeys including buffet and refreshment cars. First Class, as well as standard class coaches are available on most scheduled services, with wider seats. Fares are much higher in First Class but on weekends you can upgrade for as little as £10 in some cases. Reserving tickets in advance is recommended.
Save online with The Trainline.
Travelling by Taxi
You can hail the typical black hackney taxis, like those in London on the street or book by phone with an additional 80p charge. Private taxi hire is with regular cars but all taxis must display the taxi license and a driver ID and are metered. Metering starts at £2 with increased intervals charged at 25p.
Scotland functions on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer it becomes GMT+1. For example, New York is Greenwich Mean Time -5 hours & Los Angeles is Greenwich Mean Time -8 hours.
English is commonly used throughout Scotland but in parts of the Outer Hebrides and Scottish Highlands Scots Gaelic may be spoken. Expect to see signposting in both English and Gaelic.
You will need either a full valid national driving license or an international driving permit (IDP). You can acquire an IDP from the American Automobile Association or from Automobile Association or Royal Automobile Club in the UK. IDPs are only valid with your regular driver’s licence. They are not mandatory but having one can prevent issues when dealing with local authorities.
Cars in Scotland drive on the left-hand side of the road and both driver and passengers are required to wear seat belts at all times by law. Signposts will be presented with place names in English and Scots Gaelic.
You will pay a lot more for gasoline (petrol) in the UK, about £4 per gallon. The imperial gallon is 20% more in volume than the US Gallon and is dispensed at the pump by the litre (4.5 litres to the gallon).
On street parking is available in most urban areas in Scotland. It costs around £1 per hour where fees apply. Pay and display machines, which dispense tickets, are marked with a large P. Tickets should be placed on your dashboard for viewing by traffic wardens who inspect paid-for-parking zones regularly. Parking regulations are enforced with fines of £25 for cars parked illegally.
You will also find privately run parking lots.
There are no vaccinations required to visit Scotland.