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SCOTLAND TRAVEL TIPS

Scotland is a nation in northwest Europe and one of the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom. It occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shares a land border to the south with England. Apart from the mainland, Scotland consists of over 790 islands. Edinburgh, the country's capital and second largest city, is one of Europe’s largest financial centers. Scotland’s largest city is Glasgow, located on the banks of the River Clyde, in West Central Scotland. The population of Scotland numbers over 5 million with over 1 million living in Greater Glasgow.

Time
Scotland is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) which is one hour behind Central European Time and five hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time

Currency
Currency in Scotland is the Pound Sterling. One pound is comprised of 100 pence and coins can be obtained in 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2 denominations. Bank notes are commonly divided into £5, £10, £20 and £50 amounts. Scottish banks also issue a £1 notes which can be used as legal tender anywhere in the United Kingdom. Money can be exchanged in banks, at foreign exchange bureaus and hotels. The exchange bureaus are generally open for longer than banks are but charge higher commission rates. Banks are usually open from 9:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday. Some banks are also open on Saturdays. If you plan to use American Express, MasterCard or Visa Cards, you will find that credit cards and debits cards are widely accepted. There are also a multitude of ATMs available throughout Scotland so you will have easy access to cash.

Passports
Valid passports are required by Canadian & U.S. citizens traveling to Scotland. Remember to bring your passport with you and keep it safely on your person - not in your suitcase. You will need it at the airports on departure and arrival and when changing travelers checks. We recommend that you keep a separate note of your passport details (number, expiration date, place and date of issue) in a separate place in case of loss or theft. A visa is not required for Canadian and U.S. citizens to enter Scotland.

Embassy
United Kingdom - EDINBURGH

Consulate of Canada
Address: 50 Lothian Road, Burness, Edinburgh
Tel: 44 (0) 7702 359-916
Emergency toll-free to Ottawa: 00-800-2326-6831
Email: canada.consul@blueuonder.co.uk

Electricity
Electricity in Scotland is 220 volts, 50 cycles per second. An adaptor is needed. Most hotels will supply hair dryers and irons.

Weather
Scotland's climate is generally cool and wet. It is influenced by the North Atlantic Drift, a warm sea current from the Caribbean, which keeps Scotland's coast ice free in winter. The climate is oceanic, with no extreme variations or exceptional events like tornadoes, droughts or widespread floods, but the day to day weather can vary enormously and unpredictably. The average temperatures in May range from 43-59 degrees F. The average temperatures in September range from 46-61 degrees F.

What to Pack
Travel light, dress comfortably, and pack easy care items. It's best to dress in layers so you can shed items if you get warm during the day. An all-weather coat with a removable liner is excellent for traveling. Make sure you have strong, comfortable shoes. Casual clothes are appropriate but something dressy for dinner in hotels. Bring a bathing suit as some hotels have indoor swimming pools. It may be advisable to bring a washcloth as not all hotels provide these.

Baggage and Porterage
The cost of porterage for one large suitcase per person is included on coach tours (size should not exceed 30x20x10 inches). Please ensure that all baggage is clearly labeled and that baggage tags are completed correctly and attached securely to each piece of luggage. We suggest that you also put identification inside each suitcase, in case the outside tag becomes detached. Hand baggage (including purses, coats, umbrellas etc.) is entirely in your own care. All baggage is carried at owner’s risk. Luggage carts are available at most airports.

Tips to Driver and Guide
Tips to the Tour Director and Driver are not included in your tour cost and are left to your discretion. A gratuity to your coach crew is an individual expression of your appreciation and is usually presented in a sealed envelope at the end of your tour.

Suggested tip guidelines are as follows:
Driver/Guide(one man) $6.00 per day
Guide $5.00 per day
Driver $4.00 per day

There is, of course, no obligation whatsoever on you to tip-it is a matter left totally to your own discretion.

Smoking
Smoking is not allowed on motorcoach tours. However, frequent rest and sightseeing stops are made when there are opportunities to smoke.

Manners and Customs
Scotland is a forthright and friendly place with a long tradition of hospitality which has not faded. Residents of countryside hamlets and the western islands may overwhelm you with their warm and enthusiastic welcome. Tipping is part of the way of life and is expected by most who provide service (e.g. taxi drivers, hotel doormen, and airport and railway porters.) As a general guide 10-15% of the cost of the service should be considered. In hotels and restaurants it's worth checking whether a service charge has been added to the bill.

Food and Drink
Haggis is probably the best known Scottish delicacy. It is rich in flavor, however some people are put off as it is made from sheep's offal. Fresh salmon, trout, herring, game and potato are also commonly featured on menus. Scottish Whisky or Scotch is world famous and is sold around the globe. It has been distilled in Scotland for centuries and was originally referred to as the water of life.

Shopping Hours
Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5:30pm. Some stores may be open on Sunday mornings.

Best Buys
Scotland makes some of the world's best clothing you'll find a very good selection of tartans, woolens and tweeds. Edinburgh crystal, shortbread, Edinburgh rock (candy), bagpipes, sheepskin clothing, china, silver jewelry, crystal and whisky are also good buys.

Postal Office
Open Mondays to Fridays 9am to 5:30pm, and Saturdays, 9am to 12 noon.

Telephone
The country code is +44 (dialing in) and international access 00 (dialing out).

Public Facilities
'Public Conveniences', 'WC' or 'male' and 'female' symbols identify toilets throughout Scotland.

Links to useful information
http://www.visitscotland.com
http://www.scotland.com
http://www.scotlandtourism.com

 

 

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