I am planning on visiting Scotland on May and I have a few questions... First, is it really expensive (food, accomodations, transports)? I planned on renting a car, but I don't now how and if it is expensive and if it is hard to drive in Scotland?
Thanks for the help
It's not exactly budget, but it's certainly doable. Depending on where you go, you can get great rates all over Scotland.
In Edinburgh, I've gotten the best deals on B&B rooms at Str'aven Inn, which is on the east side (Portobello), and right on the beach of the Firth of Forth. Very quiet and charming neighborhood. It is a short bus ride into downtown. The McCools, who own the Inn, can give you directions. Don't drive in Edinburgh. It will only frustrate you. Best to rent a car when you leave. There is a National Rent-A-Car on the west side of the main city center, right across from the rugby stadium, which is right on the main road that goes out to Stirling.
The youth hostels are pretty comfortable. I really like the one at Loch Lomond. It is on the east side of the loch, not the touristy west side, and right at the base of Ben Lomond. It's called Rowardennan.
Oban is a great town to make as a base for a few days. You can get a really inexpensive, comfortable room and it's within easy driving distance of quite a few areas in the Highlands or a ferry ride out to the Isles of Mull, Iona, etc. Tanglin Inn on Bredalbane is a very good place.
If you're okay with driving on the opposite side of the road, driving in Scotland is extremely easy. The roads are well maintained, there are pull-offs about every mile or so, everything is very well marked on the highways. If you are a coffee drinker, though, bring your own or drink tea. I think I've stopped at every gas station and otherwise and have yet to find something tasty. Also, maybe bring a few CDs of Scottish folk music with you, because it's kinda hard sometimes to pick up a radio station at some points in the Highlands, and nothing spoils the scenery more than listening to the likes of Brittany Spears and so forth.
The great thing about food is that if you stay at a B&B, breakfast is included, and Scottish breakfast is wonderful! Plus, it fills you up so that all you really want is a light lunch. Food can really be done on the cheap.
To rent a car, just go directly to a few rental agencies direct web sites to compare prices. Word of warning: the Avis car rental in E-burgh is a little hard to find, especially at night, and driving out of the neighborhood at night is confusing.
Righteo, the UK in general can be quite expensive. How to do it on the cheap...
Food, DIY! Tesco & Asda supermarkets are pretty cheap and you can get everything you need plus a kitchen sink from them.
Transport...tough one. Whatever you choose will probably be expensive. If you're looking to shuttle between the cities then have a look at www.megabus.com for some bargains. Although getting your own set of wheels is ideal for seeing the best bits of the country. Driving in Scotland is fairly easy (says he who drives on the left) but the only thing that you'd have to be careful with are the small roads in more rural areas, quite narrow.
Accommodation. You could take a tent which would make things a little cheaper. Otherwise make some Scottish friends and get the ultimate backpacker dream, free accommodation!
To rent cars, avoid the big companies, avis, hertz, etc, much much more expensive. Try using holidayautos.com or
which i haven't tried but should give you a comparison of different rental brokers.
Alternatively, you can use trains, and if you book well in advance, ie now or as soon as you know where you want to go, you can get good deals. check outhttp://www.thetrainline.com
Also, if you like good live music, great bars, beautiful parks and fantastic people, you have to check out Glasgow. Edinburgh is very pretty in a touristy kind of way, Glasgow, as their advertising says is "Scotland, with style."
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 7, 2007, at 2:43 AM by monkeycat ]
definitely rent a car if u dont mind driving on the left, its the only way to really see the highlands... beware of trucks coming round tite corners though, as they have no fear!!!
please DO NOT, for any reason, hire a car from 'capital car rental' in edinburgh... they are really dodgy and ripped us off 200 pounds by illegally charging us a deposit twice!
Car rental in the UK in general is expensive - we paid £70 for a basic model for 3 days in Edinburgh last May - yet when we were in New Zealand recently that would have paid for around 7 days or more! Fuel is expensive the government like to tax us for the pleasure!
You can eat as cheaply or as expensively as you wish - supermarkets which are listed are a good cheap option if you are self catering, you can always go to a cafe/fast food joint (McDonalds etc) and have lunch or dinner for £5 or if you wish to splash out in Glasgow and Edinburgh especially you can have all the fine dining you would wish for!
Transportation - l would guess your best bet is to hire a car but as the others have said we drive on the left! Check out easycar hire; avis; budget; eurocar; or hertz.
Good luck - l hope the sun shines for you - as Scotland is absolutely beautiful when the sun shines!
If you decide not to rent a car it is possible to get around most of the highlands on the postbus.
If you want some really good recomendations from a true scot (in kilt and all!) go visit my mate Brian at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, on Lothian rd - rite in the heart of Edinburgh! He's a concierge there...
I used to work with him and he is an absolute champion who's always happy to help a lost tourist... tell him benny evo sent u and listen out for his laugh!
He loves it if people say "Whooooooo!" Pass on my regards if you do get the chance...