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Navigating the roads of Scotland

WinniWoman

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We do not have a GPS. (We had one and it no linger works and don't want to buy another one) Where can we get a driving/road map of Scotland?

Also, we only have business cell phones (provided to us by our employers for job use). I have Verizon on an Android and my husband has Sprint on an antiquated phone. We would not be calling anyone - only would use in an emergency. Will they work there? What do we need to know? We have never been overseas.
 

Chrisky

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We do not have a GPS. (We had one and it no linger works and don't want to buy another one) Where can we get a driving/road map of Scotland?

Also, we only have business cell phones (provided to us by our employers for job use). I have Verizon on an Android and my husband has Sprint on an antiquated phone. We would not be calling anyone - only would use in an emergency. Will they work there? What do we need to know? We have never been overseas.

When we visited Scotland, we also didn't have a GPS. Before arriving we used this site to give us driving instructions. I printed up the instructions and we never got lost.
http://www.theaa.com/
We purchased a road map upon our arrival. You should also be able to get a map in any of the larger bookstores in the US.
 

tlwmkw

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If you are renting a car then the rental company can provide GPS- they call it Sat Nav there (from Satellite Navigation) it is well worth it especially because the roads are constantly being reworked with one way systems, etc and the GPS will be up-to-date. We've done this in England and Scotland and it was great.

tlwmkw
 

Passepartout

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If you are comfortable with paper maps, Michelin are the best. Their #0713 is the whole of Great Britain & Ireland and #8501 is their mini map of Scotland. Here's their website: http://www.michelinonline.co.uk/travel/nat.htm I have bought them at B&N, too.

Here's a Rick Steves' article on phones in Europe: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/...one-europe.htm

If I were gambling I'd say your current phones won't work there. Pre-paid el cheapo cell phones are available after you get there.

Jim
 
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DeniseM

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Excuse me for pointing out the obvious, but you know they drive on the other side of the road, right? Many roads are winding and narrow and virtually one lane. Driving in Scotland is not for the faint of heart!
 

Passepartout

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Aw, heck Denise, where's your sense of adventure? Traffic coming at ya from the right, traffic circles in the middle of high speed highways. Narrow roads with rock walls beside 'em. Pipers playing for donations along the lochs. It's part of the fun of travel! :)

Jim
 

DeniseM

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Aw, heck Denise, where's your sense of adventure? Traffic coming at ya from the right, traffic circles in the middle of high speed highways. Narrow roads with rock walls beside 'em. Pipers playing for donations along the lochs. It's part of the fun of travel! :)

Jim

Driving in Scotland takes skill and concentration. Many American drivers have neither! :D
 

wauhob3

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Definitely rent the smallest car possible. We are spoiled and used to having wide lanes and shoulders. We made the mistake of renting a midsize car and clipped a stone fence on the edge of a narrow road.
 

WinniWoman

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Thanks everyone for your suggestions!

Denise - you are scaring me! I am leery of driving as it is! But, I feel we need a car to really see the area since we are staying at Kilconquhar Castle resort for just a week and flying into Edinburgh. At least that is what everyone has been telling me.:eek:
 

WinniWoman

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We booked a compact car and it is automatic from Hertz through CarRentals.com.
 

LynnW

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We also booked a compact car in Scotland through Hertz and we received an upgrade to a Volvo. It was a nice car with heated leather seats but we kept saying this car is too wide for the roads! There was a couple of blind corners on the way from town to our resort where there was no room for two cars to pass so one had to pull over. Do try to get a small car.

Lynn
 
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We booked a compact car and it is automatic from Hertz through CarRentals.com.

I'd recommend an automatic if you're wary about driving on the left. The roads in Scotland are fine and relatively quiet once away from the big cities. However if this is the first time you've driven abroad (and on a different side) then having an automatic gives you one less thing to worry about.
 

Passepartout

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We went to Scotland to get married(another story :) ) and rented a 'people mover'- a giant- by local standards- diesel, automatic VW van. It was my first experience driving left, but after a couple of minor mishaps of going the wrong way it was fine. Though I am very comfortable with a manual transmission, the automatic did remove one extra detail of getting around. Plus, other members of the group could share the driving duties.

We didn't get a GPS, so whenever we took an outing into Edinburgh or out in the country, it was one person driving-usually me- and someone- map on lap- navigating. The roads especially out of the cities and away from the superhighways are a bit snug, but there was always enough room. We found that folding the mirrors in when parked helped.

I don't recommend driving when one visits the distilleries. Even a little. Leave that to someone else.

I can hardly wait for the OP to return and post her experiences. A first trip abroad is such an eye-opener.

Jim
 

KevJan

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Just wondering if driving is Scotland is worse that driving in Ireland. We had no trouble after the first day in Ireland and will be going to Scotland next year.
 

persia

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I have a driving license in both the US and Australia. It's fairly easy to adjust to the opposite side of the road driving, it becomes quite natural quickly and there's usually traffic to remind you which side you should be on! People tend to make a big deal out of nothing. Samoa recently switched from Right to Left and by mid-afternoon of the day they switched traffic was moving normally.

Excuse me for pointing out the obvious, but you know they drive on the other side of the road, right? Many roads are winding and narrow and virtually one lane. Driving in Scotland is not for the faint of heart!
 

DeniseM

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I guess everyone is different, but it was a big deal for me. ;)
 

Laurie

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Just wondering if driving is Scotland is worse that driving in Ireland. We had no trouble after the first day in Ireland and will be going to Scotland next year.
No, we found it easier in Scotland than in Ireland.

Most US credit cards won't cover insurance in Ireland but will in Scotland, so that should tell you something. :)

By the way, my avatar shows the bonny bonny banks... happy travels to all setting out for Scotland.
 

scotlass

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We do not have a GPS. (We had one and it no linger works and don't want to buy another one) Where can we get a driving/road map of Scotland?

Also, we only have business cell phones (provided to us by our employers for job use). I have Verizon on an Android and my husband has Sprint on an antiquated phone. We would not be calling anyone - only would use in an emergency. Will they work there? What do we need to know? We have never been overseas.

If you want to call back to the states, you can purchase a phone card at BJ's or Costco that will work at a pay phone or hotel phone in the UK. You just need the international access phone number. If you want to make calls around the UK, purchase a phone when you get there. Go to the "Car Phone Store" where you can get a phone and minutes fairly cheaply.

The roads in Scotland are definitely easier to maneuver than in Ireland. The roundabouts are always a challenge but if you follow the rules and only drive into them when it is clear, you should be okay. The larger ones sometimes have traffic lights which makes it easier.

Any large bookstore, Barnes and Noble for example, that has a travel section will have a map of Scotland or at least the UK. Have a wonderful time!
 

MomoD

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Driving in Scotland

When using roundabouts in the UK always give way to traffic on YOUR right. Just take your time and you will be fine. Yes the roads are much more narrow than in the USA, but some of the roads are so quite the only thing you will see is a tractor.

Scotland is beautuful if somewhat wet and full of midges (I am a scot from Glasgow) but the scenery and friendly people make up for the bad weather.

Hope you have a fabulous holiday. :)

Maureen
 

Talent312

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My DW, two stepsons and I flew into Inverness and spent several days
wandering down to Edinburgh in a rental car that resembled a large van.

I got used to driving on the left fairly quickly, but encountered three issues:

1. Finding a spot wide enuff in a parking lot at Loch Ness.
2. Our GPS tried to put us on a road under construction in Edinburgh.
3. If the GPS says make a U-Turn, turn Right, not Left (into a dead-end).

Even with a GPS, we ordered a paper map from Amazon.
We used a copier to enlage just the sections of Scotland we were doing.
 

WinniWoman

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We are going in June, so we are hoping for a little drier weather, but will be prepared for whatever we get! Thanks for all the suggestions on driving the roundabouts and making a U-Turn. I am going on Amazon right now to look for a map!
 

dude-luv

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Consider the trains

Just got back from a week in Scotland (exchange based in Edinburgh). Used the train system as they had great deals for people my age. Went to Glasgow and Inverness. As pedestrians, never got used to which way the traffic was coming when crossing the street. Couldn't trust my instincts because cars would come out of nowhere. Developed the habit of running fast (brings back the days of running on the track team). Inverness is small but lovely and Edinburgh is a great European city.
 

beejaybeeohio

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Thanks everyone for your suggestions!

Denise - you are scaring me! I am leery of driving as it is! But, I feel we need a car to really see the area since we are staying at Kilconquhar Castle resort for just a week and flying into Edinburgh. At least that is what everyone has been telling me.:eek:

I would advise that you drive to the Kirkcaldy station, park and take the train into Edinborough.

We enjoyed driving from Kilconquhar around the countryside, but didn't want the hassle of city driving. No GPS when we were there in '04 but we wouldn't be without one in Europe since we had the use of one on our Swiss rental a few years back. Our Garmin came loaded with Europe maps and it, along with me the mapreader, still manages to get us lost every now and then, but not nearly as much as when we traveled w/out a GPS.
 

Timeshare Von

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We did two weeks in the UK (a week each in Scotland & England). My DH drove and other than one bit of confusion in Carlisle (a border city) on a busy Saturday morning, he did fabulously. So much so, it's willing to take on Ireland this coming spring.

We didn't buy any UK maps, and felt that winging it to see the areas we wanted to was just fine. The map we got from the car rental place (Hertz) sufficed to get between the timeshares and attractions we wanted to see. That was part of the adventure we enjoyed.

That said, we did us Mapquest to get us from/to the airports from the timeshares as both were somewhat remote (i.e., not in major cities).
 
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