17 Top Scotland Packing List Items + What NOT to Bring (2018 Update)

1) Warm Clothes – Scotland has a temperate to cold climate. It’s also said to be one of the windiest places in Europe. Therefore, you’re going to want to bring plenty of thick, weather-resistant garments to protect you from the elements while you’re there. This is especially true if you come from a warmer climate.You’ll also want to bring enough clothesto last you about a week. Even if you’re staying longer than that, it’s generally cheaper to wash them than it is to pay any extra luggage fees.
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2) Cellphone & Paraphernalia – You’ll definitely need your phone to stay in touch with the rest of the world.Of course, the standard GPS feature will come in handy but there are numerous apps you can download that will come in handy as well. Other phone accoutrements that you may want to bring along for the ride include memory cards and portable phone rechargers. It might even be worth buying adata roaming plan to use while you’re abroad.
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3) Toiletries – Don’t forget to bring along anything you need to stay clean and presentable during your trip. Good items to have on hand include hand sanitizer, face wipes, a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner bars, soap, a quick-drying washcloth, deodorant, dental floss, a small brush, lip balm, and hair ties.
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4) First Aid Supplies – Even if you’re not accident prone like I am, it’s still a good idea to take along the basics. While you can certainly purchase first aid kits, you probably have most of those supplies at home already. Just put together a small bag containing the items that you’ll need such as bandages, wound care cream, and pain killers of some sort. Tweezers are also helpful. If you take prescriptions medicines, double-check to be sure they’re allowed in country before bringing them along. Make sure to keep all prescriptions in their original container, with the doctor’s note clearly visible to avoid running into any problems.
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5) Walking Shoes – You’ll need to bring closed-toed shoes that have good traction and that cover your entire foot. After all, you don’t want to be walking around on uneven ground or climbing up hills in flip-flops. It’s just asking for a twisted ankle or worse.
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6) Rain Gear – Although there are plenty of sunny days in Scotland, the country sees rain a great deal of the time as well. It’s best to plan accordingly so you aren’t soaked to the skin when the clouds roll in. Ponchos work great if you don’t have much space in your bags. After all, they can be folded into a tiny ball to squeeze in your suitcase orunfurled to cover both you and your bags. But if you’ve got more stylish and/or warmer raincoats, feel free to bring them along.
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7) Refillable Water Bottle – Having a refillable water bottle on hand allows you to save a fortune at airports everywhere. It also helps travelers avoid dehydration when trekking up mountainsides or after wandering around for hours because their GPS gave them bad directions. Although plastic soda bottles can also be refilled with water, it’s worth spending the extra money on a decent one so that your beverages don’t end up tasting like baked plastic.
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8) Travel Pillow – These two items will allow you to sleep more comfortably on long journeys and bringing your own ensures that the sleep aids you’re using are clean.Having a blanket on handcan also come in handy when it’s too hot for the duvet the hostels provide but too chilly to sleep in just your pajamas.
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9) Snacks – It’s almost inevitable that you’ll end up on a flight that taxis around the runway for hours or a bus that gets stuck in traffic until long after everything is closed. To avoid being hungry with nothing to eat, it’s a good idea to keep edibles on hand.Ideal options include granola, beef jerky, candy bars, and some types of fruit. You just want to make sure that the item in question doesn’t require prep work, won’t make a mess, and hasn’t got a horrendous odor that will offend everyone around you. You’ll likewise want to avoid anything that has to be kept cold, unless you are carrying an insulated bag that’s got an ice-pack in it.
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10) Universal Adapters – You will need one of these to keep from frying your electronics. If you forget, some hostels/hotel willeither loan you one or let you buy one from their reception desk. Just keep an eye on these contraptions because they’re easy to lose and people do steal them.
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11) Laundry Soap – Make sure to check the temperatures for when you are heading to Machu Picchu.
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12) Durable Luggage – Feel free to use what you have on hand. Just make sure that the luggage in question will hold all your gear, can stand up to the rigors of travel, and fits into your travel plans. For instance, travelers who plan on flying with just carry-on bags may want to stick to squishy backpacks since hard-sided suitcases are harder to force into overhead bins that are already crammed full of stuff. It’s also unlikely that you’ll be asked to stow your pack in the luggage compartment on the train or in the hold of the bus. If you want to have your belongings on hand at all times, a moderately sized backpack is the best way to go. However, if you plan on checking your bags on the plane and not moving around much, a hard-sided suitcase may work better for you.
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13) Quick Drying Travel Towel – You can purchase these online or make your own, but you’re definitely going to need one. Having a towel that dries quickly enables you to throw it in your bag and keep moving soaking your other belongings in the process. It’s still a good idea to wrap your towel up in a waterproof bag of some sort if it hasn’t fully dried by time you depart your hostel, just to be on the safe side.
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14) Bug Repellent – This item is possibly optional, depending on when you plant on being in the country. However, midges are blood-sucking Scottish pests that come out in full force during the summer months. If you plan on visiting then, be sure to bring your bug spray or you’ll risk getting eaten alive. Most travel guides recommend Avon Skin So Soft, but any protection is better than nothing at all.
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Other Things You Might Need

What to Wear in Scotland

1) Sturdy, practical, warm clothes that will stand up to repeated washings.

2) Durable footwear with good traction, that’s suitable for hiking up steep mountainside and trekking across uneven pavement.

3) A poncho or a waterproof jacket.

4) A coat or a thick sweater. The climate tends to be windy and cool at the best of times so it’s smart to be prepared.

What NOT to Take to Scotland

1) 🚫 Weighty Items – You’re better off leaving your heavier burdens behind. This will not only save you some money when it comes to things like checked bags, it’ll also help prevent theback strain that comes from carting around too much stuff.Items like hardback books and extra shoes are prime examples of things that you can do without.
2) 🚫 Valuables – Anything that you can’t afford to lose and don’t desperately need to bring with you should be left behind. This applies to everything from expensive electronics to items with sentimental value. These things can and do get lost or stolen with amazing frequency. Because, let’s be honest, no one really wants to steal your old, unwashed clothes.
3) 🚫 Uncomfortable Footwear – Shoes that aren’t well broken in should be left behind. You’re also better off leaving your high heels behind. Edinburgh has got some very steep staircases and there are plenty of other places with equally step gradients that you’re better off not trying to navigate in heels.
4) 🚫 Beach Wear – Unless polar plunging is your thing or you’re making a trip in the middle of the summer, you’re probably not going to need beach wear.It’s true that Scotland has some gorgeous shorelines. But you still might not want to venture in the water, which can be pretty cold at the best of times. So just plan on rolling up your jeans and taking your shoes off, if you’re feeling adventuresome.

FAQs about Traveling in Scotland?

1) What’s a good basic daily budget?

Price of Travel recommends $75 as a basic daily rate for Edinburgh. I found that to be fairly accurate, even if some of the paid attractions like Edinburgh Castle are pretty hard on the wallet. Stick to the free museums or thelower-priced attractions and you should be fine. Costs outside the main city do tend to be slightly cheaper as well. However, if you’re taking one of the prepackaged tours of the country, you will need to budget $300 to $500 for that as well. Just be sure to read the fine print so that you know what’s included and what additional things you will have to pay for on your own.

2) When is the best time to go?

It depends on what you’re planning to do, of course. The summer months are the warmest, driest portion of the year. This makes them a great time for outdoor pursuits like hiking and wildlife watching. However, you may have to fight the crowds at some of the more popular attraction and the more popular hostels may end up being sold out. The spring is a good compromise when it comes to avoiding the worst of the crowds and the worst of the weather, but it can still be rainy and cold at times. When I went in late May, there was still snow on some of the mountains.

3) Is it difficult to get around using public transportation?

Not really. Getting around in Edinburgh was easy enough. However, the bus routes in the more sparsely populated areas are said to be a bit tricky to navigate and getting some places does require numerous connections. Travelers may want to therefore rent a car or go places outside the cities with a tour group, particularly if they’re short on time.

4) What are some good daytrips from Edinburgh?

Roslyn Chapel is amazing.It’s well worth the £9 ($12 USD) admission price to see all the intricate carvings that are inside the building.The chapel is well signposted and fairly easy to find from the bus stop. The guides there give informative talks about the chapel’s history every few hours and point out some of the more interesting carvings, so definitely stick around for that. The only downside is that you can’t take pictures inside. Yes, they will catch you at it and ask you to stop.

The Edinburgh Botanic Garden is another interesting spot just outside of the city limits. It’s also easy to get to using the public bus system.The grounds are free to wander around in, but there’s a small surcharge for entering the greenhouses.You can take as many pictures there as you want, without anyone to stop you from doing so.

If you’re an early riser or the gardens have switched to summer hours,you can visit both places in one day to take advantage of the flat daily rate for the Edinburgh city buses. I did this myself, but I didn’t get to spend much time in the gardens because I got up late and the summer hours hadn’t started yet.

5) Is Scotland safe for solo travelers?

Yes! It’s very safe.The Scots are also a friendly bunch. Although some people reportedly have trouble understanding them at times, I didn’t. Then again, as a small redheaded female, I do blend in with the locals.

6) Do you recommend any guided tours?

If you’re short on time and don’t want the hassle of constantly navigating bus schedules, the McBackpacker and Haggis Adventure Tours both get good reviews. They do very reasonably priced tours that take in a lot of the popular sights and will drop you back off in Edinburgh. I went with the former since they charge the same rate for everyone.They also hadlast minute discounts available that made it an even more affordable experience. I had a great time!However, the McBackpacker’s Tour is definitely focused on budget activities and my group was mostly comprised of college kids. A lot of hiking involved, so plan accordingly. There’s one lengthy mountain climb included in the activities on Skye. But if you’re not feeling up to it, you can walk back down the hill and wait in the parking lot. The bus also plays loud Scottish music, which is fun, but it gets stuck in your head after a while and it might not appeal to everyone. The main difference between the tours seems to be that Haggis Adventures gives their participants the option of riding on the Jacobite Steam Train and boating on the Loch Ness, albeit for an extra surcharge.

7) What’s the weather like in Scotland?

Scotland’s average temperatures don’t generally go much below freezing in the winter, but they also don’t get much above 60 ºF in the summer. Naturally the farther north one goes, the colder the average temperature is going to be during any given month. As this article has already mentioned, the county tends to be rainy and windy at times, so you’ll want to prepare for both possibilities.

8) Where can I get a thicker sweater?

A second-hand or consignment store is normally your best betwhen it comes to finding vacation wear that you may never need again. However, the UK doesn’t have anything like Goodwill where one stop will provide you with reasonably priced clothes in just about every size imaginable. Their second-hand shops tend to be spread out and have a limited selection. To get good deals, you really have to hunt for them. A much easier solution is to go to Primark, which sells cheap clothes that will probably last for the duration of your trip and make a great souvenir once you get back home.

9) Can I see the Northern Lights in Scotland?

Yes, sometimes they can be seen as far south as Edinburgh! However, you’ve got a much better chance of seeing them if you head for the Northern portions of the country during the fall and winter months.