ESSENTIAL VACATION INFORMATION
Banking for Travelers To Scotland
The majority of banks are open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with some city offices open Saturday morning. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are widely available throughout the area and most are linked to Cirrus, Maestro or Plus international money systems. Visitors are advised to check with their local bank prior to traveling.
In Scotland, banks usually give the best exchange rate in foreign currency. It is also possible to change money in airports, larger rail stations, travel agents and some of the larger hotels (if you are a guest). Bureau de Change facilities can be found at the airports, train stations, most city center banks, Tourist Information Centres and travel outlets.
Credit Card Usage In Scotland
Most hotels, restaurants and shops in Scotland accept major credit cards such as VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club and JCB. However, you should be aware that small B&Bs frequently do not take credit cards.
British currency is pound sterling (£) and is made up of 100 pence (p). Several Scottish banks issue their own notes in denominations of £5, £10, £20, £50 & £100 which are technically legal tender throughout Great Britain, but in actual practice are frequently not accepted outside of Scotland. Bank of England and Northern Ireland bank notes are also legal tender in Scotland. Coins come in denominations of 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 & £2.
The standard voltage in Scotland is 240V AC, 50Hz. North American appliances need a transformer and an adapter.
Embassies & Consulates
Foreign embassies can assist travelers with lost or stolen passports and provide assistance in emergencies. In Scotland, the U.S. Consulate General is located in the capitol city: 3 Regent Terrace, Edinburgh EH7 5BW; Tel. 0131 556 8315; Fax 0131 557 6023 (see "Telephone Service" for dialing instructions).
Emergency Services for Travelers
For Police, Fire Brigade, Ambulance and in some areas, Mountain Rescue or Coastguard, dial 999.
Vacationers who become ill while in Scotland are eligible for free emergency treatment at National Health Service Accident and Emergency hospital departments. If, however, you are admitted to hospital as a patient, or referred to an outpatient clinic, you will be asked to pay unless you are a citizen of a European country or a resident of a country which has a reciprocal health care agreement with the U.K. As with all travel, it is advised to take out insurance coverage before traveling. Contact your insurance agent for guidance. CSA Travel Protection offers a variety of travel insurance plans to fit your specific needs, including coverage for emergency medical and dental expenses, trip cancellation, travel interruptions and delays, damage to your rental car, lost baggage and more.
Information for Disabled Visitors To Scotland
Holiday Care is a national charity and Britain's central source for holiday and travel information for disabled people.
Passport And Required Travel Documents For Visitors to Scotland
U.S. citizens will need a passport which is valid for six months after returning to the United States. U.S. citizens do not need a visa to enter the United Kingdom, unless they plan to stay longer than six months.
Postal Services In Scotland
Most post offices are open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with stamps available from most stationery shops and Tourist Information Centres. Comprehensive details on British postal services are available from the Royal Mail. In addition, if you're looking for the exact address of a house or business in Scotland or Great Britain, the Royal Mail Web site also lets you look up post codes and confirm addresses.
Bank holidays (statutory) in Scotland include Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year, Good Friday, plus early May, Spring and Summer bank holidays. A complete list of statutory holidays can be found on the Scottish government's Web site or by calling the Scottish Executive on telephone 0131 244 8242 (see "Telephone Service" for dialing instructions). Scottish towns and cities normally have a spring and autumn holiday and while the dates of these holidays vary from year to year and sometimes from place to place, they are always on a Monday.
Scottish Quarantine Regulations
If you are coming to Scotland from overseas, please do not attempt to bring your pet on holiday with you. British quarantine regulations are stringently enforced, and anyone attempting to contravene them will incur severe penalties as well as the loss of the animal.
Telephone Service In Scotland
Most phone numbers in the U.K. now follow the format -- 01 plus 8 or 9 digits, which is easy enough to dial if you are already in the country. However, if you have to call from the U.S., first dial the international dialing code (011) and country code (44), omit the lead zero, then dial the rest of the number. For example, if the phone number is 0131 555 5555 and you are not in the U.K., this is how you dial: 011 44 131 555 5555. A phone number beginning with 07 is probably a mobile phone (cell phone) and cannot be called from the U.S. Most public telephones accept coins (10p, 20p, 50p, £1), with a minimum connection charge 20p. An increasing number of kiosks also accept credit cards and offer e-mail and Internet access.
Looking for a phone number? The entire U.K. phone directory is available online -- and searchable for free -- at the British Telecom Web site. UKPhoneBook.com also offers up to 5 free lookups per day to registered users.
Time in Scotland is the same as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which is 5 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. However, from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October, British Summer Time is in effect and clocks are set one hour ahead of GMT.
Tipping In Scotland
There are no hard and fast rules for tipping in Scotland. If you are happy with the service, a 10-15% tip is customary, particularly in a restaurant or cafe with table service. Tipping in bars is not expected. For taxi fares it is usual to round up to the nearest pound.
It is strongly recommended that visitors to the U.K. arrange travel insurance to cover the loss of possessions and money as well as health and dental treatment. Contact your insurance agent for guidance. CSA Travel Protection offers a variety of travel insurance plans to fit your specific needs, including coverage for emergency medical and dental expenses, trip cancellation, travel interruptions and delays, damage to your rental car, lost baggage and more.
No vaccinations are required prior to visiting Scotland.
Value-Added Tax (VAT) In Scotland
All purchases in Britain, with the exception of food and books, are subject to VAT, which increases the cost of an item by 20%. Visitors from non-European Union countries can claim a refund of VAT from selected shops on goods to be taken out of the country under the Retail Export Scheme. For information on the scheme, please visit HM Customs and Excise.
The U.K. uses the Phase Alternative Line (PAL) system for videos, which is not compatible with U.S. equipment. Videos are available in SECAM and NTSC formats in souvenir shops and Tourist Information Centres for use outside of Scotland.
Visas For Travel In Scotland
European Union members may travel and work in the U.K. with no visa requirement. Citizens from the U.S.A., Canada, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand do not require a visa to visit the U.K. (up to six months) but are prohibited from working.
Scottish Weights & Measures
The United Kingdom uses the metric system for weights and measures. However non-metric equivalents are still widely used. For example many distances are still shown in miles, but food, drink and gas (petrol) are sold in metric measures.
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this Web site. However, it is strongly recommended you confirm travel information beforehand. All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or damage caused by the reliance on the information contained on this site is hereby excluded.