Saturday, September 2, 2017

{Traveling Through Scotland}: Tips and experiences!

I recently visited Scotland with a couple of friends. I have some tips and tricks from my visit that might help you!

I started my journey in a little seaside town called Aberdeen, which is on the northern shores of Scotland. It has such a rich history and I really enjoyed my stay while there. There is something so magical about little Scottish villages. I mean, the country's national animal IS the Unicorn after all! No lie!

I did a few fun things while I was in Aberdeen and also found some great travel cheats that I would love to share.

For starters, when you arrive in the UK head over to EE to pick up a sim card for your cell phone. You can find them all over the U.K.  As long as your smartphone is UNLOCKED they can get you a great deal on a prepaid phone plan for your trip. For £15 I have 250 minutes, 450 texts, and 13 GB of Data!!  YES you read that right, 13 GB. I got an upgrade that was available for free. It definitely was needed as my Airbnb didn't have Wifi! With that plan you can also call (not text) to the US. This is definitely the best option, unless you have an international plan. Even with international plans though, service can be sucky (as my friends learned with their phones). It can also be expensive. So why not just get a sim to use for your trip and save money!

I also used a texting/calling app called TextMe to text and call my friends and family who don't have iPhones. It's free, but you need to purchase (via $ or watching videos) credit to make calls. Texting is free though.

Dual laundry machines do NOT dry very well!!! Most people just hang their laundry even if they do have a dryer setting on their machine.

Since I knew I was going to be alone the first week, I had some things I wanted to do that I wouldn't have been able to do if I was with friends, most likely. I wanted to see the movie, Dunkirk which was really great! I also wanted to see what a British grocery store was like. The most different thing I noticed is that they don't refrigerate their eggs here! They keep them on the shelves. I actually completely understand that practice. Americans are some of the only people the keep eggs in the fridge.

I also wanted to go on a tour of Aberdeen. I found one that meets on Saturday's and Sunday's, 12 noon at the Mercat cross (pictured below). The 90 minute walking tour is completely free, but donations are requested after the tour is complete. Our tour guide, Guada was awesome. Side note: the animals at the top used to have wine that would pour out of their mouths in the 17th century. It was pretty much a wine free for all when the fairs would happen. Imagine hundreds of 17th century scots fighting for *free* alcohol. Yeah let that chaos set in.

I also recommend taking the time to look at your transportation options. I purchased a weekly unlimited bus pass for £15 and used that to get around for the 6 days I was there. If I purchased individual tickets it would have been £5 per day there and back. Public transportation there runs on time and very frequently, about every 10-15 minutes.

Image result for first bus aberdeen
via Google

I stayed at the Euro hostel in Glasgow. I will definitely be writing a positive review for them. My room had a bunk for two, however I was solo by request. It is clean, well lit/bright, and modern. The sheets and duvet cover are crisp and clean and the night life here has major potential, had I ventured downstairs to the bar. There were a ton of people 21-30 here, just from what I saw at check in, but I also appreciated that there were older people there too to balance things out. I definitely recommend Euro Hostel. It's pretty much a hotel! I had some friends arriving in Glasgow, so after I went and got them from the airport we all headed back to the hostel we were staying at. The 4 person room wasn't as nice as the 2 person room, not gonna lie! But it was ok for one night.

From there, we went to Edinburgh for Fringe Festival. I would highly recommend visiting if you are in Scotland during August. It was full of street performers, markets with shops, and good food and music, all free. They also have plays and dance performances you can buy tickets for, but we didn't want to, since we were planning on seeing a play in London.

 The festival wheel! It's a huge ferris wheel that lets you see the whole city. Like the London Eye but not as cool :)

Later we headed to Inverness to go Glamping. We were only there for one day, but this Glamping site was awesome. They had lots to do and it was really just a fun location! The bus brought us in and out of the campgrounds and unlike in the US, since we were in the Scottish Highlands, they just drop you wherever you want which is nice! Definitely check out the link I included. The owners were so friendly and accommodating.

Last we stopped in London. I had never been but my friends had both been mulitple times. I wasn't really into the huge tourist scene (Big Ben, Piccadilly etc.), but I wanted to see the market place. I ended up bartering for some great stuff! Some crystals (for a necklace I got in Scotland) and a cute scarf. It was worth the trip. We also took a ride on the London Eye which was AWESOME. I wasn't expecting it to be great, but it exceeded my expectations. The 4D experience before hand is a must see as well, and is included in your ticket. The ticket prices are quite high, but I recommend finding a coupon on the back of the cereal boxes they have in their grocery stores. You can save 50% of the price of 2 tickets which would have been worth it if I had known! Our AirBnB was also really nice.

Let me know if you have any upcoming travels! Although this trip was about my time in Scotland, I am now in Germany! Stick around for updates, and thanks for reading!



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