• Travel

5 Tips For A Road Trip in Scotland

Despite living in Scotland for over 20 years I, took for granted all the wonders that were on my doorstep. I don’t know if it has been a form of homesickness or impractical planning but I have actually taken the time to explore much more of  my beautiful homeland since moving to London.

This week I returned from a brilliant week celebrating New Year with some of my friends on the Isle of Mull so I thought it was the perfect time to share my tips for making the most of a Scottish road trip.

1. Expect the unexpected

Scotland is a land of glorious hills, glens and unpredictable weather. Taking this into account will make for a much more pleasant journey as there can be many unexpected obstacles on a simple drive including road and bridge closures, flooding, high winds and ferry cancellations. The good news is that Scotland is a small country so there is usually an alternative route, so try and take it in your stride and think of it as part of the adventure.

2. Plan ahead

In the event of one of the above incidents you may find yourself in a bit of a pickle if you have not planned ahead as all those big hills often means that phone signal is scarce, so having an alternative route or some nearby places to stay jotted down is always a smart idea. Saying this, if spontaneity is more your style I always seem to find a local who is more than willing to help in-between telling me their life story. Also, from my experience, packing a few extra layers and a torch never goes a miss when hitting the road.

3. Fill Up

If you are heading into rural Scotland then you can go miles without seeing man, woman or beast, which is part of the country’s charm, but can quickly turn a relaxing trip into a nightmare if you have not filled up with petrol in advance. Also, if you are like me and suffer from severe hanger make sure that you have plenty of car snacks.

4. Make An Offline Playlist

Radio signal is also sporadic in Scotland so if you want a theme tune to your trip I would highly recommend downloading one in advance.

5. Give Yourself Plenty Of Time

This is not just in case one of the afore mentioned disasters strike, but because I assume the reason that you have chosen to travel in Scotland is because, despite of its often bleak weather, it is truly stunning. So give yourself plenty of time for unexpected stop off’s to take in the scenery, visit attractions and make friends with some locals instead of scooting by and seeing it out of a window.

What are your guys top tips for a successful road trip?


  1. Abby says:

    Cool post, Emma. I’ve only been to Scotland once but would love to go back again and do some exploring. I always make my Spotify playlists available offline, it’s a godsend when you live in rural areas. I’m all about the car snacks too hehe.

    1. Emma says:

      You should totally go back it is especially gorgeous when it is all snowy. I have no idea how people travel without spotify and car snacks

  2. Always carry de-icer even in April. I learnt sharply from this one year!

    1. Emma says:

      Good shout! I always forget de-icer and end up scraping away for ages, but at least it’s a good arm workout

  3. I’d also recommend having a physical map in case the sat nav breaks or you don’t have phone signal!

    1. Emma says:

      I wish I had the skills to read a physical map the last time I used one did not end well!

  4. Meg Siobhan says:

    Sounds like a good list! I definitely want to visit Scotland sometime, that’s for sure.

    1. Emma says:

      I know I am biased but it really is beautiful

  5. Making an offline playlist is so true. When my husband and I went to Scotland, the signal was just terrible.

    1. Emma says:

      It is so bad but sometimes being disconnected makes it feel like a real adventure

  6. Leanne says:

    I’d totally agree that you don’t realise what you’ve got on your doorstep until it’s no longer quite so close! x

    1. Emma says:

      I am kicking myself that I never explored more

  7. themayfairy says:

    Eeek. No phone signal? Ok, that would mess with my head. Having said that it’s probably the same in the remote parts of NZ, just that I haven’t been there since my phone dependency began 😉

    1. Emma says:

      It is quite nice for a couple of hours then I start to go a little crazy!!

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