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Travel Tips for the Quest

For a colorful and informative view into all things Scotland, VisitScotland is the country’s official website.

Travel Agents & Online Bookings
All conference participants are responsible for arranging their own air travel. For online bookings of discounted air tickets, useful websites include www.kayak.com, www.orbitz.com, and www.cheaptickets.com.

 

Telephones and International Calling
The international country code for Scotland is 44. Calls from the US to Scotland will need to omit the zero that precedes local area codes.

To place an international call from within the US: dial 011 + country code + local area code + local number.

 

Electricity
The electrical current in Scotland, as in the rest of Great Britain, is 220–240 volts (in line with the rest of Europe), 50 cycles alternating current (AC). Wall outlets take three-pin plugs; shaver sockets take two round, oversize prongs.

Consider making a small investment in a universal adapter, which has several types of plugs in one lightweight, compact unit. Most laptops and mobile-phone chargers are dual voltage (i.e., they operate equally well on 110 and 220 volts), so require only an adapter. These days the same is true of small appliances such as hair dryers. Don’t use 110-volt outlets marked “for shavers only” for high-wattage appliances such as hair dryers.

 

Identification & Visas
U.S. citizens need only a valid passport to enter Great Britain for stays of up to six months. Travelers should be prepared to show sufficient funds to support and accommodate themselves while in the UK (credit cards will usually suffice for this) and to show a return or onward ticket. If you’re within six months of your passport’s expiration date, renew it before you leave—nearly expired passports are not strictly banned, but they make immigration officials anxious, and may cause you problems. Health certificates are not required for travel in Scotland.

 

Immunizations & Health
No vaccinations are required to visit Scotland; however, you may want to check with your healthcare provider’s recommendations for you.

To minimize the risk of gastrointestinal ailments as the body adapts to a new environment, it is wise to remain hydrated by drinking plenty of water, to eat and drink (coffee, tea, alcohol) in moderation only, and to wash hands often with soap and water.  It also may be helpful to travel with lactobacillus acidophilus capsules, which enhance beneficial intestinal flora and can be a preventative measure against digestive upsets.
One important note:
Remember to bring any necessary prescriptions or over-the-counter medications in their original containers, and in your carry-on bag!

 

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is strongly recommended in the event of unexpectedly having to cancel or change your travel plans either before or during our conference, losing your luggage, needing medical assistance, or if the program is affected by circumstances beyond our control.  You can purchase this from your own travel agent, or from online options such as www.travelinsured.com and www.travelguard.com.  Policies vary, depending upon the degree of coverage desired, and include options such as “Airline Ticket Protector” plans.  One resource for understanding the range of options available, and for comparing quotes, is www.travelinsurancereview.net. It’s also wise to verify your chosen airline’s refund policy, as they too vary, and at times offer ticket reimbursements where travel insurance may not.

 

Money
The UK’s monetary system is based on the Pound Sterling (£), which is made up of 100 pence (written as “p”). Britons also call pounds “quid.” Scotland issues its own pound notes, but English and Scottish money are interchangeable. There are £1 and £2 coins, as well as coins of 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p, and 1p. Banknotes come in denominations of £5, £10, £20, and £50.

Please remember to advise your bank that you will be traveling, since many banks will err on the side of caution and assume your debit or credit card has been stolen and might suspend it temporarily. ATMs remain a convenient means of withdrawing local currency at respectable exchange rates.

 

Credit cards
Are safe, convenient, and generally offer good exchange rates for purchases abroad. Note, however, that many banks now assess a 1% to 3% “foreign transaction fee” on charges made outside of your home country.

In Scotland, you’ll need a PIN to withdraw cash advances on your credit card. You will not need a PIN for most credit card purchases, but occasions may arise (particularly at automated gas pumps). If you’ve forgotten your PIN, call the number on the back of your card and ask that it be provided to you.

 

Banks
Are open weekdays from 9am to 5pm. Some banks have extended hours on Thursday evening, and a few are open on Saturday morning. The major airports operate 24-hour banking services all week.

 

Tipping
Is practiced in Scotland as in the United States, but at a lower level. Some restaurants include a service charge on the bill; if not, add about 10% to 15%. Taxi drivers, hairdressers, and barbers should also get 10% to 15%.

 

Climate
The average high temperature in August is is 55°F with a low of 45°F. Precipitation usually occurs 27 days of the month.

 

Time
Scotland is on Greenwich Mean Time, which is 5 hours ahead of the eastern US.

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