How to safely enjoy Scotland this year

Travel Tips | 14 September 2020

In this unique for all the wrong reasons year, the question of safety is surely the one that first comes to mind to all would-be travellers - including safe travel in Scotland. While our country did relatively well in response to the global pandemic and since mid-July started welcoming visitors again, it’s important to remember that many COVID-related regulations are still in place. In this blog post we’ll walk you through what you can expect in Scotland this season, some good safety practices and sure-fire ways to enjoy your Scottish holiday.

Safe travel in Scotland this year begins with a bit of planning. Even though the majority of tourist attractions are open to the public, some of them operate in a different way, with limits to visitor numbers and shortened opening hours. Luckily all the destinations understand the demand for clear information, so all you need to do to avoid disappointment is check their websites or Facebook pages. Forward thinking can save you a lot of stress later on, while at the same time you can make sure all places you intend to visit make effort to comply with the Scottish government regulations. Descriptions of safety measures or a “We’re Good To Go” badge (indicating the business carried out a risk assessment) are always a good sign, but if you have specific requirements or questions, you can always drop a line to your destination to make sure they can welcome you. 

While points of interest, restaurants and places to stay are trying to operate as close to “old normal” as possible, public transport is one of the areas requiring extra caution from the visitors. Buses and trains run on revised schedules to meet the demand of summer travel, with improvement works and weather always trying to do their bit and disrupt journeys. That’s why it’s essential that you check your connections ahead of departure on websites like Traveline Scotland and don’t find yourself at the mercy of reduced or replacement services.

Once you have your itinerary and transport sorted, it’s time to make sure you and your close ones are staying safe and contributing to safe travel in Scotland. The government regulations are based on the latest scientific advice and the spread of the virus can only be stopped if we all play our part and follow them. Step one is easy: wear a face covering whenever you’re close to members of other households. They are mandatory on public transport, in museums, train stations, shops and pretty much everywhere indoors. Some medical conditions might exempt you from using a mask (all details can be found on the government’s website), but traveling and going out with many of them is not recommended in the first place.

Step two is keeping a healthy distance from others. The recommended space between you and members of other households is 2 metres. In some cases – like in pubs and restaurants – this space is limited to 1 metre. This exemption is subject to strict conditions and should be clearly signed to customers. Just like with face masks, the habits of standing a few steps away, coughing into your elbow and avoiding handshakes should become second nature, and after a while you won’t even notice them. 

Third essential step is keeping your hands clean, both by washing them frequently for at least 20 seconds and by using hand sanitiser after touching anything. Many places give their customers a chance to use disinfectants when entering and leaving their premises, but a wee bottle of sanitiser in your pocket will be the best travelling companion this summer.

Our last piece of advice for safe travel in Scotland this year is this: book whenever you can. With a limited number of rooms and tables around the country, it’s best to pick up the phone or write a quick email to the places you want to enjoy and make sure they’ll have a space for you. No need for stressful disappointments and last minute changes of plans when you and your close ones are finally taking a deep breath and relaxing. Booking accommodation and some attractions is essential, but at the same time you don’t want to turn into a travel agent on your holiday. A good way to limit the number of necessary arrangements is to aim for things that don’t require a booking. All hikes great and small, days at the beach or quiet time camping in nature can let you avoid crowds and connect with Scotland like nothing else. One email to a remote campsite or B&B can open up outdoor opportunities for days and weeks. Sure the weather can be tricky, but that’s Scotland – we call it “part of the charm”… 

Now, we finally need to mention one more life hack that can make safe travel in Scotland completely hassle-free: upgrade your trip to an Unique Scottish Adventure with Brambling Bus! You can get inspired by one of our tours or we can turn your idea into a safe and unforgettable guided journey. Leave all the researching, double-checking and driving to us – and simply enjoy Scotland in all its glory!

No matter how you decide to explore our amazing country this year, we hope you stay safe and find everything you were looking for.