Tips for picking the right car for driving in Scotland

| August 19, 2013 | 15 Comments

If you have ever considered driving around England, Scotland or Wales then you need to do a little bit of planning before you set off on your epic road trip. I should know, I have driven through the highlands of Scotland and finding the right vehicle for your trip is paramount. Use my travel tips below for help picking the right car for driving in Scotland for your next adventure.

Scenic drive in Scotland Glencoe, Tips for picking the right car for driving in Scotland

Picking the right car for driving in Scotland

The scenic drives in Scotland are some of the best in the world. Whether you head up into the mountain passes of the Scottish Highlands, out to the Isles, or along either of the stunning coasts, you need to be comfortable in your car.

It is surprising how long it actually takes to drive around Scotland if you decide to get off the main tourist trails. And this is something I highly recommend doing. Sure you could buzz along the main highways, but where is the fun in that?

You are unlikely to discover the villages and people that make Scotland amazing fro road trips. Plus you won’t get the chance to see the cutest Highland cows in the world either.

Scottish Cute Highland Cow pictures, Cute Highland Cow pictures

Comfort

Comfort should be your first priority when picking the right car for driving in Scotland. While you may want to pinch and save your money while travelling, you also don’t want to be suffering from cramp and claustrophobia after driving for 6 hours.

Especially if there are 5 of you crammed into a 2 door hatchback as you road trip up to one of the many festivals in Scotland.

For just a couple of extra dollars a day you can usually upgrade to a much roomier 4 door saloon or 4×4. Plus if you end up with a 4×4 then you are going to have the chance to explore some of the more remoter destinations in Scotland.

Sleeping

If you are planning on spending a few days/weeks driving in Scotland then you might want to consider picking a caravan (campervan or RV). While there are plenty of amazing Bed and Breakfasts throughout Scotland, having a caravan gives you the freedom to stay where you like, when you like.

Especially if you go for one of the caravans with a mini-kitchen and bathroom/shower area. That way you are fully self-contained and don’t have to worry about picking the wrong place to stay late at night.

You might just want to consider checking out the Caravan Club to make sure you have the right insurance before you hit the road.

VW T25 by the Beach, Tips for picking the right car for driving in Scotland

Style

If you hire a car in New Zealand, then chances are you are going to end up with some old hunk-of-junk. A lot of our cars are Asian imports and therefore not quite up to the same style standards as some European cars.

Scotland is different.

Therefore if style is what you are interested in then you shouldn’t have too much of a problem. Instead of having a little Honda hatchback you will instead have the option of a VW Golf or similar. European styling is usually just that little bit better.

Price

The final point you want to consider when picking the right car for driving in Scotland combines all of the above; price.

There is no point picking the largest and most beautiful car if it is going to cost you a fortune. When I drove across North America I had to resort to eating peanut butter sandwiches every day for lunch. I can tell you know that I grew very sick of peanut butter!

Inspirational Travel Quotes

Camping in Banff National Park

I was very tight with my budget and therefore couldn’t enjoy some of the smaller things at the time. Even a simple cup of coffee was ruled out because of my budget.

Making sure that you budget for everything involved in renting a car, including car insurance and fuel, means that you may need to set your bar a little lower. If you spend it all on the car then you are going to miss out on having the best time.

Ultimately, your road trip through Scotland shouldn’t be about looking good or picking the right car. It should be about the adventure, the people you meet, and the scenery you see. Because I can guarantee you won’t be talking about what car you picked when you tell all your friends about your adventure.

About the Author ()

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

Comments (15)

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  1. I really shouldn’t be communicating with a kiwi after what the All Blacks did to us again on the weekend but at least we are getting used to it.
    Nice piece by the way. I did a camper van for 2 months last year with the bride and we revelled in it and after your article I think I may consider the same for the British Isles when we head over that way whenever. keep the blogs coming, they make for an interesting read.

    • Yea sorry about the rugby result. Well, not really to be honest haha.
      Thanks for the comment and sounds like the Campervan for your guys is definitely a good idea. Highly recommend it.

  2. Looks like you had a great trip guys! I just done a 10 day New Zealand south island trip in a Jucy Cabana rental which was a similar size to the car you had. It was fine except for the sandflies along the west coast!!
    Adam – Tropical Nomad recently posted..History of Koh Tao.. It was a prison!My Profile

  3. Quyen says:

    Thank you for the tips! I will be traveling to Ireland, so I assume your tips will work there as well. What a fun trip you had!
    Quyen recently posted..art i like: lacma part 1My Profile

  4. I can’t imagine you survive your road trip for having peanut butter and bread for lunch. I don’t think I can do that Cole because I am a picky eater. Hopefully I can also acquire that ability so that I can save a lot of money. LOL.

  5. Eye & Pen says:

    Good piece mate, I am heading to the Highlands soon :)

  6. Chris says:

    Hi Cole,
    Liked your post & your tips are very useful for first time travelers in Scotland. Using your own car for rent makes it very easy to travel places especially those that have natural and scenic beauties.

  7. Your first photo is breathtaking. I’m amazed at the sight of Scotland’s barren, but colourful landscapes…

  8. Adam says:

    With limited public transport around the highlands of Scotland, renting a car is the only way to go. This will serve those seeking to experience this gorgeous corner of the world very well!

    Great post!

  9. Elcana says:

    Great article! It really shows what Scotland is all about and that is; its stunning landscapes, its fascinating history, its people and its wonderful culture. Exploring Scotland by car is by far the best way to discover the country and its remote places. That’s why my passion became my job… developing and organizing Self drive holidays through Scotland.

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