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Tips for picking the right car for driving in Scotland

If you have ever considered driving in Scotland then you should use these tips for picking the right car for driving in Scotland

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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.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Gary Yeates

    August 19, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    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.

    • Cole Burmester

      August 19, 2013 at 8:32 AM

      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. Adam - Tropical Nomad

    August 19, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    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!!

    • Cole Burmester

      August 20, 2013 at 6:35 AM

      I get to return back to NZ in a couple of weeks! Can’t wait to get home. It’s sad that I haven’t even been down the West Coast yet of the South Island 🙁

  3. Quyen

    August 19, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    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!

  4. Kristy of Family Visa

    August 22, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    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.

    • Cole Burmester

      August 22, 2013 at 4:46 AM

      When you are broke and travelling like I do then you will make sacrifices haha. It’s not all glamorous 🙂

  5. Eye & Pen

    August 22, 2013 at 8:27 AM

    Good piece mate, I am heading to the Highlands soon 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      August 22, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      Awesome! You will love it. I have a bunch of posts about Scotland so take a read if you want. Safe travels.

  6. Chris

    August 22, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    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.

    • Cole Burmester

      August 22, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      Thanks Chris. Getting off the beaten track is definitely what I am all about!

  7. Escape Hunter

    March 28, 2014 at 2:51 PM

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

  8. Adam

    June 16, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    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

    July 15, 2014 at 3:06 AM

    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.

  10. Maria

    April 17, 2016 at 12:13 PM

    I aam not sure whhere you aare getting your info, however great topic.
    I needs to spend a while finding out much more or working out
    more. Thanks for fantastic information I used to bbe in search of this info
    for my mission.

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Adventure Travel

Is It Time to Find a New You at a Thailand Retreat?

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If you feel like you a lacking a little direction, or that you have become lost in the hustle and bustle of your faced paced life, do not despair. There is hope. Spend too much time buried by work and inevitably the world will grind you down, but it needn’t. You can do something about it. The answer is a lot simpler than you may think (and more affordable, too).

You have to act though. Indifference or accepting that nothing will change will result in exactly that, nothing changing. What you need to do is interrupt your life and take a step back. Now this doesn’t mean falling off the radar, or a sudden change in your career. You just need to invest a little of your own time in yourself and book yourself into a personal development course at a Thailand retreat.

 

Isn’t That Strange?

No, it isn’t. Again, you are not changing the world in which you live, rather you are looking to change how you live in the world. A getaway at a retreat can help you do this. So, lose the negativity and cynicism and think about the possibilities for a moment. If you feel strange about going alone, why not round up your best buddies and go together? (Click here for more guy adventure tips)

 

A Little Self-Therapy

 

If you work hard, and feel constantly exhausted, at some point things are going to get even worse – be that your physical or mental health. By looking after both your body and mind and learning healthy practices at a retreat, you’ll fortify both your mind and body ready for the rigours of daily life once you return to it. The techniques, practices and understandings that you will gain by attending a Thailand retreat will help you to not only cope, but to thrive. It is like learning a shortcut to happiness that many simply do not know about. Brilliant right?!

Burnout is a real problem in society, and prevention is a much better solution than trying to find a cure. It is likely that you will have to keep working in your employment and that life will throw all manner of things at you as you battle onward, but learning to cope whilst smiling, with a stronger fortitude and greater will to succeed is a more certain way of becoming a success before you become a casualty.

Through mindfulness practice, physical activity such as yoga and stretching, and incorporating meditation, you are adapting a holistic approach to your own health, happiness and self-development. This can help you become mentally stronger, physical fitter, more at ease with yourself and life, and aware of the world in which you live. You can actually learn to live rather than exist. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Life begins at the very edge of your comfort zone, on the outskirts of familiarity and away from your normal habits and routine. Rather than shun it, or even fear it, you can learn to embrace, experience and even enjoy it too. This isn’t changing what you do, but how you do it. It isn’t changing who you are, it is letting you become the true you, unleashing your full potential.

A Thailand retreat based around health and self-development puts your wellbeing at the very heart of the programme. This isn’t self-indulgent but rather self-fulfilment; letting your life exist beyond the limits of your expectations. It is time for you to look after yourself that little bit better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Asia

How to Go Backpacking in Japan on a Tight Budget

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Japan is a backpacking destination high on many traveler’s bucket lists. With four main islands and over 6,500 smaller islands, there is an abundance of sights and activities for the eager visitor. From the breathtaking Japanese Alps to the bustling city of Tokyo, Hiroshima with its peaceful memorial sites to Kyoto with its geisha culture and gorgeous cherry blossom blooms, Japan is a country that offers many memorable and unique experiences sure to enrich your life for years to come. While not a cheap destination to explore by any means, there are certain ways to make sure you get the most bang for your buck when visiting this amazing country.

Plan Ahead and Purchase a Rail Pass

 

At the first stages of planning, you should decide on which areas of Japan you hope to visit. If you’re wanting to experience all the wonders of Japan, it would be wise to look into purchasing a Japan Rail Pass. A JPR allows visitors of Japan an inexpensive option for traveling throughout the country. Available in a 7-, 14-, or 21-day pass which generally range in cost from $250-$523 USD, you will need to purchase it before traveling to Japan.

 

Find a Hostel or Couchsurf

 

In most of the larger Japanese cities you will be able to find a hostel, providing you a cheaper alternative to the more expensive hotel options. Many hostels offer free wifi, a shared kitchen, or discounts to attractions in the area.

 

Another great option is couchsurfing. Line up a place to stay beforehand and your host may help you experience some of the culture and hidden attractions not known to most tourists.

 

Get a Pocket Wifi

 

When traveling in a foreign country, it’s beneficial to have access to wifi even in the most rural of places. A Japan pocket wifi provides a fast, reliable wifi connection throughout the entire country for around $10/day. It is important to reserve one before you arrive in Japan, usually 1-2 weeks in advance. At the height of the tourist season it may be necessary to place a reservation at least a month in advance.

 

Explore Nature

 

Mount Fuji is a must-do adventure for any worthy backpacker in Japan. While not a strenuous hike, prepare yourself to make a slow climb as it is a busy tourist hotspot. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend a day enjoying nature’s wonder at a very low cost. In the Tohoku region you can find onsen, natural hot springs to relax in, as well as preserved samurai houses to explore. There are numerous other natural wonders and geographical areas to explore, filling up your days with inexpensive, yet memorable adventures.

 

Wander the City

 

With all the brilliance and excitement of Tokyo, don’t skip an opportunity to spend at least a day exploring the city. Catch a glimpse of the Harajuku girls, visit the Tsukiji fish market for an interesting experience, or just walk the streets and take it all in. This is a great time to sample Japanese cuisine as there are various options for every taste and price range.

 

All in All

 

When visiting a country as spectacular as Japan, budget planning is important. It can be extremely costly if not planned properly or months in advance. Keep these tips in mind as you plan for your adventure and remember to go off the beaten path for some cheap, yet memorable and worthy finds. Japan is a country full of possibilities and wonder, ready to be found wherever your travels may take you.

 

 

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Asia

Making the Most of your Holiday Adventure in India

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A vast country with stunning landscapes and incredible contrasts of culture, India is perfect for a holiday adventure. Whether you are looking to soak in the natural landscapes or explore the historic landmarks, it will be a humbling experience that you will remember for a lifetime. Well, here are some tips to make the most out of your adventure trip in India.

India The Grim Lab

Cover the maximum amount of ground

The Indian subcontinent is huge and offers a variety of experiences. From the deserts in Rajasthan to the Himalayas in the north and the extended coastline along the south, you have lots to see. While everything would be impossible to cover, it is advisable to cover as much ground as possible. Going for a packaged holiday is an option but you can also choose to design your own itinerary and reservations. Getting across India is easy and the country is well connected by a huge network of railway lines and road network. The places you would want to go however depend on the kind of adventure trip you are seeking and the amount of time you have.

Immerse in the culture

The history and culture of India goes back to several centuries. It has been the country for the first human civilization to take form. If your idea of adventure isn’t always about adrenaline thrill but soaking into a vibrant and unique culture, there are a lot of things to discover and get awed by, in India. Be a part of the festivals that are celebrated round the year. Taste the unique food of every region that you visit and travel the history by the folklore.

Invent a new way to travel

The joy of a trip in India lies not in the destination but the journey. There are plenty number of ways you can reinvent you journey across the swathing country – from camel rides to caravans. Forget airplanes and rails for a moment and choose the way of the locals. Boat rides, local buses and minivans can be great ways to hitchhike across the beautiful country. In the meantime, you can go for adventure activities like river rafting, paragliding, bungee jumping, and more. An incredible mix of old and new means of travel will always keep you at your feet.

Be alert and be safe

Lastly, and regardless of which part of the world you are visiting, it is always advisable to be aware of your surrounding and the people and culture you step into. It will be necessary to always stay in touch, be it emergency or just about giving updates about your trip to folks back home. Apps like Viber Out offer cheap calls to Vietnam and can be an incredible and pocket friendly way to be connected. Just pick up a local SIM card and go for a data plan that covers your internet requirements. In this world of technology, you are never too far from help!

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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