Renting A Car And Driving In Scotland: Everything You Need To Know


Take a few guesses.

Yep—- that’s exactly what we said. Try figuring those out when you’re driving on the left side of the road, with a hysterical wife going 50 miles/hr and 1000 cars lined up behind you.


I’m here to tell you, it’s not for the faint of heart.  But if you feel like you want to brave it– then here’s some tips on renting and driving in Scotland.  Let’s talk about renting a car first, more on those crazy signs later.


We chose Arnold Clark, only because it seemed to be the most popular and easiest to get to from our hotel.  It had nothing to do with cost.


Beside nerve, you’ll need your passport, driver’s license and your credit card.  They did not ask for any other proof, like insurance, or electric bill.    It says on the website they need a utility bill, but they never asked.


Here’s the deal folks, you’re driving in a foreign country, on the opposite side of the road, with signs and rules you don’t understand– I don’t think renting a car is where you want to save money.  Maybe eat at a 2 star restaurant for a few days, buy less souvenirs (you know they eventually go to goodwill anyway).  Don’t skimp on the car.

Get the automatic transmission.  You’ll thank me later.

And for sure get the GPS Navigation.  I bet you name your first child after me.

Yes, I know you can use Google Maps on your phone- but who wants to mess with that when they are driving– and my phone carrier signal sucked (oops did I say that- well it did) the entire 4 hour drive from Edinburgh to Inverness.

The other extras we paid for were:

  • The price for the car was very reasonable, considering we got a BMW (which we didn’t ask for)
  • $70 total for no deductible should you get in an accident, otherwise it was a daily fee but you had to pay a $750 deductible
  • $55 to leave the lot/filled with diesel and we could return it completely empty.
  • GPS and Automatic Transmission were also extra, I can’t remember that cost because it was so long ago when I booked the car

The car is beautiful, clean, and new.  The people at Arnold Clark were very nice.  Renting the car is the easy part…the driving is where  you will lose your mind.


Let’s just be clear–I DID NOT DRIVE.  Mike did all the driving.  BUT–I had important duties!  I was the co-pilot, GPS navigator, and the official ‘keep Mike off the left shoulder’ police.  You really need two people for driving–the signs alone requires one person on alert at all times.


Beware they are EXTREMELY serious about their speed limits.  And sorry Scotland, the speed limits make no sense–they change constantly and are inconsistent.  The most important thing to know is the “AVERAGE SPEED CAMERAS”.  From one camera to the next camera it will shoot pictures of your license plate and if your average speed is over the limit, you will get a ticket sent right to your doorstep.  This was according to our rental gal anyway.  And those cameras were EVERYWHERE!!

TIP:  They use miles per hour like the U.S.

ROUNDABOUTS (aka ‘The Tea Cup Ride For Cars’)

Since I know my sweet young daughter reads this blog, I won’t tell you how I really feel about those roundabouts because it’s ugly.  Scotland, I love you, but what’s wrong with street lights and intersections?

So here’s your first quiz.  Look at the picture below.  If your GPS says, ” At next roundabout take the 3rd exit…”.   Tell me where you would exit?

The answer is:  Town Centre.   Imagine a roundabout as one big circle with little spikes coming out.  Each spike is a road with people going both ways, some entering the circle and some exiting, and every single one of them MERGING somewhere!  It took us forever to leave Edinburgh, because we just kept driving in circles on the roundabouts.

And those suckers are everywhere.  We had to actually count the spikes out loud together, so we knew when to hop off.  I think we had the world record for roundabout spikes!  This roundabout had 9 spikes and we had to hop off at 7!  Mind you, we missed that one a few times.  I guess the positive of roundabouts is you can just keep going in circles.


Back to the signs…

I have absolutely no clue….Mike seemed to figure them out.

Oh look–an actual intersection with a street light!  I had to take a picture for you.  I didn’t want  to turn you completely  off, or is it too late for that?


Alright you brave souls, I hope that was helpful.

Now go out , rent a car, drive around Scotland and set the world on fire!


~Mike and Donna~

3 comments on “Renting A Car And Driving In Scotland: Everything You Need To Know”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s