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Do we have to book accommodation in advance?

Delta, BC
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Do we have to book accommodation in advance?

We are planning a trip to Scotland this July, and must be in Edinburgh on July 18th, but otherwise have no fixed itinerary. We would like to rent a car and travel at leisure as we please, which we feel will allow us to really experience the country. I am, however, concerned that we may not find accommodation if we do not book in advance. We will pre-book for Edinburgh and Glasgow, but do we need to make arrangements ahead of time for the smaller towns? Also, my husband is willing to drive, so any tips for driving Canadians driving in Scotland would be greatly appreciated!

Scotland
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1. Re: Do we have to book accommodation in advance?

I run a B&B and would always advise people to book accommodation ahead at that time of year. Others may not agree with me, but that's my advice. Accommodation can become quite scarce the further away from the central belt you go. You do not want your holiday ruined by lack of accommodation. TIC's will book ahead for you, but you will be charged commission for this service. Or you could plan your itinerary now and book in advance via e-mail.

Over the years we have had visitors from all around the globe come to stay with us and those from big countries are always caught out by the length of time it can take to drive from A to B in Scotland. Do not underestimate driving times, what looks quick and easy on a map can turn out to be something quite different. Lots of mountains to drive round!

This website will help to estimate driving times and to plan an itinerary www.theaa.com/travelwatch/planner_main.jsp

Bingley, United...
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for Edinburgh
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2. Re: Do we have to book accommodation in advance?

July 18 is right in the middle of the Scottish school holidays so demand is higher at that time of the year

UK
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3. Re: Do we have to book accommodation in advance?

On my one Scottish holiday, in early June,given it was outside peak tourist time I was surprised how many 'No vacancy' signs' there were . You'll be *in* peak time when there are far more tourists around. So my advice would be to plan your route and prebook. You may think this loses spontaneity, but you wont have as much as you think if you spend a substantial portion of each day looking for accommodation and have to change your plans in order to go where the vacancies are.

PLus, you plan anyway to pre book for the larger towns, but I think they will be likely to have more vacancies than smaller villages. In Edinburgh for example, you'll always be able to find something at a price, but if you are in a small town or village, if the few B&Bs it has are full, thats it !

Oakville, Canada
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4. Re: Do we have to book accommodation in advance?

Hello. With a bit of planning, a good map, and realizing that it will take longer to drive somewhere because of the winding roads, you will be fine.

Here is a report we wrote of out trip. The first part my husband wrote as he did all the driving.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g186485-i107-k1491…

I used this site to plan out daily outings. The instructions are very accurate and will give you approx. travelling times.

http://www.theaa.com

We did book all of our accommodations in advance, but realized that in Sept. we probably didn't have to. But for your trip that might be something you might consider depending on what part of Scotland you will be visiting.

Oakville, Canada
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5. Re: Do we have to book accommodation in advance?

Sorry MistressQ, didn't mean to post the same AA site.

Scotland
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6. Re: Do we have to book accommodation in advance?

No problem!

Glasgow, United...
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7. Re: Do we have to book accommodation in advance?

My advice would be that you don't have to book in advance, but if you find somewhere nice you would be as well. I have had holidays in August (peak holiday time) where I didn't book in advance - but you are always taking a risk - especially if there is something happening locally.

If you do go to Aberdeen it is definitely worth booking in advance - unless the credit crunch has had an effect hotel rooms there can be very hard to find.

By the way, one B&B owner told me that they permanently keep the no-vacancies sign up even when they do have vacancies - and only take phone or internet bookings. He didn't say why though and I've no idea how common this in.

Am sure you will find driving here a breeze. If you do go on our small country roads that are single track with passing places it is common practice to use the passing places to let faster cars behind overtake you, so if you are overcome with the scenery you can meander at your own pace without annoying other drivers.

8. Re: Do we have to book accommodation in advance?

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