Without making assumptions, I think it’s safe to say that after the train-wreck that was 2020, we are all probably more than due a holiday or at the very least a long weekend away.
Thanks to travel restrictions and general uncertainty, however, it’s official that overseas holidays are out, and staycations are in. This is great news for people like me, who could happily spend every holiday exploring the various parts of the UK, and it is relevant to today’s topic too.
Scotland is one of the favourite countries in the world, and in my opinion, as a holiday destination, it is vastly underrated as well.
Whenever I’ve visited Scotland, and indeed, any other parts of the world I wasn’t familiar with, I have been guilty of standing out like a sore thumb and looked like perhaps the most touristy tourist you could ever have imagined.
I don’t want any of you to feel the embarrassment and shame that I felt, which is why today, I’m sharing some tips with you on how NOT to look like a tourist in Scotland.
Stay away from the tourist trap clothing items
We’ve all seen the ‘I Love NY’ T-shirts, and other cheap and generic items of clothing that you end up wearing for bed when your pyjamas are in the wash, and while they are quite fun as novelty souvenirs, the novelty soon wears off and ultimately they wind up being a waste of money.
If you want to spot a tourist in Scotland, just look for people walking around in novelty T-shirts and jumpers that have obviously been purchased at a souvenir shop.
Personally, rather than wasting your money on these items of clothing, why not instead save up for a wee while before your trip, and treat yourself to some quality Scottish attire instead?
Scotland is home to some truly high-quality materials and fabrics such as Scottish wool, or Harris Tweed. These are not only great keepsakes, they’re also very fashionable items and will help ensure that you don’t look like a tourist with no idea where you are.
Don’t complain about the weather
If you visit Scotland in the summer expecting to get a suntan, who knows, you may get lucky? You may also wind up bitterly disappointed as the weather in Scotland can be very temperamental and very wet.
People in Scotland know that it’s often cold, wet, windy, and snowy, yet instead of complaining about how cold or how wet they are, they just get on with it.
When you visit Scotland, don’t be surprised if it does rain a lot, and whatever you do, don’t constantly grumble and complain about the weather.
Just make sure to pack some waterproofs, maybe an umbrella, and you’ll be fine.
Don’t suddenly grind to a halt on the pavement
It doesn’t matter which part of Scotland you’re in, if you are walking down the pavement taking in the sights, if you do see something that catches your eye, don’t suddenly grind to a halt, holding everybody up behind you, as you scramble in your pocket or bag to find your phone or camera to take a photo.
By all means, stop and take in the views and be sure to get plenty of photos, but just be mindful of the people behind you who may not appreciate you screeching to a halt in front of them, holding them up when they’ve places to be.
Instead, find a part of the pavement or road that is out of the way, enjoy the view, and snap away with your camera at your own leisure.
Don’t claim to know more about Scotland than the locals
The Scots are very proud people, and they don’t take kindly to people from other countries claiming to know the ins and outs of Scotland because they’ve got a distant relative from 6 generations back that happened to be a quarter Scottish.
By all means, discuss the country, the culture, the food, and its history, but please do not try to educate a Scotsman or woman through and through, about the country they and their families have lived in for generations.
Don’t ask the locals where to find the Loch Ness Monster
Scotland has some truly spectacular lochs, yet of them all, the most famous loch has to be Loch Ness. I’d like to say this is because of its natural beauty, but in reality, it’s due to the so-called Loch Ness Monster, which may or may not exist.
If there’s one guaranteed way of ticking off the locals and making yourself look like the biggest tourist in the area, just go ahead and ask them where you can find the Loch Ness Monster.
If you want to visit a loch, then by all means consider Loch Ness, but please do not visit in the hopes of spotting this perhaps mythical creature because you are almost certainly not going to have any luck.
Never adulterate your whisky
Scotland is well known for many things, and its fine Scotch whisky is certainly one of them. As the Scots are so proud of their whisky, however, it’s important that you drink it correctly, and indeed, that you order it correctly.
To begin with, when you order a whisky, it’s always a ‘dram’ of whisky, and never a ‘shot’. You also need to understand how to enjoy a fine Scotch.
A dram of whisky is designed to be sipped slowly and savoured. If the whisky is a little harsh, don’t throw a handful of crushed ice in there and certainly don’t even consider adding cola or lemonade, instead, a few drops of highland spring water should be added until you achieve a finish that you find desirable.
If you do find the whisky is too harsh, you can always consider a blend instead.
Don’t wear a kilt
Now, of course, you can dress however you like, and if you do wish to wear a kilt in Scotland, well, you go right ahead.
However. If you look around Scotland during your trip, you’ll notice a distinct lack of kilts being worn by the locals. This is because kilts are generally worn on celebrations and special occasions such as weddings.
You strolling down the high street wearing a kilt will not make you look like a local, instead, you’ll stand out like a sore thumb and will look like the biggest tourist going.
Now you are ready to see beautiful Scotland! Tell us how it went in the comments!
Until next time stay safe, stay curious and don’t stop wandering!