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So, you’re traveling to Scotland in the summer. Lucky you! Scotland is an enchanting country filled with lush green landscapes, lively cities, and interesting people. We spent one week road tripping from Inverness to Edinburgh in a tiny rental car and had an absolute blast.
Of course, packing for a trip to the UK can be a challenge. The weather is unpredictable and often downright dreadful. But it is definitely doable to pack light and still have everything you need for a trip to Scotland in the summer.
Here is a packing guide based on everything we packed (or wished we had packed!) for our trip to Scotland last August.
Gear for Travel to Scotland in the Summer
Backpack – Osprey Porter 46L. We are huge fans of traveling with only a carry-on. (Last winter we spent 16 days in Europe with only carry-ons, and we were traveling with a baby!) Our go-to bag for the past five years has been the Osprey Porter 46L backpack. It’s big enough to fit everything we need but small enough to meet the carry-on requirements on most airlines. We’ve never had trouble using it as a carry-on, even budget European airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet. Read our full review here.
Suitcase – Away Carry-On. I love my Osprey Porter backpack. But when traveling while pregnant or with a baby, I much prefer a rolling suitcase (since I’m usually already lugging around enough extra weight!). Sam bought me the super popular Away Carry-On suitcase last year, and now I completely understand the hype. It’s sturdy, well designed, and rolls like a dream. It also comes with some great bonus features, like a battery pack and laundry bag.
Packing Cubes. Staying organized is super important when traveling light, and the best way to keep a suitcase or backpack organized is to use packing cubes. I like to use one for my clothes and one for my PJs and underwear. I also use one for all of Claire’s clothes when we’re sharing a suitcase. These are the ones we have.
Day Bag. A small day bag is handy to hold any essentials you may want to take on hikes or out sightseeing in the cities. Sam uses this one. I like this one.
Clear Toiletry Bag. To avoid extra hassle when passing through airport security, I highly recommend purchasing and using a clear toiletry bag. Sam bought me some for Christmas after we almost missed our connection in London because security officers had to do extra screening on my luggage! Clear toiletry bags are a total security game changer.
Dry Bag. On trips that involve lots of outdoor adventuring in wet climates, we like to pack a dry bag or two to protect our electronics from water damage.
Clothing for Travel to Scotland in the Summer
Rain Jacket. This one should come as no surprise! The weather in the UK is wet, even in the summer. Be sure to take a rain jacket and have it handy at all times, because you never know when the weather might take a turn for the worse. We bought these jackets specifically for this trip, and they worked out really well.
Waterproof Hiking Shoes/Boots. If you’re planning to do much hiking (and you definitely should!), be sure to pack good, waterproof hiking shoes or boots. I took my Merrell hiking boots and wore them nearly every day, especially when hiking on the Isle of Skye.
Comfortable Walking Shoes. Though not strictly necessary, I also packed a pair of sneakers, because I didn’t really want to wear my mucky hiking boots out to dinner or walking around town (but I still wanted my feet to feel comfortable if we ended up walking for miles through the city). I packed these ones.
Quick-Dry Athletic Clothing. If you plan to hike, pack one to two athletic/hiking outfits that are breathable and quick drying. Sam loves his Merino wool shirt, because it doesn’t smell even after he’s worn it on multiple hikes. I love the athletic clothes from Lululemon.
Sweatshirt. Even in summer, the temperature in Scotland can be cool, especially in the evening or early morning. I recommend packing a hoodie, sweater, or sweatshirt to stay warm.
Jeans. I wore jeans basically any time we weren’t hiking. They are low maintenance and go with everything.
T-Shirts/Blouse. Pack two or three t-shirts or blouses. I packed a few drape-y tops that I could wear on their own or layered under a zippered sweater on cooler days.
Pajamas. I usually only pack one pair of pajamas. My favorite sleepwear for travel are my silk pajamas from Lunya. They are definitely a splurge, but they feel fantastic and can last a long time between washings.
Socks. I usually pack enough socks for a week and plan to do laundry on longer trips. I like these socks for hiking and these no-show socks to wear with jeans and sneakers.
Underwear. Again, I pack enough for a week and plan to do laundry. ExOfficio underwear is good for travel, because they dry quickly if you have to hand wash them in the sink.
Miscellaneous Essentials for Scotland in Summer
Pack Towel. Depending on your itinerary, a pack towel might come in handy. We really wished we had had one when we had to ford a stream barefoot on our way to the Fairy Pools! Sam also could have used one after taking a polar plunge at a beach near Edinburgh.
Umbrella. An umbrella is basically an essential in the UK. Either pack one or plan to buy one once you arrive (to save luggage space).
Eye Cover/Ear Plugs. Summer days in Scotland are long! I always like to take an eye cover and ear plugs on trips so I can sleep well even in un-ideal circumstances. These are the best earplugs!
Water Bottle. Having a water bottle is super handy, especially if you plan to do a lot of hiking! We use one like this that has a built-in water filter.
Passport. Obviously, having a valid passport is essential for travelers who are visiting from outside the UK! It’s always a good idea to be sure your passport is valid for at least six months and has a minimum of two blank pages. (Americans don’t need a travel visa to visit the UK for up to six months. Be sure to check visa requirement for citizens of your home country.)
Power Brick. It’s a law of travel that your electronics will die at the least opportune moments. That’s just how things go. So to be sure we aren’t lost in the middle of nowhere with a dead phone, we always travel with a power brick. We have used this one in the past. (If you’re using an Away suitcase, you can use the ejectable power brick that comes with your bag!)
Voltage Converter/Outlet Adaptor. If you’re traveling from outside the UK, you will likely need to take an outlet adaptor and a voltage converter. Scotland uses type G sockets and the standard voltage is 230v (as opposed to 120v in the United States). We use this voltage converter, because we can plug in multiple electronics and USB cables at once.
Tide Packets. We always travel with a few of these Tide packets we can use to wash our socks or underwear in the sink in case we are staying somewhere without laundry facilities. The last thing you want is to have to re-wear smelly socks that are still damp from yesterday’s hike!
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