Are you planning on vacationing to Scotland? Are you worried about embarrassing yourself? Accidentally insulting a stranger? Acting like a fanny? This guide is for you!
Please note this is just a tongue-in-cheek bit of fun, and I hope I don’t insult anyone. If I have, please
email Yvette directly. In the subject, please write “Delete this email without opening.”
Also, fanny doesn’t mean the same thing over here. On with the nonsense!
What Not To Do When You Visit Scotland
Food & Drink
1. Spell ‘whisky’ as ‘whiskey’
‘Whiskey’ is Irish or indeed American.
Bourbon isn’t whisky. We laugh at Bourbon. Then drink copious amounts of it at weekends anyway.
2. Add anything other than water or ice to your whisky
The barman will escort you to the door where the police will meet you to escort you to the airport. That’s like slapping God in the face for giving you a beautiful gift.
3. Refer to whisky as Scotch
Or the people for that matter. You can call us sexy.
4. Accept a drink without buying one in return
“The round” system dictates that everyone in a group must buy everyone else in the group a drink, no matter how many people there are. Ten-person rounds aren’t uncommon. Neither are hangovers.
5. Buy bottled water
Our water is amazing. Bring a refillable bottle. Whether tap water or straight from a highland stream, it is a gift from the Gods.
6. Come all this way and not try haggis
If you’ve ever eaten hot dogs, you’ve eaten worse. At least we don’t hide what the ingredients are.
7. Ask if we know your friend Jock McTavish from Auchtermuchty
There are more than 5 million of us. There’s a good chance we don’t. Unless it’s Jock McTavish from Auchtermuchty who used to play rugby as a laddie and his grandad used to run the butchers in the
8. Refer to yourself as Scottish
If you, your parents, your grandparents, your great grandparents, et al once vacationed in Seton Sands Caravan Park this doesn’t make you Scottish or whatever other tenuous link you can conjure up. We do accept exemplary applications for membership though.
9. Start a conversation about religion
Sectarianism in Scotland is still rife in certain areas. It’s a subject best avoided. Even our football teams have strong links to Catholicism and Protestantism. Aye, it’s stupid. We know.
10. Ask someone if they can play the bagpipes
Of course we can. Every single one of us. The Scottish government supplies a “My first bagpipes set”
as part of the Baby Boxes given out to new parents.
11. Expect us to be ‘perma-kilted’
Times have changed, “Now, the kilt was only for day-to-day wear. In battle, we donned a full-length ball gown covered in sequins. The idea was to blind your opponent with luxury” – Groundskeeper
12. Ask a man what’s under his kilt
It’s his boaby. If a man is in a kilt, it’s likely for a special occasion and he’s more than likely had a few
drinks and will be delighted to show you ‘the last turkey in the shop.’
13. Speak with a Scottish accent
Even if you’re on your 7th round just don’t. We were probably enjoying talking to you up until that
point but will likely make any excuse to leave. “Sorry, I’ve left my gerbil on fire at home.”
14. Talk about politics
The whole independence thing can be pretty divisive. We just tend to save our opinions for the voting booth here. Probably best you don’t bring up US politics either as you might not hear what you expected whether you’re a gun-toting redneck republican or one of those tree-hugging liberals.
On a side note, I’ve still never met a Scotsman who liked Margaret Thatcher. I hope I never do.
15. Complain about the lack of face clothes and top sheets
We’re a hardy bunch. We wash our faces with handfuls of gravel and sleep under unravelled kilts. Seriously though – this has been the most discussed topic on the Scotland Travel Tips Facebook group. It’s mind-boggling.
16. Take our gruffness as rude
It rains here 367 days a year. It’s mostly down to seasonal affective disorder. We might walk around
with a face like a smacked arse but we are genuinely some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.
17. Queue Jump
If you have ever wondered how lynch mobs become a thing this is a great way to find out.
18. Get offended if someone asks to “Bum a fag off you”
This literally means “Can I possibly have one of your cigarettes please my good man? I appear to
have left my cigarillos on the credenza in the boudoir.”
19. Make a movie about an immortal claymore-wielding Scotsman and have him played by a French Canadian with a plummy Scottish accent, while an actual Scotsman plays his Spanish mentor (but refuses to speak with anything but a Scottish accent.)
I am of course referring to 1986’s should’ve-been-straight-to-video classic, Highlander, starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery. I slate Braveheart and Mel Gibson in every other article I’ve
ever written so it was time to mix it up.
Travel and Transport
20. Forget to thank the bus driver
I was shocked recently to learn that it isn’t universal to say “Cheers, driver” when disembarking a public bus. Manners go a long way.
21. Stay in the overtaking lane
If you are driving on a motorway or dual carriageway and overtake a slower vehicle don’t forget to move back into the left lane when it is safe to do so.
22. Rent a car without reading this first
Read this guide to driving in Scotland and it will make you much better prepared.
Yes, I am promoting one of my own articles on my travel blogger wife’s website. It’s a goal of mine to have the article with the most reads as it will wind her up to no end. Share it with your friends!
23. Butcher world famous place names
Edinburgh is pronounced “Ed-in-bruh”. Glasgow is pronounced “Glazz-go”. Milngavie is pronounced
“Mull-guy.” Erm… aye.
24. Rub the dog’s nose
Just don’t touch the Greyfriars Bobby statue in Edinburgh at all. He’s a national hero and should be recognised as such. Some eejit tour guide made up the rumour it was lucky to stroke his nose. It isn’t It angers him and he is a vengeful pooch.
25. Think Scotland is part of England
I just mean… what…?!
These are just some funny examples; we aren’t actually that judgmental. Get the plane tickets sorted, book some accommodation, and come have a good time with us. Oh, and bring money – it’s your round.
Sunday 21st of May 2023
These tips are so good! As a fellow Kiwi, as is your Yvette, we tend to thank the bus driver when we hop off too. Maybe it's the wee bit of Scot in many of us!
Friday 10th of February 2023
Very entertaining. Still not quite sure on haggis though.
Saturday 4th of February 2023
Excellent! Loved every one!! Can't wait to try these out!! If I end up in jail it will be your fault!
Saturday 4th of February 2023
Love these hints! Thanks to you're husband for educating us. I really enjoy your posts.
Friday 3rd of February 2023
I first thought, 25 ? Seems a lot..... But,no, it's a great practical summary of very good advice to help not only the new visitors (USA especially). Of course, it may require more than one visit to fully appreciate them.