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Corey went to...Scotland!

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

Hello and welcome to I Went Somewhere!

Ok, full disclosure, the person who wrote this story is me, Corey. I started this website, and I figured I might as well throw my hat in the ring and tell a story about a trip I went on.

So get ready to spend the most forgettable 15 minutes of your life on reading about Scotland, because that's where we're going!

 

Hello! Tell us a little bit about you and where you traveled to...


Have you ever heard of a band called Travis? If you haven't, I'm not completely shocked, but if you have, you know how great of a band the are, and you'll also know that they come from Scotland.


I found out about Travis in my teenage years and have been obsessed with them every since. They're catchy, melodic, and just a good listen. But enough about the band and more about where they're from– Scotland.


It's a place that I always wanted to go, and back in 2018, finally made it happen and as obsessed as I am with Travis, I'm equally obsessed with the country.


My name is Corey, and my travel story is about Scotland (obviously).

How great was the trip?


How great was the trip? In one word, it was AMAZING! You can see all the pictures you want of Scotland, and really any where in the world, and it never tells the whole story.


On the flight to Glasgow, I fell asleep before we even took off, but I woke up as we began our descent, and I remember looking out the window as we pierced through the clouds and seeing the ground below. It was a rush of excitement and one of those "I can't believe I'm going to Scotland" moments.


Now, I know Scotland isn't the most excited or exotic place in the world, but whenever I get to go somewhere new, I get a little overwhelmed by this idea that I'm going to a place I'd only ever heard of for my entire life or that I've only seen on TV, in movies, or in picture.


So the excitement was real and despite being exhausted from the flight, I just wanted to hit the ground and get going. We only had a couple of days in Scotland before flying over to Dublin and exploring Ireland, so the plan was to sleep little, and explore a lot.


And that's exactly what we did.

What did you do while you were there?


We landed in Glasgow early afternoon, went through customs, and grabbed the rental car.


Because I'm a nerd, one thing I was most excited about was the driving. I love driving in different places, and I really like driving cars that we don't have at home. And they don't even have to be exotic or fancy, I just like driving something anyone would drive.


Anyway, we got the rental car, and it was a Hyundai Tucson. In the United States, we have those, but the difference was this was right hand drive, manual transmission, and a diesel. Those three things made it exciting. Otherwise, just another small SUV.


So we got the car, mastered the roundabouts around Glasgow and drove to the hotel in Strathsclyde. We only had two days, so we made a plan to hang out in Edinburgh one day, then explore the Scottish Highlands the next.


For me, Edinburgh was nice, the Edinburgh Castle was neat to visit, but the highlight was definitely the Highlands.


From Glasgow we took the A82 into Loch Lomond, and driving along Loch Lomond was simply incredible. When we were there, it was a bit on the damp side with a consistent drizzle. Not a big deal, it added to the mystique.

As we drove, we stopped along the way to take pictures, do little hikes, or grab something to eat the The Green Welly Stop. But there was a point where we stopped at the Bridge of Orchy where you couldn't help but get out of the car and just stare.


I don't know what it was, but it was just amazing. It's not like I haven't seen green hills, rivers, or fields before, but it just hit different– especially as we drove into Glencoe.


Throughout life so many people are looking for that "thing" to make them happy or having more money, more stuff, or whatever, but sometimes when you see and experience the stuff that surrounds you in that moment, that's what matters most.


The world is a pretty incredible place. Having the opportunity to explore it is a pretty amazing opportunity.

How did you learn and prepare for this trip?


I wouldn't say I'm an over-planner, but I'm definitely an over-thinker. So when I have a destination in mind, I over-think the plan and want to have it dialed in perfectly, which is a ridiculous expectation. Then I take a step back and tell myself that doing things sporadically is fine too.


But, I still went down a lot of rabbit holes looking for the best places to visit and to see. Granted, we had such a limited amount of time there was a lot left to be wanted after we left Scotland (trip number 2 in the future??). When it was decided that we definitely wanted to visit the Highlands, just browsing Google Maps looking for highlights, and reading different blogs and websites were invaluable...at least to have a general idea of the what and where for our visit.


For me, I kind of like the logistical planning on how to get there, where to stay, how we're going to get around. I, for some weird reason, actually enjoy doing that. So I probably spent more time on that than planning anything else. Not something I would necessarily recommend because I feel like we could have done more and enjoyed more had I focused on the activities part a little bit more.

How did you get there?


I was fortunate enough to had accrued enough Alaska Airlines miles through personal travel and by using the Alaska Airlines Visa credit card (no, this page isn't sponsored by Alaska or Visa) that I was able to book the flights using miles.


Because Alaska Airlines has Icelandair as a redemption partner, I lucked out and found Saga Class (Icelandair's business class) from Portland, Oregon to Glasgow, Scotland with a stop in Keflavik, Iceland.

In total, the one-way for two people from Portland to Glasgow was 55,000 (plus taxes and fees).


I don't want to get into a review of the onboard Icelandair experience, there's plenty of other websites that do that, but I found it to be extremely pleasant. It helped that the entire leg from Portland to Keflavik was turbulence-free and smooth. I'm sure there was a little bump here or there, but I nothing stands out.

If you do find yourself reading about how Icelandair's premium onboard product is lacking compared to other carriers, sure, it doesn't have private cubbies or lay-flat seats, but the flight was only 7 1/2 hours long (Icelandair's longest route I think?) and still better than Economy. So no complaints here.


Also, the crew was fantastic. Very friendly, attentive without being overbearing, and made the experience very comfortable.

Where did you stay?


We were boring and stayed at a hotel in Strathsclyde, just east of Glasgow.


Because of our short stay, I figured something somewhat close to Edinburgh but also close to Glasgow, and Strathsclyde was sort of in the middle.


The hotel price was reasonable. We didn't stay in anything fancy, but paid around $130 USD per night, which included free breakfast, so that saved us some money on food.


How much did it cost?


I think overall, it was less than $1,000 with the taxes paid for the air fare, rental car, food and hotels. But I don't know that it's a very fair assessment because I did use miles for the airfares, and I'm not sure how much those would have cost.


However, I do know that Icelandair does usually have pretty good fares, and depending where you're coming from, there are a lot of budget friendly airlines that fly into Glasgow and Edinburgh, especially within Europe.


Would you go back and do it again?


In a heartbeat. As has been mentioned, this place was mesmerizing and I loved this trip. It was nearly 5 years ago since we went, and we haven't stopped talking about it since.

Advice for people planning to do something similar?


Spend more time there than two days. I wish we would have explored more of the highlands or gone up to the Isle of Skye. I also wish we would have experienced and mingled more with the Scottish people and participated more in the culture of the area.


Admittedly, I think I under-planned this one. If I did it again, I would spend more time there, spend more time planning, and not do Edinburgh. Everyone says it's the best part of their trip to Scotland, but it's not my thing.


Where can we go to connect with you?

 

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Catch you next time. Happy travels!

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