5 Things I learned from my trip to Scotland
A and I at Stonehaven Castle
5.) Arrive at the train or bus station a half an hour a head of scheduled departure. And make sure your traveling companion does the same.
More than once on my trip I found me and my friend A running for the train and/or bus. I hate that. I hate it for two reasons. The first reason is because we’d paid a head and gotten good deals on the train tickets. The second reason is because if there’s time to spare, I can get oriented and there’s no last minute panic to get on the train, no chance of missing it. It’s just smart to be there a head.
4.) Know you’re traveling partner’s limits. A suffers from an noncontiguous illness that affects her day to day eating and routine. Additionally, she has bad knees. I am a bit of a goer when it comes to walking, moving and going places. I see a big hill; I want to climb the big hill. I also have a brisk pace and largely no stomach ailments. Thankfully for A I got sick on the trip. It was only a cold but it still managed to slow me down, so for the majority of the trip I didn’t want to do outdoorsy things like climbing and hiking. But at the end of the two weeks I was feeling better and my legs started itching to climb. So. I spent the evening going for a two hour walk/run all over Stirling by myself which was liberating, physically and mentally. The moral of this story is that make sure that if you want to do big things, the person your with is capable of them and if not, that they’re willing to allow you to take some time and do it yourself.
As said above, A’s knees went out at one point, possibly from all the climbing/stairs. Thankfully mine did not, so I was able to carry things like luggage for her. Knowing someone’s limits can really help with what your able to do and help slow the other down.
3.) Grab lots of snack foods.
I really push this if your someone like me who hungers easily and is prone to shaking and fainting fits. Granola and energy bars are good but my personal favourite is Chocolate Soy milk. I’m not a vegetarian but I find that it’s a rich, dense drink packed with energy and nutrients to get you to that next ‘real’ meal. Related to this is making sure you don’t eat out if you’re on a budget. I think it’s important to eat some restaurant food, especially if you’ve traveled a long way and are tired. While it’s sad to see the money go, it’s nice to have a big, hot meal slid in front of you.
2.) Don’t over pack.
Yeah that’s a general travelers warning, but I didn’t heed it. I had six pairs of jeans with me. SIX! It was too much. It made my bag heavy and really I didn’t need to. It was one of the best lessons I could have gathered from this trip. I don’t really have any comments otherwise from this, just pack less than you think you need.
1.) DO NOT USE ROLLING LUGGAGE.
I brought one of those big-ass rolling bags to Europe. Biggest mistake. It was a mistake because of my method of travel. If you’re going through Europe by car and staying in hotels, or if you’re on a bus tour the whole way, I highly recommend the rolling bag. But if you’re going by train and staying in hostels for the majority of the journey, than I say nay. Don’t do it. Its cumbersome on cobles and it don’t roll up them hostel stairs.
While this isn’t the exact set, it was the largest one I brought and a small dakine backpack.