How & Why to Rent an RV Through Scotland With Kids

by farrah on May 13, 2015 · 5 comments

I have so much to say about Scotland, I don’t even know where to begin. To take the easy way out, it was more than I expected and better than I had hoped. And that’s including the stove incident, late-night retching, and adjusting to driving an enormous RV for the first time- on the opposite side of the car (and road) than we’re used to! Today I’m just going to dive in to the how & why to rent an RV through Scotland because it was by far and away one of the best vacations I’ve ever had (with or without my kids).

RV rental ScotlandBoys named it Bilbo Simpson Ritter. (?)

Why

Go via RV because it’s different, fun, exciting, easy and throws a whole new spin on ‘seeing the countryside’. And if there’s ever a country to see the side of- my goodness that is Scotland. This was the perfect place for us to try our RV skills out considering it is hands-down one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. We didn’t mind driving a few hours from place to place. The boys had a blast sitting at a table playing games and bickering. It didn’t feel like a regular road trip- it was more of a constant adventure since there was the added excitement of driving on the right.

So if you’re into beautiful places- this is it. Watch Outlander? Yeah. It pretty much looks exactly like that. The rolling hills, huge lochs, crumbling castles- it’s all there. My expat friend Alison Chino of Chino House does the country justice. Just for a taste check her out on IG– you won’t be sorry!

Our wheels

What we rented was a six-berth motorhome, and it felt like we were the first people to use it. It only had around 2,000 miles on it when we got it- and was clean as clean could be. So clean, in fact, that I was a bit nervous about my crew doing irreparable damage.

My husband gets all the props here for finding Open Road Scotland, as he emailed Andy (the owner) and ironed out the details of our rental. We flew into Glasgow and Andy met us at a hotel across the street, took us around the corner to the RV lot and kept our suitcases for us so I could unpack our packing cubes and put them right into the cupboards on board. I think back now as to how helpful this really was- space is the hot commodity on this kind of trip. I can’t imagine having to deal with two giant suitcases plus five rolling-carry ons and our backpacks. That would have been an incredible waste of space, so huge thanks to Andy for even suggesting they hold onto our luggage.

I entertained the boys in the office while Andy gave my husband the run down on where stuff was, how to use it, fill the water, empty the waste tank, use the electrical, gas, etc. This is really a moment one of you needs to focus, so I highly advise one to wrangle the kids while the other takes this crash course in RVs.

The numbers

RV rental ScotlandOur first campground stop.

  • For the time of year we rented, it was around €600 for the 5 nights and 6 days. Of course, this isn’t ‘high season’ and we felt it was well worth it vs. hotels. The experience alone was worth the price.
  • Gas fill ups were around €80 when we stopped. We didn’t’ let the tank ever get too low (when you’re out in the middle of nowhere you don’t want to run out of gas!).
  • Nightly campgrounds were €20-€30 per night. We always stopped at ones with hookups and water, bathrooms and showers. We like the idea of ‘wild camping’ (just pulling off somewhere and camping) but it’s not for us (i.e. me). I liked that we had heat all night in the camper and could fill up our water/empty out when need be. Tip: Try to book a campground in advance (as in that morning, or the day before). It will give you an idea of a destination, and you won’t be left scrambling around the kids’ bedtime to find somewhere to go. A later post will review each of our campgrounds.
  • We stopped at grocery stores and stocked up on the essentials every couple of days (about €20-€30). We ate simple and easy, which when you have to wash your dishes in such close quarters is just a stress-saver.
  • There’s also an additional cost of insurance (we had a €1,000 deductible) which I highly advise you to get (and depending on who you rent with is probably required). I had that stove incident and since the cost of replacing that glass isn’t over 1K (thankfully!) we’ll just pay out-of-pocket for it to be replaced.

Driving

RV rental ScotlandAfter waking up, this is the face that greeted me 🙂

I was asked by a few readers if I drove the RV. We had planned on it, but when we picked it up my husband realized it was a manual (stick) which for the life of me can’t figure out how to drive. If you both want to drive, you should probably check this detail first.

Additionally some people asked if driving on the right side of the vehicle was difficult- well, I didn’t drive. But there were absolutely some nail-biting moments when my husband got turned around or forgot to be in the left lane. Plus, we saw more roundabouts in Scotland than our entire time in the NL- where, we have a TON. And it’s really saying something that Scotland has so many more. Be prepared- as it’s easy to get confused the first time you’re going through them. Use the GPS and make sure you have a partner sitting shotgun there to help guide the driver.

Props

RV rental ScotlandUs in Stonehaven.

As we were getting ready to go, we asked Andy if there were Trip Advisor reviews or anything similar where we could give our opinion. Unfortunately he said that no, not as of yet for the RV rental crowd, so hopefully that will change because I think it’s invaluable to know who you’re dealing with regarding a rental of this magnitude. We’d give Andy and Open Road Scotland a perfect score if we could.  He answered whenever we had to call with a question or concern, and truly felt like a friend and not just some rental guy. I say read their testimonials if you’re looking for confirmation.

Will we do this again? I sure hope so! In fact, my husband and I already talked about someday buying one when we’re back in the US for our family travels and this pretty much solidified that we really will look into it once we return.

This is the first post in a series on our Scotland trip. More to come.

All photos by Farrah Ritter.

Nothing to disclose, just one heck of an awesome trip I’d love for someone else to experience. 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elizabeth May 13, 2015 at 9:40 pm

I second the beauty of Scotland. When I found out we were moving overseas, I kept asking why Bosch couldn’t have a plant in the Highlands of Scotland. But, of course, if they did, it wouldn’t be so beautiful. Out of all the places I’ve ever been, Scotland is my favorite!

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2 farrah May 16, 2015 at 9:55 am

You know what, they did. We knew a guy that worked for them and it was near St. Andrews! I remember being at a party where he showed his house (aerial view) and it was on the coast. Anyhow, he left the company not soon after the assignment was over!

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3 Elizabeth May 16, 2015 at 11:14 am

Oh, my goodness! Here’s hoping…

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4 Ann May 13, 2015 at 10:12 pm

Scotland is my favorite, too. There’s something about the highlands that’s just so — cool. Alison’s lucky to be there.

It was our honeymoon destination and we promised to go every 5 years anniversary – we’re due another trip next year. Since we’ve only gone in the winter, I think I want to go when it’s slightly warmer and try your tips.

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5 farrah May 16, 2015 at 9:56 am

I loved it. Simply loved it. I guess I didn’t really expect to like it as much as I did either- the method of travel didn’t hurt either as I could actually enjoy the scenery around me!

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