Make sure your holiday goes smoothly by picking up some Edinburgh travel tips. While there are many similarities between Australia and the UK, there are also some subtle differences. Things like remembering to check plug adapters (you’ll definitely need one) or sorting out visas can slip your mind in all the holiday excitement.
One thing you won’t need are vaccinations. While it’s always good to check with your doctor that you’re in good health before you travel, you shouldn’t need any extra jabs. As in Australia, tap water and ice are all fine to consume straight from the tap. As far as holiday admin goes, there’s minimal preparation required.
Australian residents don’t need to organise UK visas before travel. If you visit Edinburgh for six months or less as a tourist (this includes visiting friends and family) then you simply show your valid Australian passport at the UK border control. Planning to work or study? Then you may need to apply for a different, non-tourist visa. Check the UK Government’s website for current visa requirements before you depart.
The UK currency is the British pound (GBP), which is generally stronger than the Australian dollar. Currency can be easily changed before you depart, or once you’re in the UK. You’ll find plenty of money exchange outlets, or head to banks and post offices with a bureau de change service. ATMs are commonplace and contactless credit and debit card payments are widely accepted.
There are lots of western dishes you’ll be familiar with when exploring Edinburgh food. If you’re keen to try regional specialties make sure you have tatty scones for breakfast (like potato pancakes) and black pudding (blood sausage). For an all-out Scottish experience, search for haggis with tatties and neeps (potato and swede) on the side.
Tipping in Edinburgh
There’s a good minimum wage across the UK and Scotland, so if you decide to tip for exceptional service it will top up an already reasonable salary. Tipping is generally reserved for hospitality staff and taxis. You may also see plenty of buskers and street performers throughout the city, so having loose change on hand for an especially great bagpipe player won’t go astray.
UK Electrical Plugs and Voltage
While both Australia and the UK run on a 230V system, the catch is the shape of the plugs and sockets. You should be fine to use your electrical appliances without a converter, but you will need an Australian to UK adapter to plug them into the mains. Pick an adapter up at the airport or travel store before you head off. Failing that, you’ll spot travel plugs in electrical, souvenir and even some pharmacy stores in Edinburgh.
Language in Edinburgh
English is the primary language in Edinburgh, but the city attracts students and visitors from around the world. Don’t be surprised if you hear myriad languages. What might trip you up is the Scottish accent and local dialect. Expressions like ‘wee’ for small, ‘dram’ for a measure of spirits, and ‘aye’ for yes are commonly thrown into conversation. If you’re not sure what someone said, simply ask them to repeat it.
Edinburgh International Airport is only 12km from the city centre. It services international and domestic flights. There’s a regular bus and tram service to and from the airport, or it’s easy to hail a taxi. When visiting, give yourself enough time to pose with the Edinburgh sign outside the arrival doors. This will make a great ‘in Edinburgh’ photo to take home.