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First time on a RS tour - signed up for Scotland 2022

I have enjoyed browsing the packing section and I think I belong to the “recreational packer” category.

My question is: Do most of the RS hotels provide hair dryers? I use a Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30, (carry on only as I hate the anxiety of possibly losing my bag and love the ease of having just what I need and no more) and don’t usually carry a hair dryer. Also is the general “dress code” fairly casual for women? I dislike dressing up but don’t want to feel completely out of sync.

It has been 5 years since I was in Europe - very excited to be heading back next year.

Posted by
83 posts

Yes - "most" hotels have hair dryers. One you receive the full list of hotels you can check their web sites to verify. If you do bring your own make sure it handles 120/220 vac; otherwise you will need a converter in addition to a European plug. See the RS store for plug recommendations for Europe.

Posted by
1299 posts

RS tours are quite casual, wear what you want.
I don't think I had a hotel that didn't provide a hairdryer in any of the 6 tours I have done so far.

Posted by
6617 posts

Every tour I've been on the dinners are not even close to formal events. They are mostly people just showing up in the same clothes they wore all day, and no expectation of socializing. Take a look at some of the scrapbooks and group pictures on this website and you can see what people wear. No big deal.

Posted by
1686 posts

From what I’ve read, bringing your own hairdryer is really too risky, even if it claims 120/220; if your hotel doesn’t have one and you feel you really need one, you could buy it there.

Posted by
5112 posts

I'm so excited for you! I know you will have a wonderful time. I took my first Rick Steves Tour as an experiment, "is group travel a match for me?" I loved that tour. I signed up for another tour the next year and enjoyed it even more. I had one cancelled last year but am signed up for Sept 2022.

I really don't think anyone paid a great deal of attention to anything resembling a "dress code." People dressed in clothes that were comfortable for them and could be versitile in multiple settings. Some of the women looked "put together" no matter where we were or what we were doing. I have always admired those women! The rest of us dressed for comfort and utility. No one seemed to care either way.

If you are a solo traveler, it is hard to tell from your post, I do have a little advice for you.

Get the single supplement, be willing to reach out to others, and have plans you can do independently during free time determined in advance. Chances are good you will find others wanting to do something together, but if not, be prepared to enjoy yourself solo.

I have found the people on Rick Steves tours to be exceptionaly agreeable and enjoyable to travel with. I always learn a great deal from the guides and feel like I get a good value from the tour.

Posted by
21037 posts

I've stayed in over 120 European lodgings in the last 6 years, most of them very budget-level places that were not as nice as the ones used on your tour. There's nearly always a hairdryer in the room, though it may be tucked away somewhere. If you don't see one, ask at the desk. I would definitely not use precious luggage space for a hairdryer.

Posted by
334 posts

British building codes forbid 220v sockets in bathrooms. So hairdryers are either hardwired into the wall or more likely you will find it in a desk or dresser drawer in the bedroom. Look for the tea making equipment, it will likely be near that as there is often only one socket..

Dress in Scotland tends to be for warmth and dryness. Slacks, jeans, sweaters, blouses and a shawl. Layering works well. Great souvenir is a nice wool sweater or shawl.

Posted by
3 posts

We took the Best of Scotland tour in 2018 and loved it. Everything was informal throughout the tour, which added to the charm. If you only use the hairdryer to dress-up, don’t give it another thought and leave it at home.
If you always use a hair dryer and can’t live without it, I agree with others who suggested you borrow one from the hotel. You will be able to contact the hotels before your trip to ask if they have them at the front desk. If they don’t, you can have an adventure shopping for one while you’re in Scotland.
Besides the bother of making space in your carry-on, you don’t want to be the one who uses a 110v hair dryer from home that isn’t dual voltage that blows out all the wiring at the hotel.

Posted by
43 posts

I, too, have signed up for the longer Scotland tour. Mine is in May!
There is usually a hair dryer in the rooms.
And yes, the dress code is pretty casual. I was once on a tour where a woman had a ginormous suit case. She had a different outfit every day (with jewelry to match!) but most of us have the same basics over and over again. I choose tops that I can wash out in the sink and dry overnight. Look at the scrapbooks to get an idea. And a lot of the time (in the early and late tours especially) what you see are jackets for rain and/or wind and/or cold.

Posted by
26 posts

Hi Whisper - Best wishes on your first tour! We've done two (2018, 2019) and really enjoyed them.

One observation I made on both tours is that many of the women in our groups, including myself, had Travelon anti-theft bags. They varied a bit in size & color but were pretty similar. We all had a chuckle about it.

Posted by
480 posts

Bring some Dramamine. Riding the bus through the Highlands did in a few of my fellow passengers.
Other than that....very nice, great hotels. I went places I'd never go on my own. Loved Kenmore and the Crannog Center.

Posted by
838 posts

Whisper:

Scotland is a wonderful experience. I booked two nights in Edinburgh before the RS gang got together and two nights post-tour; highly recommended for acclimatization and relaxation.

You are scheduled a year out so you have plenty of time to monitor the forums and search for past posts suggesting basic clothing for Scotland. I was in Scotland with RS in April 2019, unusually pleasant weather with rain on only one day so I was in shorts every day, backed up by easy-care layers and a waterproof jacket. I packed an ultralight travel blazer for our two or three fancy dinners but I'd have been just as comfortable in my shorts.

I used a 40l duffle with backpack straps and a 20l backpack for personal items (I travel carry-on only) and I had plenty of room for all my stuff.. (My new Aeronaut 45 is just screaming to travel but I could not use it last year and the wife will not let me return to Europe until 2023 earliest.) I did not notice hairdryers in any of our lodgings but I had no reason to look. Seems one would be available at the desk if necessary.

Enjoy!

Posted by
11217 posts

One earlier post I want to mention so you don't just skip over it. There are no electric plugs in the bathrooms (There might be one for the shaver but that won't be strong enough.). That is British law. You will find the hairdryer somewhere in the bedroom--could be in a drawer or closet with a mirror near a wall oulet. You may have to look for it. You will also have to dry your hair in the bedroom.

I have been to Scotland many times and have stayed in numerous hotels there. Some basic, some not. And every one had a hairdryer in the room. (I don't use one but I've always seen it.)

The other reason not to bring one is the voltage. Unless yours is dual voltage, it will fry the first time you plug it in.

Posted by
386 posts

I've been on two RS tours and there was only one time when the room had no hairdryer, but at that particular hotel, they had a few behind the front desk, available on request.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you all so much for this great information. Will not bring hair dryer (mine is dual voltage but sounds like there will be one somewhere). I live in a rainy area and my hair takes so long to dry that it makes the rest of me cold, thus the question.

Will bring dramamine equivalent and so pleased it is casual.

Posted by
9675 posts

I'll add that when I took this tour in 2018 all hotels had hair dryers. The itinerary has changed a little but I'd still expect there would be hair dryers. In fact, I've never NOT had a hair dryer in the room on any RS tour!

This tour is the only tour out of 11 RS tours I've done where I wished I'd packed my rain pants. Yep, the day in Mull and Iona in June it was raining and windy. The guide had hers tucked into her day pack and I really wanted mine too. I'd not bring ones that take up a lot of room but if you have good rain pants that are lightweight and fold up to about the size of your fist, I'd bring them.

You do need a waterPROOF (not water resistant) jacket with a hood for this trip. An umbrella is useless as it's windy as well and the umbrella will just turn inside out in a heartbeat!

This is a great tour! Enjoy yourself and the casual, friendly group atmosphere!