Scotland: What to Pack for Summer Travel (for Women)
One of the biggest challenges of packing for a trip to Scotland is the pesky and unpredictable weather. With temperatures ranging from chilly to mild depending on the time of year, you never know what you will get!
You may luck out and have sun, but I’d almost say to expect rain at least once a day! To help you prepare for your trip, here are a few tips for what to pack for Scotland in summer for my fellow ladies:
SUMMERTIME: When we did our grand Scotland road-trip, we went in June. The summer season in Scotland really only lasts from June to August, but this can vary depending on the year. Even during summer, the weather can quickly change to feel chilly- especially when it rains, or if it’s windy. With that, you should be prepared for anything!
One thing we were pleasantly surprised by (though we should have known better after our trip to Iceland!) is the long amount of daylight during a summer visit. Due to Scotland’s northern location, in June for instance, daylight can last from before 4 am until after 11 pm. We viewed this as a positive thing as it made us feel we had more time in the day to explore!
Typically, temperatures during the summer are around 15°C to 17°C (59°F to 63°F). However, even on sunny summer days, the breeze often brings a chill, which is why layering clothing is a wise choice! This brings me to my next topic…
LAYER UP!: When packing for your trip to Scotland, I have one key tip to share: dress in layers!! Although Scotland does receive that rare sunshine, the weather is among the most unpredictable I’ve ever experienced. The layering doesn’t just apply to when you’re packing, but also when you’re out exploring during the day. Being able to add or remove layers quickly will ensure you’re happy no matter what. With that, I’d recommend a decent sized day-bag or small stylish backpack (versus a purse). This way you can add and remove clothing as needed, and have room for a compact umbrella!
JACKETS: No matter when you visit Scotland, you should always pack a waterproof jacket (or a lightweight rain jacket- this is the one I brought!). Scotland is notorious for rain, and a good quality jacket will keep you comfortable.I purchased a lightweight one that I could easily squish up and put in my day-pack to have ready for the inevitable pop up showers. I ended up pulling out my rain jacket at least once a day. I also brought a “stylish jacket” that I paired with dresses or other outfits to wear out to dinner- although it wasn’t waterproof!
SHOES: Scotland is a country of rugged landscapes and historic cities with those pesky cobblestones, so you’ll want to pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes. You get bonus points if they are waterproof! Sneakers (I wore my Adidas most days as they look cute with jeans or a dress) or hiking boots are both good options, depending on your plans. I personally found these cute ankle length rain boots, and wore them every day. They looked good in both casual and outdoorsy settings, and I didn’t have to worry about getting them wet or muddy. I ended up wearing these basically every day of my trip!
GENERAL RULE: When it comes to fashion, Scotland isn’t known for being particularly trendy, at least in comparison to other European countries- and I don’t mean this in a bad way! The vibe I got is that you can really wear whatever you like in Scotland! The focus seems to be more on practicality and comfort. Casual attire, maybe a bit dressed up, seems generally appropriate for most occasions, including a night out on the town.
HIKING & THE OUTDOORS: If you plan to do some hiking or outdoor exploring during your trip to Scotland, you won’t fully enjoy it unless you pack appropriately. In the summer, a good waterproof jacket is essential- and again, dress in layers! For footwear, hiking boots that are water resistant are ideal. Quick-drying or water-resistant pants are also a good idea, along with thick socks (these are my favorite hiking socks).
I personally wore hiking leggings, thick socks, hiking boots, a moisture-wicking t-shirt, a cotton jacket, and then a rain jacket on top. On a few of the hikes (such as the Old Man of Storr in Skye, and hiking around the cliffs in Orkney) the wind made me cold enough to merit adding my snow hat and gloves! Yes, even in June I wore a snow hat! See our hiking outfits below:
MIDGES: If you’re visiting Scotland in the summer, watch out for midges– annoying and pesky little flying insects! They’re like tiny mosquitoes and they love to hang out in marshy areas. Unfortunately, they also love to bite! We, thankfully, weren’t bothered by them too much, but some tourists really suffer. If you’re planning to venture out into the wilderness between May and September (midge season), you might want to pack some repellent just in case. Locals told us that they swear by Avon Skin So Soft lotion versus purchasing official “insect spray”.
THE LIST: Okay, so here’s what you might have been waiting for- an official list!
Here’s a general list of things I personally brought (feel free to copy me!)
Jeans, black hiking leggings, and biker shorts (to wear under dresses when it’s windy!)
Dresses or Skirt/Top combos- Maybe not the most practical, but I wanted cute photos! Also I actually was very comfortable with these in the cities and small towns. I wore biker shorts underneath, and paired them with comfortable Adidas sneakers, or my ankle-length rain boots.
Links: Dress One: Green-White Flowy Long Sleeve Dress | Dress Two: Sweater Dress | Dress Three: Green Peasant Style | Dress Four: This bodysuit with this flowy chiffon skirt over it (perfect for photos!), and this skirt too!
A few light tops, t-shirts, and long sleeve shirts. Keep it breezy, folks.
I wore this white blouse over my short-sleeve shirts on most days. It was practical, and added a bit of style.
I also ended up using my blanket scarf more often than I had thought! It added a bit of Scottish flair to my outfits, but also kept me warm when I was often, unexpectedly, cold. Again, the key is to layer up… like a stylish onion.
Summer raincoat for the colder days. Yep, a summer coat is totally a thing! Think light and ideally water repellent. Again, I smashed this one up into my purse and ended up taking it out most days. I also packed a cotton jacket for the plane, but ended up wearing it under my rain jacket a few times.
Footwear: Adidas sneakers, Ahnu hiking boots, ankle-length rain boots.
Some cute ‘fits to wear out to the pubs. Honestly, this was really just jeans, sneakers, and a cute top usually. I did buy this faux-suede jacket and found it looked cute with my dresses, and my jean/top outfits too.
By following these tips and packing appropriately, you’ll be prepared for any weather Scotland might throw your way. Happy travels, and I hope you enjoyed my guide of what to pack for Scotland in summer for women!
EXTRAS: With every trip, there are a few basic items I almost always bring with me. These include:
My luggage of choice: checked bag size and carry on size
Small combination padlock to keep on my purse or day bag to prevent theft
Portable charger to keep in my purse
Packing cubes to stay organized
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