Before you Travel
You will need a valid Passport to enter the United Kingdom (Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom) and re-enter the United States or your country of residence. If you are a USA resident and do not yet have a passport, you may make application at most United States Post Offices. Allow at least six weeks to apply and secure a passport if you are a USA citizen, or you may obtain a passport more quickly (typically within two weeks) by paying an expedited application fee.
International Participants (non-USA Citizens)
If you are a citizen or subject of a country other than the USA, you should contact the British Consulate in your home country regarding visa requirements for entry into the United Kingdom. As requested, the Scotland Institute will provide you with a “letter of invitation” to assist with the travel visa application process.
Despite the periodic news reports, travel and study in the United Kingdom in general (and Edinburgh in particular) remains statistically a relatively safe activity with minimal risk. However, it is always a good idea to have a companion when going out in the evening. Stay in familiar areas and use good judgment when venturing out. The only “crime” we have experienced over the past twenty years in our visits to the UK have been a couple of “pick pocket” attempts in the crowded tourist areas, a stolen camera, and a stolen passport. Always keep your purse or backpack closed and valuables secure when out and about. Using reasonable precaution and common sense, you are at no greater safety risk in the United Kingdom than in any other major city in the USA or abroad.
Let your physician know that you will be visiting the UK. Minor medical issues may be paid “out-of-pocket” in the UK at NHS clinics at little or no charge – but there is no guarantee of this. Please check with your health insurance company to ascertain the extent of your policy coverage in the United Kingdom to ensure that you have adequate medical insurance coverage in the event of illness or accident. Bring documentation for any prescription medicines that you will be bringing with you, as well as any relevant health information (such as blood type, diabetes, special needs, etc.). All Institute participants must maintain personal health insurance coverage while in the UK in case of a medical emergency. Each participant is solely responsible for the cost of necessary medical treatment or medical evacuation home, in the event of accident or illness. Please note: Major airlines offer “travel insurance” which may be purchase at the time you buy your airline ticket purchase.
Travel to Edinburgh
If you are only attending the Scotland Institute, Edinburgh International Airport (EDI) is the recommended arrival/departure airport into Scotland. If you plan to attend both the Oxford Institute and the Scotland Institute – you should consider a “multiple city” airline ticket with arrival into Edinburgh International Airport (EDI) and departure from London Heathrow Airport (LHR).
Travel from Edinburgh International Airport to Pollock Halls, Edinburgh
Taxi service from EDI to Pollack Halls cost approximately 25 pounds (one way).
Packing for the Trip
PACK LIGHT – you should limit yourself to one rolling suitcase and a personal bag (such as a “back pack,” computer bag, etc.) If you cannot personally carry everything with relative ease, you have packed too much! There may be times when you will be required to carry your belongings, unassisted, up a flight of stairs, and perhaps several blocks between taxi cabs, airport check in, train platforms, bus stations, etc.
Attire for all institute events is “business casual”. In the month of July, Scotland usually has a mild climate. You should pack clothes appropriate to spring or early fall in the USA (sweaters, light jackets). Scotland is also known for daily rain showers. Comfortable walking shoes are essential. Clothing stores in all price ranges abound in Edinburgh, so you can buy what you need, should you find yourself wanting.
Coin operated laundry facilities are available at Pollock Halls.
Airline Luggage Fees
Most international flights allow one checked bag at no cost. However, some airlines impose a fee for checked bags. Please consult with your airline regarding their policy. Since porters won’t be available in some places, don’t bring what you can’t carry yourself.
The best way to purchase food and goods is using “contactless” purchase on your smart phone. Also, ATM cards work everywhere and provide direct access to your bank for cash withdrawals in British Pound Sterling at the most favorable exchange rate. However, you will need to have a four-digit code, since the European ATMs (called “Cash Points” in the UK) won’t accept longer codes. Also, if you lose your ATM card, you may be “out of luck” – though your bank may have a partner bank in the UK. As such, we recommend bringing a spare ATM card, or some back up traveler’s checks. Major credit cards are widely accepted. Dollars (cash) or traveler’s checks can be readily exchanged into British Pound Sterling for a modest conversion fee. American Express offices do not charge a commission fee on American Express Traveler’s checks (but they have a somewhat less favorable exchange rate compared to ATM cash machines and credit cards. Minimum allocation for food should be $30 per day (a bit more than the cost of fast food in the USA), plus any spending money. Add to this the cost of incidental purchases. Again, credit and debit cards are widely accepted everywhere.
Expenses not expressly covered by the Institute are the responsibility of the participant (i.e. – meals other than breakfast, incidental expenses, bus fare, taxi fare, personal items, cost of medical treatment, travel for non-sponsored side trips, etc.)
A full Scottish daily Breakfast served in the Pollock Halls dining hall is included in the Scotland Institute housing fee. Lunch and dinner may be purchased at a multitude of eating establishments on campus and within a short walking distance from Pollock Halls. Although we often eat in groups, the cost of meals is “on your own”. Edinburgh offers a great diversity regarding meal options, with prices starting at about $8 for a “fast food” meal (McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut.) If your palate seeks more authentic fare, many pubs serve meals that are tasty and relatively inexpensive (“Haggis”, Pot pie, “bangers and mash”, curry, etc.). The cost of food per day will vary from person to person based on individual preferences. You should plan on bringing money equivalent to what they would spend eating out at home. Among the best ethnic food in the UK is “Indian” food (India having once been the “jewel of the British Empire” – there is a large “Indian-British” community in the UK.) A multitude and vast variety of fast food and sit-down restaurants of every type may be found in Edinburgh.
In addition to workshops and presentations, the Institute schedule includes a sponsored day trip – destination(s) TBA.
Independent Side Trips
A number of participants elect to engage in independent travel before and/or after the Institute dates, either alone or with other institute participants who share similar interests. The Institute organizers have traveled extensively throughout Scotland, the United Kingdom, and Europe and will be glad to offer suggestions. Outside of scheduled presentations and program sponsored field trips, all “extra-curricular” activities and travel are entirely optional and “one your own.” Each participant is encouraged to pursue their own interest and set their own pace concerning such activities.
Traveling in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is a very pedestrian friendly city and it is quite possible to walk anywhere in the city center. Other options include taxi, and local buses. An “all day bus pass” offers unlimited use of the Edinburgh bus and may be purchased on any bus.
The 2023 Scotland Institute fee include six nights of housing at Pollock Halls. Early Arrival and/or Extended Stay Housing options include local “bed & breakfast” accommodations throughout the city.
Refund policy on unused lodging
Scotland Institute participants who arrive late or depart early, or who depart from the group travel itinerary and/or stay at locations other than program designated housing, will not be entitled to a refund or credit for unused travel or lodging.
Estimated cost of daily personal expenses
It is recommended that you plan on a minimum of $30 USD per day for food and incidental expenses during your time in Scotland. Major credit cards are widely accepted throughout Edinburgh.
Spouse and companion participation
The Scotland Institute welcomes spouses and travel companions. Since our housing contract with the University of Edinburgh is on a “per person” (rather than “per room”) basis, the cost for a spouse or companion sharing a twin room with an institute participant is the same rate as the normal registration fee. However, the same discounts (“early registration,” “returning participant,” etc.) are provided on the same basis as the sponsoring professional participant. A Spouse or travel companion must complete, sign, and submit all registration forms, which should be submitted at the same time as the sponsoring professional participant’s registration materials and payment.
A minor child may share a room or have an adjacent room with their parent(s). Due to our housing contract, each child over the age of two years, requiring a bed will occupy one participant slot. As such the fee for a child sharing a room with a parent is the same as a spouse or companion (subject to the same discounts afforded to the parent registrant.) The Institute does not provide or have access to child care services and supervision of children is the responsibility of the parent and will be required at all times. Children, spouses, and travel companions are welcome to participate in all Institute events and field trips. However, children are typically not permitted in institute presentation sessions due to subject matter and topic content, unless prior arrangements have been made with the presenter and Institute Director. Please contact us to discuss your particular circumstances and needs.
For additional information about the Scotland Institute, Oxford Institute, and other IAPC sponsored international programs, please contact Dr. Brian Canfield, Director, via E-mail at Brian@intapc.org or cell phone (+1) 985-974-8405.