Scotland reopening to vaccinated Americans Aug. 2, no quarantine required
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Editor’s note: This story was updated with new information on Aug. 6, 2021. It was originally published on July 29.
Scotland will officially reopen to vaccinated Americans Monday, Aug. 2, the Scottish government confirmed.
“A decision to relax the need to self isolate for fully vaccinated visitors from amber countries to Scotland was announced by the Scottish Government on July 28 2021, which means fully vaccinated visitors from the US only need to provide a negative test pre-arrival and provide a negative PCR test on day 2 of their vacation,” VisitScotland’s Gwen Raez said via email. “This positive development is a result of the success of the vaccination roll-out within Scotland and also abroad.”
Fully vaccinated individuals from both the United States and European Union will be able to enter the country starting next week without having to quarantine, thanks to the success of vaccine rollouts.
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How to enter Scotland
In order to travel to Scotland, travelers must:
- Present proof of results of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departing to Scotland.
- Show results of a negative PCR test taken on day two following arrival into Scotland.
For those travelers vaccinated in the U.S., vaccination proof will be accepted via the white card issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All other arrivals from Europe must show a record of vaccination through the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
U.S.-based visitors under the age of 18 do not need to self-isolate, but all those over age 12 will need to take a COVID-19 test within two days of arriving in Scotland, by booking and paying via the CTM Booking Portal.
“The relaxation of these restrictions means that our friends from the US are at long last able to take planned vacations to Scotland and this will provide a welcome boost to tourism businesses as they continue to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic,” said Raez. “However, for everyone’s safety, we ask all visitors to stay vigilant, continue to follow the latest Scottish Government advice – including wearing face coverings in indoor settings, and remain respectful of local communities and Scotland’s natural assets, while enjoying the spectacular offering in this beautiful country.”
Additionally, all visitors will need to complete a passenger locator form online through the U.K. government, within 48 hours prior to arrival.
Despite the reopening of much of the EU and the United Kingdom to Americans, U.S. borders remain closed for the time being.
“Given where we are today … with the delta variant, we will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point for a few reasons,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a press briefing on Tuesday. “The more transmissible delta variant is spreading both here and around the world … cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated, and appear likely to continue in the weeks ahead.”
Earlier this week, the CDC advised Americans against travel to the U.K. on July 26, citing surges in cases.
Due to the beta variant, travelers arriving in Scotland from France will not be permitted entry under these new guidelines and will still be subject to a 10-day self-isolation period, during which a PCR test must be taken on days two and eight.
How to get to Scotland
Per the U.S. Embassy in the UK, commercial flights are available from multiple UK airports connecting to London Heathrow for direct flights to the United States. Trains from Scotland to London are also available.
Scotland’s two main international airports are Edinburgh (EDI) and Glasgow (GLA).
Direct flights are available to each destination from various U.S. cities:
- From New York (Newark) to Edinburgh and Glasgow with United
- From Chicago to Edinburgh with United
- From Washington DC area (Dulles Airport) to Edinburgh with United
- From New York (JFK) to Edinburgh with Delta
- From New York (JFK) to Glasgow with Delta
- From Boston (BOS) to Edinburgh with Delta
- From Orlando (MCO) to Glasgow with Virgin Atlantic
- From Philadelphia (PHL) to Edinburgh with American Airlines
For example, you can get a basic economy, one-stop flight from NWK to EDI for just under $680 in late October.
Note that because this is a basic economy fare, which is United’s cheapest fare, restrictions apply, including no complimentary seat selection or checked bag. The same flight would cost you 103,000 MileagePlus miles for economy plus $233.85 in taxes and fees. Upgrading to an economy fare would bring your total up to $827.55.
Where to stay in Scotland
There are many lovely points hotel options in Scotland, including:
- The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh, known to locals as the Caledonian or the “Caley,” is perched next to the country’s most famous castle, Edinburg Castle. It’s only a short walk to the city’s main thoroughfare, George Street, which features designer shopping, bars and restaurants. Rates currently cost roughly $500 per night for a standard queen room and would cost 160,000 points for Hilton Honors members.
- Also in the heart of the capital city lies the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, which as the name suggests, features its award-winning One Spa and overall “modern Scottish luxury.” Rooms for Marriott Bonvoy members start at 340,000 points or around $480.
- About an hour-and-a-half north of Edinburgh is St. Andrews, home to the University of St. Andrews and some of the best and most stunning golf courses in the world, therefore known as the “Home of Golf.” In 2018, the Fairmont St. Andrews was named “Hotel Team of the Year” by Scottish Hospitality Awards & “Best Hotel (Over 50 Rooms)” by Scottish Golf tourism. Rates for Accor Live Limitless members for standard king rooms (with breakfast) start around $330.
Featured photo by Alison Porwol Photography/Getty Images.
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