Calling Scotland -- To call Scotland from the United States, dial the international prefix, 011; then Scotland's country code, 44; then the city code (for example, 131 for Edinburgh and 141 for Glasgow -- minus the initial zero, which is used only if you're dialing from within the United Kingdom); then dial the phone number.
The three letters that define much of the world's wireless capabilities are GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), a big, seamless network that makes for easy cross-border cellphone use throughout Europe and dozens of other countries worldwide. In the U.S., T-Mobile and AT&T use this quasi-universal system; in Canada, Microcell and some Rogers customers are GSM, and all Europeans and most Australians use GSM. GSM phones function with a removable plastic SIM card, encoded with your phone number and account information. If your cellphone is on a GSM system, and you have a world-capable multiband phone such as many Sony Ericsson, Motorola, or Samsung models, you can make and receive calls across civilized areas around much of the globe. Just call your wireless operator and ask for "international roaming" to be activated on your account. Unfortunately, per-minute charges can be high -- usually $1 to $1.50 in Western Europe and up to $5 in such places as Russia and Indonesia.
For many, renting a phone is a good idea. While you can rent a phone from any number of overseas sites, including kiosks at airports and at car-rental agencies, we suggest renting the phone before you leave home. North Americans can rent one before leaving home from InTouch USA (tel. 800/872-7626; www.intouchglobal.com) or RoadPost (tel. 888/290-1616 or 905/272-5665; www.roadpost.com). InTouch will also, for free, advise you on whether your existing phone will work overseas.
In Scotland, it is often less expensive to purchase a cellphone than it is to rent one. In general, tariffs run from as low as 25£ a month, or even less, for unlimited calls with a pay-as-you-go card. For more information, contact Mobal (tel. 888/888-9162; www.mobalrental.com) or Cellular Abroad (tel. 800/287-5072; www.cellularabroad.com).
Internet & E-Mail
To find cybercafes in your destination, check www.cybercaptive.com and www.cybercafe.com.
Most major airports have Internet kiosks that provide basic Web access for a per-minute fee that's usually higher than cybercafe prices. Check out such copy shops as Kinko's (FedEx Kinko's), which offers computer stations with fully loaded software (as well as Wi-Fi).
More and more resorts, airports, cafes, and retailers are going Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity), becoming "hotspots" that offer free high-speed Wi-Fi access or charge a small fee for usage. Most laptops sold today have built-in wireless capability. To find public Wi-Fi hotspots at your destination, go to www.jiwire.com; its Hotspot Finder holds the world's largest directory of public wireless hotspots.
Today nearly all hotels in Scotland provide Internet access either within the bedrooms/rooms or in public areas, and even some upmarket B&Bs offer this service as well. Most laptops in Scotland operate on 110 or 200 volts, and in such cases only an adapter is needed. Of course, it is always best to ask at your hotel or B&B before plugging your computer into any socket. In the rare case that your hotel doesn't have surge protection, you might damage your computer. A surge protector can be purchased in Scotland and plugged into a socket.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.