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Pre-travel checklist and advice

Pre-travel checklist and advice 

Thinking of travelling with us soon?

  • Plan ahead. You can book travel in advance on any route on our network. We really encourage customers to book in advance wherever possible, even if travelling on foot.  

  • What type of route will you travel on? We have two types of routes on the network:  

  • Our bookable routes - on these routes you will need to book travel in advance, and in so doing, you'll be purchasing a ticket for a particular sailing / time.  

  • Our Turn Up and Go routes - we encourage you to purchase a ticket in advance of travel, in so doing, you'll be purchasing an 'open' ticket valid for the season in which you've purchased it but it won't have a specific sailing time. Plan ahead as your first choice of sailing may not always be available.

  • Find out more about our ticket types and their validity.  

  • Wherever you can, purchase tickets for your journey, online at any time, in advance of travel. When you buy tickets online, you will be sent your eTickets by email with a QR code which you can scan from your phone on arrival, minimising queues at the ticket office.  

  • If you prefer you can purchase tickets via our Customer Engagement Centre or ports, during opening hours.

Create an online customer account. If you've not done so already, create your online customer account for 24/7 access to amend your reservation, a swifter process for future bookings using your saved details, and the ability to see and manage your current and previous bookings, including the balance on multi-journey passes. 

Buy Tickets

Now you've booked your travel with us - use our checklist to help you prepare for your journey:


  • Receiving your eTicket. This has been sent to your email inbox, ready for you to board.  

  • Present your eTicket at the port or onboard. Wherever possible, download and bring your eTicket on your device. When you present it at the port or onboard, the QR code will be scanned by our port staff or crew. This is the quickest and easiest way for our teams to get you on board, especially during busy periods.  

  • Printing your eTicket. If you prefer, you can print out your tickets at home. However, to save paper and some time, present your eTicket on your device, wherever you can.

  • Turn Up and Go and Bookable route online purchases. If you have purchased tickets online as a group or for any number of travel companions, for use on any of our Turn Up and Go or Bookable routes, the full party must travel on the same sailing. This applies to both legs of your journey. If you are unsure if all members of your group are travelling together, please complete separate transactions online.

Check-in and status of your sailing 

  • Check-in times. Find details of the check in times on the timetable for your route. Being late for check in may mean you're unable to travel on your sailing.

  • Getting to your departure port. Find the postcode of your departure port along with details of any facilities at the port on our port pages. Check any traffic disruptions on the Traffic Scotland website . If arriving by train, keep up to date with the latest train information on ScotRail's website. 

  • Check the status of your sailing. Find the latest information on your crossing on our service status and information pages. This is where we publish the latest information on our services, especially if a crossing is affected by a weather or technical disruption.  

Preparing for your journey

  • Passenger assistance. If you need further assistance when you travel with us, please contact us 48 hours or more before your journey so we can plan ahead and support you. If you need assistance during your journey, please speak to one of our crew or port staff, who will be happy to help. 

  • Travelling on foot with luggage. You have a 40kg of luggage allowance, however, due to passenger counting policy you'll need to be able to take this up/down the gangway in one trip. You can stow luggage in designated areas, where available, alternatively, please always keep bags with you.  

  • Travelling with a pet. They travel for free, but they'll need a ticket too. Find out more and read our pet checklist in our dedicated pets section. You can book this online when you book your own travel. 

  • Travelling by vehicle. When leaving your vehicle on the car deck, disable your vehicle alarm*, while safely locking the vehicle to avoid activation on passage. Have everything you need for your journey to hand so you can leave the vehicle deck promptly. If you're travelling with a motorhome/campervan or caravan - find out more about our standby process and important safety information. If you have a bike or roof rack on your vehicle, please add this to your booking. You can add this to your booking online. 

  • Travelling as a foot passenger with a bike, kayak, paddleboard or similar. Your equipment will need a zero value ticket, please add this to your booking when you make your reservation. You can also do this online.  

  • Watch our safety and handy travel information video below prior to setting off on your journey or read more about travelling safely. It gives you an idea of what to expect and how to prepare for your crossing.

  • Finally, on behalf of everyone at Caledonian MacBrayne, we wish you a safe and pleasant journey and thank you for travelling with us.  

*Refer to your vehicle manual for more details on how to disable your vehicle alarm.

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