Gatlinburg receives millions of visitors each year, in part, due to the fact that we are a day’s drive from half of the United States east of the Mississippi River. Travelling with your family in the car can be an adventure, but you need to be prepared. Thanks to Associated Content for assistance with this great list of car travel tips:
1. Keep Documentation – A week or at least a few days before traveling make sure that all travel arrangements have been secured and confirmed. The last thing you want is to get to your destination and not have a place to stay. Carry a copy of all documents you may need such as emails of cabin rental confirmations. If you pre-paid, we recommend that you hang on to your receipts. Have a valid identification card. Airlines require it as do the security agreements of most cabin rental companies. Keep all this information in a waterproof bag that will be kept with you at all times.
2. Vehicle Maintenance – If you have decided to take your own car then you need to make sure it is running properly and up for the trip. We recommend you take it in for a routine maintenance check-up. Request that your maintenance provider change and fill your oil as well as check your spark plugs and all liquid levels. Check all the exterior lights and electrical components. Check air pressure in the tires and take a fully functional spare in the trunk. Don’t forget to ask your cabin rental company if you need a 4-wheel drive to get to your cabin in case of inclement weather.
3. Carry an Emergency Kit – Bring an emergency kit with you. It is always better to be safe than sorry. The kit should include items that could come in handy if you are stranded. Including: a flashlight, emergency food items, water, warm clothing, first aid supplies, small tool kit, roadside assistance numbers, cellular phone and insurance cards. In case you get a flat tire, carry a tire iron and jack and learn how to change a tire.
4. Tell people where you are going – In addition to getting to boast about your phenomenal holiday vacation plans, telling someone where you are going ensures that at least one person can send for help for you in the event that you cannot. So many times you hear on the news of people not arriving home when they should have and therefore the authorities were alerted.
5. Take Medications – Don’t forget to get your medication refilled and take them with you. If you have a chronic health condition, don’t forget to research the names and locations of appropriate health care providers and pharmacies in the area.
6. Beat the Rush – Try to travel a day or more before other people start traveling or try leaving on a day or two after the holiday. Staying longer not only prolongs your Smoky Mountain fun, but it will also help you avoid highway traffic. In addition, many cabin companies require that you rent for a minimum of 4 to 6 days during the holiday…so you might as well get your money’s worth.
7. Travel Light – Don’t pack every shoe in your closet. Not only will it be a hassle to carry but it would be devastating to you they got lost or stolen. Packing wrinkle resistant clothing is always a plus, and don’t forget to ask if your cabin has a washer and dryer or whether you will need to find a local laundromat. Don’t forget that if you are travelling during a gift giving holiday, you’re going to need to leave room for presents too.
8. Pack Important Items in Smaller Bags – Pack the most valuable items in bags you can keep inside the car with you. For easy access and to prevent unnecessary stops on narrow, winding back roads, make sure all medications and entertainment items like iPods, gaming systems and cell phones don’t get left in the trunk.
9. Secure Safe Lodging – If at all possible book your cabin well in advance. Make sure you ask if there are any available discounts and review company policies regarding security deposits and payment. If you have concerns about the security of your family or your items, make sure you ask if your cabin comes with a security system.
10. Presents – If you are spending a gift-giving holiday away from home…think small like gift cards. If the present is huge, maybe you could leave the present at home and let your loved one have a picture of the present instead. Don’t try to cram the presents you receive into your luggage because we all know your clothes don’t fit back in the same suitcase they came in…much less the presents.
11. Eat Light and Healthy – Your stomach will surely suffer if you eat all the fast, greasy fried food when traveling. Try to keep it light and healthy like fruit and vegetables. Once you get to Gatlinburg, ask a local for their recommendations for local dining. From the best local burger to their favorite pizza joint, local residents are likely to help you find the best food as well as the best bang for your buck.
12. Take Bathroom Breaks – Take breaks every hour and a half if you are driving. It’s unhealthy for you to hold it when you need to use the restroom. Think of it as an opportunity to get a little fresh air, stretch and consult a map. Tennessee has many beautifully renovated, clean and spacious visitors’ centers that offer bathroom and picnic facilities as well as visitor information like maps, coupons and attraction brochures.
13. Pull Off the Road if You Feel Tired – Please don’t try to drive tired. Enjoy your trip and don’t try to rush it. Many cabin rental companies offer a late or after-hours check in, so take your time and enjoy the sites. If you truly are too tired to drive, consider checking into a motel at the midway point.
14. Take a Map – You could stop and ask for directions but what if you are in the middle of nowhere? With a map you can take the nearest cross street to find your location. It can be difficult to find a map these days, but you can always use Mapquest or Google Maps to find your way. When travelling to the Great Smoky Mountains, we don’t recommend relying upon GPS. With many roads being new or privately-owned, GPS is often inaccurate in Gatlinburg. In addition, the mountains often cause spotty or no satellite communication. We recommend you stick with a map or atlas; luckily, your cabin company should provide you with a detailed map to your cabin from your check in location.
15. Travel Comfortably – Wear clothes that are comfortable and loose. Dress in layers because Gatlinburg is likely to be hotter or colder than your home state depending on your location. In addition, differences in elevation means the temperature can drop significantly as you climb a mountain road. Make sure you are prepared.
To see Associated Content’s full article including flying tips, click here.
Have a safe and Happy Holiday…we’ll see you soon!
This blog is sponsored in part by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN. For more information on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.