10 Packing Tips for a Trip to the Mountains


Check out these packing tips for long car rides made to your Pigeon Forge, TN Cabin in the Smokies; because no matter how hard you try, you always manage to miss something or think, “wish I would have thought to pack…”

If I had a dollar for every time we’ve arrived to a new vacation destination and thought, “Next time we will have to remember to pack…” or for every time I’ve been in the car for hours and thought, “Gosh, if we only had…” It happens to the best of us. Luckily we specialize in the Smoky Mountains and everything from getting to your Pigeon Forge, TN Cabin to what to do throughout your stay, including budget-friendly fun to romantic excursions. So, here our top 10 packing tips for couples, families, and large groups heading to the Smokies for the most relaxing, fun, and memorable vacation!

1) A Cooler
It’s easily one of the most versatile items you can pack. A cooler is handy for drinks and snacks on the car ride to the cabin, especially those with the built-in cup holders on the lid, used for cups of fruit, drinks, and dipping sauces when you have to eat on the go. There are ample opportunities for picnic lunches, whether it’s after an exciting day of whitewater rafting on the Pigeon River or a visit to the car for a quick lunch to save money while visiting the many attractions along the Parkway. Coolers are also fantastic during a fun cabin cookout to keep sodas and beer nearby while you are outside playing and grilling burgers.

2) A Hammock
Break up a long drive with a picnic at a rest stop and some hammock lounging. Many rest stops have trees, perfect for an ENO or other easily transportable hammock. There are also many awesome hikes that end in overlooks and waterfalls for some of the best hammock napping you can enjoy while taking a rest break on your hike.

3) Books and Audiobooks
In a time when our lives are constantly connected to current events, internet fads, and other overly interconnected-related stresses, it’s time to invigorate those brain muscles with a good book. Re-read a classic tale like The Hobbit or discover new up-and-coming authors by perusing Amazon’s current trends. There is something soothing about reading a physical novel or passing time driving while listening to a colorful narrative. Plus, when you are staying in your Pigeon Forge, TN Cabin, you have ample ways to kick back and lose yourself in a good book while leaned over the edge of a bubbling hot tub, leaned back in a hammock, or sunk into a sofa by a dreamy fire in the fireplace.

4) Outdoor Games
This is another great way to break up the monotony of a long drive or fun activity for the cabin. Want to take an extended break at a rest stop? Let the kids play ladders or draw on a quiet corner of the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk. Bring your cornhole boards to toss the bean bags around during a cabin cookout in between flipping burgers and sipping on ice cold beers. Some of our cabins are inside of resort communities with basketball and tennis courts, so be sure to bring your basketballs and rackets along for the vacation, too!

5) Empty Bag
Small backpack, reusable shopping bag, or duffle bag – any of these will come in handy on your trip. They are great for carrying all those random items in the car, stuffing a change of clothes into for a quick change at a rest stop, or as a place for souvenirs like homemade jams from The Old Mill or leather goods from the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community.

6) Portable Chargers and Car Chargers
A car charger is kind of a given, but portable chargers are extremely handy when more than one person’s phone or iPad is close to dying. Portable chargers are a great way to keep your phone charged before you hit the longer trails so you don’t miss any prime picture opportunities once you make it to Alum Cave or Abrams Falls.

7) Fun Bandana Snack Packs
On a long drive, younger travelers will inevitably want to eat, even if it is out of sheer boredom. Bandana snack packs are a cute, convenient way to surprise them with a box of gummies, baggies of fruit, and other snack items tied up into a bandana they can lay in their laps to keep crumbs contained until you can shake them off outside. Once the snacks are all gone, the bandanas can be worn for a hike or wet to keep necks cool during a long, adventurous day in Dollywood.

8) Hanging Shoe Organizer
This is another versatile item. If you have small children, avoid searching under every seat in the car for their shoes whenever you are making a pit stop by having them stick their shoes in one of those hanging shoe organizers draped on the back of front seats. These also come in handy as an organizer for small toys, bags of snacks, chargers, and an array of other items they tend to lose in the car.

9) Board Games and Handheld games
Bringing handheld games has been a long-used source of quiet-inducing entertainment on car rides for families, but board games? Whether it’s your family’s favorite or a new one you want to try out with your friends, board games are a great way to spend time together in the cabin after dinners from the fully loaded kitchen. So don’t forget this budget-friendly way to have a blast and make quality memories with your loved ones.

10) Snuggies
It may sound silly, but these versatile blankets are great. Skip turning on the heat in the car and use them to keep little ones warm while they are still able to play their handheld games or eat their snacks (and be safely buckled in). Snuggies are also fantastic on those cool, crisp autumn mornings spent in the rocking chairs sipping on hot cups of coffee.
*Be sure to properly buckle your child FIRST, then put the blanket over them.