As you prepare for your next visit here are some packing tips to help you make the most of your Smoky Mountain getaway!
Packing can be overwhelming if you leave it until the last minute so start making your list now. Here’s a quick list of some extras you might not normally think of that can help you out in a pinch.
- Towels – you never know when you might see a creek driving through the national park that the kids just have to stop at and jump in! Be prepared with a couple of extra towels in the car.
- Flashlight – it helps when you have to dig under the seat to find the phone you dropped or when you want to take a late-night stroll around your cabin…wait, was that a bear?
- Extra chargers – don’t be caught with a dead phone or camera and miss the pictures you would have taken to capture those precious memories.
- First Aid Kit – from a little headache to a splinter, it’s always good to be prepared.
- Travel Games / A Good Book – depending on who you’re in the car with, this can be a lifesaver!
- Hand Sanitizer – it never hurts to have this handy after a quick rest stop or gas station visit.
- Day bag/backpack – great for a hike or day out and about, a small bag can fit your personals, some sunscreen, sunglasses, and a bottle of water.
- Plastic/Garbage Bags – it’s nice to know which clothes are clean and which clothes are dirty when you get back home. Throw your dirty clothes in these disposable plastic bags to keep them separate. They’re also great if you have any wet clothes to bring home.
- Snacks – who doesn’t love snacks? Save some money on overpriced gas station snacks by planning for these while you’re home. Let each family member select their favorite snack for the trip so everyone is happy.
- Car Cooler – and of course you need a drink along with those snacks. A small car cooler keeps these cold along with any other fruit or perishable snacks you may want to bring along. And you can fill these with ice on your way out of your hotel to head home.
- Blanket – need a break from the car and find a green space at that rest stop? Jump out and set up a little picnic for your family. Or just throw this in the backseat so it’s handy for some cozy nap time on the way.
Now that you have a list of a bunch of extra items you need, how do you fit it all? Here are a few packing tips to make the most of your space (and time).
- Roll your clothes – sure, we’ve all heard this but does it really work? Yes! Not only does it save space, but it also helps prevent wrinkles and makes it easier to see more of your clothes at once when you’re looking for something. Here’s how to do it: For tops, lay the top facedown, fold in the arms first and then start rolling from the bottom up. For bottoms: fold them in a half with one leg on top of the other and then start rolling from the top down.
- Plan your outfits and pack them together – not only does this tip help you from rooting around in your bag to find all of the individual pieces that you need to make up an outfit, it also stops you from overpacking. Make up your mind in advance on what you would like to wear and then be flexible. You don’t have to decide which days you will wear which outfit in advance (although if you’re planning a long day outside you will want to take this into account). And pack a couple of extra tops, bottoms, underwear, and socks. A COUPLE. For you over packers, that does not mean 10.
- Day bag/backpack – if you plan on not checking into your hotel as soon as you arrive in town, be prepared with an extra bag with some things you might need. There’s nothing worse than having to dig through multiple bags of luggage inside your truck to get out a change of clothes for everyone or those pairs of hiking boots. This makes it easier to start enjoying your time right away.