Unless you happen to win a $1.33 billion jackpot this week playing Powerball, chances are you and your family usually have to be careful about how and where you spend your money. That challenge applies to everyday living, and it especially comes into play when you're thinking about taking a vacation. We all want to plan a trip that will create a lifetime of memories, but we also want to make sure we get the most bang for our buck.
That's why this week, we'll be sharing some tips and strategies for planning a family trip to the Great Smoky Mountains that won't break the bank. Each idea on its own will help you chip away at your travel expenses, and when you combine them all into one coordinated effort, you might really notice how much heavier your wallet feels when you get back home.
Winter isn't typically most people's favorite travel season, but it does have its advantages when visiting the Smokies. For example, Sevierville cabin rentals are at their lowest rates of the year. On top of that, some companies offer winter specials November through March, which allow you to maybe get a night free or at least discounted.
Unless you live more than a day's drive from the Smokies, we recommend that you pack up the car and drive to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge or Sevierville. For one thing, gas prices are the lowest they've been in more than a decade, and East Tennessee is within a day's drive of two-thirds of the nation's population. So it shouldn't be much of a difficulty to get yourself to the Smokies on the cheap.
Compared to staying in a hotel or motel room, the cost of staying in a cabin is noticeably lower. If you book a larger cabin – say, one that sleeps six to eight guests – you and the rest of your party can split the rental, making it more cost-effective per person. Also, because our rental properties have full kitchens, you can prepare some meals yourself by shopping at a local supermarket. That will lower your food costs tremendously when compared to eating out every meal.
A lot of our guests will typically eat breakfast and possibly also lunch in their cabin and then save their dining out experience for dinner. Or maybe you could eat breakfast in, have lunch on the town while you're out playing or shopping, and then come back to the cabin and put some steaks on the grill.
A high percentage of attractions, restaurants and shops publish discount coupons, be they online, in a brochure or rack card, or in a local travel guide. It helps to have some idea ahead of time of what places you're interested in visiting so that when you arrive in town, you can locate the coupons you'll be most likely to use.