The following post is a guest post by Bob Foster. Bob is a property manager by profession and has lived and worked in this region for over 13 years. He is a loving husband and father of four. He enjoys running, cycling and hiking in the Smoky Mountains. Bob has a passion for the Great Smoky Mountains and helping people from all over the world discover and enjoy this national treasure. He is well versed in all aspects of the overnight rental market in and around the Great Smoky Mountains and is currently the Operations Manager/Director of Marketing at Cabin Fever Vacations.
So you’ve decided that renting a cabin in the Smokies is the most economical and enjoyable option for your upcoming mountain getaway. Great choice! Before beginning your hunt for the perfect cabin, check out these 8 useful tips.
- Book early to get the best selection. Folks generally start planning their Smoky Mountain summer getaways early in the year – especially for the larger family/group properties. Many regular Smoky Mountain vacationers book their favorite cabin up to a year in advance; take this into consideration when making your Smoky Mountain vacation plans. It’s never too early to start looking and booking. You may pay a little more by booking early but you will get the property that you want and not have to “settle” for what is left.
- Know what you and your family want. Before searching for the perfect cabin, you will need to define what “perfect” is. Make a list of the “must have” items you and your family want and need in your vacation “home away from home.” A few of the amenities offered in Smoky Mountain vacation properties include: hot tubs, movie theater rooms, mountain views, private indoor or outdoor pools, gourmet kitchens, game rooms, resort settings, pet friendly cabins, and much, much more. The options are endless. Remember, it’s your vacation, so get what you want. Once you have your wish list together, finding the perfect cabin will be much easier.
- Set a budget and stick to it. Smoky Mountain cabins can be very tempting; it’s easy to find yourself slowly creeping up in price as you browse for that perfect cabin. Set your budget ahead of time and then stick to it. It’s important to know if you’re looking to spend a few hundred or a few thousand dollars per night, as this can impact everything from the size of cabin you choose to the time of year you visit.
- Consider an off-season getaway to the Smokies. The most popular vacation months are typically mid June through October and most major holidays, so booking a cabin during these times of the year will be at peak rates. If you plan a trip for January through early June, you can get the best rates of the year and avoid the traffic and crowds. Many rental companies offer amazing deals during these “off peak” times of the year so you can get the perfect cabin at the perfect price.
- Location, location, location.Finding a cabin close to where you will be spending most of your time can save you lots of frustration and allow for more time to have fun with friends and family. Some folks choose to spend most of their time in and around the cabin so location becomes less of an issue but if you plan on visiting the Smoky Mountain National Park, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Gatlinburg, ensuring your cabin is close to where you will be spending most of your time is very important and can save you hours of valuable vacation time.The perfect location means different things to different people. Are you looking for a quiet peaceful cabin that’s secluded and isolated? Are there other cabins in close proximity? Want to walk to local shops and attractions? How close is the property to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Wears Valley or the National Park? Be sure to consider all these questions when assessing any cabins you’re considering.
- Be flexible. Finding the perfect cabin sometimes requires flexibility. Have a date range in mind when planning your vacation. Your “perfect” cabin may not be available for that one weekend you want to travel but if you have several dates in mind you have a much better chance of snagging the one you want.
- Tap your social networks. It is easier than ever to ask for help when trying to find the perfect rental cabin in the Smokies. Reach out to family, friends, business associates, or colleagues on Facebook, Google+, Twitter or other social networks and ask if anyone has stayed in the Smoky Mountains recently and if so with whom. Ask what they liked and didn’t like about the property they stayed in. Don’t forget, when you return home be sure to share your experiences on these social networks and help others find that perfect vacation home away from home.
- Always be prepared for the unexpected. It’s impossible to guard against every situation: people get sick, snow storms happen, hot tubs breakdown, cabins even get sold. Plan for the unexpected by purchasing travel insurance. There’s no shortage of options, either. You can buy direct from a third party provider, or go through your credit card company. Select bare-bones coverage for only the cost of medical care, or get maximum coverage for trip delays, cancellations, and lost luggage. Like all insurance, you’ll be glad you have it — when you need it.
Beware, renting a Smoky Mountain log cabin can become addictive and may lead to future family vacations. So do your research, know what you want and have a Perfect Smoky Mountain vacation!