Stuck on how to get your children more involved with planning your next Gatlinburg family vacation? Let us help. Read through our kid-friendly planning tips below to make sure all of your family members have the most enjoyable travel experience possible.
How to Keep Your Kids Engaged During a Gatlinburg Family Vacation
Start With the Planning Process
Great Gatlinburg family vacations always start with good planning, and that includes inviting all members of your family to be involved with the process. Not only is this a good way to gather ideas from everyone who you will be traveling with, but it is the best place to start if you want to include your kids in your Gatlinburg family vacation plans.
We recommend starting by sitting your kids down and asking them where all they want to go and where they would prefer to stay. If they aren’t sure of an answer quite yet, you can begin the process by searching through a few travel books or brochures to introduce them to what all our area has to offer.
You can pick up a ton of Smoky Mountain and Gatlinburg travel guides at any of the visitor centers in the area. If you are out of town, you can find many of these book for sale on the Great Smoky Mountains Association’s website at https://www.smokiesinformation.org/store.
This is also a good way to help your kids brush up on their research skills by inspiring them to learn more about the area you all plan on traveling to. You can help them by purchasing or renting a few Smoky Mountain and Gatlinburg travel guides that outline both the exciting attractions and historical sites found throughout the area.
Keep Up the Excitement
Aside from helping your kids discover all the fun things waiting for them in the Smoky Mountains, these travel guides are also a great way to help keep your kids’ excitement levels high for your upcoming trip. Most of the time, families begin to book and plan out their Gatlinburg family vacations up to a year in advance.
With that much time in between, it may be hard for younger kids to stay engaged and focused on their upcoming adventure. By keeping these travel books, brochures and information sources on hand, you can easily remind them about all of the fun waiting for them in just a few short weeks.
Although this section sounds like you are making a chores list for your Gatlinburg family vacation, that isn’t the case. When we recommend that families assign out roles and responsibilities we mean what role each family member should fill on your trip. For example, which member of your family do you want to put in charge of taking all of your vacation photos?
By assigning out unique roles, you are giving your children something to stay focused on during your trip, and, therefore, something to keep them connected with what’s going on. It will also be nice to see the sense of pride from your child as their success in their assigned role.
Practice New Scenarios
It is easy to think about all the fun that Gatlinburg family vacations offer, but it may be hard to remember what it is like if you are experiencing this for the first time. For example, it may be easy for parents to plan out hikes to their favorite trails since they have hiked them for years and years. However, for their children, they may not be as experienced with trekking through the Smoky Mountains.
That is why we suggest families try out a couple of trial runs of activities before embarking on your family vacation. Not only will this give your kids a preview of what to expect, it will also help you gauge how much time you should schedule for each activity and see how much they can handle in one day before getting tired and needing to nap.
If you plan on hiking during your trip, you can try to spend the day walking a scenic greenway or nature path near your home. This will help teach your children what to expect when you are out on the trail. If you plan on visiting a theme park or doing a lot of walking, we suggest practicing by spending a few hours walking around your city’s downtown area or other public space. This will give you an idea of how long your kids can manage to be outside before needing a break, a snack or time to rest.
For more tips on planning a memorable Gatlinburg family vacation, be sure to like Amazing Views on Facebook. There, you will catch all of our latest blog posts, travel tips on our favorite attractions, and extra details on all of our favorite Smoky Mountain vacation rentals.