There are a lot of factors you want to consider when you book a cabin in the Smoky Mountains.
Make sure you book at a good price. Get a good view. Find a convenient location.
Check, check and check.
But have you ever considered what NOT to do when renting a cabin in the Smoky Mountains?
To ensure that you have the best vacation in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg or the surrounding area, be sure you avoid these ten things when you rent a cabin:
10. Don’t play with the bears
It wouldn’t be a what-not-to-do article if we didn’t talk about bears.
But we also wouldn’t bring it up so much if it wasn’t important.
Look, it’s not uncommon to spot a black bear when you’re renting a cabin in the Smoky Mountains.
True story: One time my sister was casually video calling us from a back porch in the Smokies, and we had to warn her of a black bear approaching behind her.
I say “warn,” but the bear didn’t care about her. Still, she slowly backed away and went inside until the bear wandered off, as bears typically do.
But bears don’t need to be too comfortable with humans. It’s best for both of us if we keep a safe distance. Not only is it for the best, it’s the law.
9. Don’t leave your garbage out
Speaking of bears, most of the rentals in the Smoky Mountains will (or should) have a locked outdoor garbage can.
Use the lock.
The lock is your friend.
Black bears (and other critters) love getting into the garbage, and it happens all too frequently. But remember, it’s bad for them, and bad for us humans, too.
8. Don’t go completely empty handed
It’s smart to bring the basic necessities when you venture up into the mountains.
This is especially true if you’re traveling in the winter. This past Christmas, several folks were caught off-guard by a winter storm and had to go hungry on their vacation for a while.
You don’t need to panic or over-supply your rental cabinets, but it’s smart to bring some snacks. I recommend bringing some water, non-perishable foods and maybe even a power supply.
7. Only rent from reputable sources (don’t get scammed)
Asking your friends for vacation tips is good.
Asking strangers is … not-so-good.
Sadly, I’ve heard a horror story or two where someone asks the universe for cabin recommendations, and the universe delivers a big scam in the form of an individual looking for an opportunity.
Be careful about giving away personal information to people on the internet. If anyone wants you to pay for a rental with a pre-paid card, that’s a red flag.
Book with reputable sources, like VRBO, where you will find beautiful cabins like the one pictured above.
6. In the winter, don’t bring a two-wheel drive
If you’re somewhere that’s not too far off the main strip, a two-wheel drive is probably fine.
But if your cabin rental mentions anything about any steep inclines, they probably aren’t exaggerating.
I’ve seen driveways at cabins in the Smokies that I wouldn’t want to tackle on a dry, sunny day, and certainly never in any wet or icy weather.
Always opt for an all-wheel drive if you have the option to do so.
5. Don’t drag your scared-of-heights family member up a tall mountain
Some people are afraid of heights. And the mountains can be, ya know, pretty high up.
This can cause issues for some folks.
I have actually had someone tell me that they didn’t know what to do because a family member on their trip was afraid of the heights at their rental.
And unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it at that point. Check in with your family members (or friends) and their comfort levels when you book your stay.
4. Don’t leave fake tips
Gatlinburg is a huge rental market.
Housekeepers in Sevier County work hard to keep these places fresh and clean between guests. Try to give them a thought when you’re in the process of checking out, and I urge you to try to leave a tip.
But whatever you do, don’t try any mean pranks, such as leaving a fake tip.
It’s not funny.
3. Don’t leave any doors unlocked
You hopefully don’t need anyone to tell you to keep your cabin door locked, but you should.
You might need someone to tell you to keep your car door locked, and you definitely should.
Black bears are smart creatures, and they are smart enough to know that us humans like to leave food in our cars.
“But I don’t leave any food in my car!”
It doesn’t matter. They will probably still look for it, and you most certainly don’t want to know what your car will look like after a black bear has taken it for a “test drive”.
2. Don’t break the rules
Read the rules when you book your cabin, and remember to obey them.
Cabin owners will often have outdoor security cameras. They will look for rule-breakers, whether you’re bringing your pup to a cabin that’s not pet friendly or trying to sneak in extra guests.
These rule breaks can, and will, incur extra fees.
1. Don’t wreck the cabin
Renting a cabin in the Smoky Mountains isn’t necessarily cheap.
Owning one isn’t cheap, either.
It should go without saying, but remember to treat the property with respect. Owners will fine you for damage, and you will lose your security deposit.
No one wants to ruin a perfectly good getaway in the mountains with extra fees and damaged property.
What are things YOU would recommend not to do when renting a cabin in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg Tennessee?
Let us know in the comments.
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