It’s time for some helpful hints for your vacation, readers! As you know by now, there are many things to love about Gatlinburg, but the traffic can be a reason for preventing people from really enjoying their trip. It’s something you’re never going to like, if you’re impatient, but if you want to spend more time enjoying your vacation by not sitting in traffic, I can help by giving you a few ways to not only give you more vacation time, but at least help you deal with it.

1. Weekday Visit

Weekends are always busier than weekdays, and you’ll notice this even during the winter slower season. You can tell traffic is lighter when your vacation bleeds into the weekend or weekdays if you’re staying at least 4 or 5 days. Speaking of the slow season, my next way is also helpful in dealing with other travelers on the road.

2. Winter Vacation

You know Gatlinburg traffic is lighter in the winter when you can park on the road if you’re coming from out of town. During this season, you can park on the road longer than just the standard 9 a.m. time that’s the cut-off point for moving your car off the curb on the Parkway most other times. If you’ve traveled here in the summer, you’ll notice a clear difference in the winter.

3. Book a Hotel Downtown or Nearby

I know this sounds a little counter-productive, but trust me, this is something we do routinely when we stay in Gatlinburg. Traffic will be limited to arriving and leaving, and by following an upcoming tip, it will be virtually non-existent when you do have to drive somewhere. Booking a hotel downtown means you don’t have to pay for parking (most hotels don’t charge parking fees) when you head out for shopping, eating, or visiting the fun attractions in town. That also results in easily taking your haul back to your hotel, only to go back out for more so you have less to carry around.

4. Head Out Early

We know that most places aren’t open early in the morning—with the exception of the exceptional breakfast restaurants in town—but if you’re heading into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll have a nice start to a day where you want to stay calm and at peace with your surroundings. A majority of vehicles downtown in the early morning hours are delivery transports, so no worries there!

5. Check the Events

Make sure there aren’t some highly attended events during your scheduled visit. Check the events calendar on the Gatlinburg website, and if there’s a car show, you might want to think about going another time. Gatlinburg traffic is at its worst during these times, so unless you’re a car enthusiast visiting this event, you may want to nix it and schedule a different time for vacation.

6. Breathe

Sounds simple, right? Well, I think a great public service announcement would be to think about why you’re there and understand that vacation should be a time when you’re not burdened by the stresses of everyday life. Relax and shake it off as just a speed bump in your plans, and let’s be completely honest here, the scenery is simply beautiful. Take a look around if you’re at a standstill, and this should at least give you a little comfort that you’re in a mountain paradise. Because even paradise isn’t a utopia.

I hope you’ve gained something from these ways of dealing with the Gatlinburg traffic. Stay tuned for upcoming tips and an update on how things stand with our plans for our next visit! Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter for daily updates on previous experiences and general Gatlinburg information. See you next time!