Our first official family adventure away from home started May 19th, just five days after Carolynn Rose turned one. We traveled to eastern Tennessee and the foothills of the Smoky Mountains for six days.
The Undem Family Adventures in the Great Smoky Mountains
During our stay we visited Knoxville, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Gatlinburg. To say that we had the best time would be an understatement. During our stay we partnered up with the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, The Island in Pigeon Forge, and Mobile Brochure for Ripley’s Adventures including the Ripley’s Aquarium, the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Exhibit, and the Ripley’s Haunted Adventure. I am linking all those separate blogs below for you to travel alongside us and to help convince you to book your next trip down to the Smoky Mountains.
Our last two days we spent time slowing down and enjoying our hosted stay at Wilderness at the Smokies and Soaky Mountain, the new outdoor waterpark and we got lots of sun and even more great memories while there.
A few traveling tips with a one year old:
- Bring lots of their favorite snacks
- When possible, travel with others so the one year old can pass from adult-to-adult
- Schedule flights during nap times or at least calmer times
- Bring busy books and other small toys that can be clipped with a pacifier clip to keep them entertained
- Keep the stroller with you and check it AT THE GATE of the flight
- Bring a blanket to cover the stroller in the airport to help with naps
- Get to the gate ahead of time and allow time for your child to run and wear themselves out so they feel less cooped up while on the flight
- Bring a stuffed animal and/or blanket your child likes to cuddle with, this may make them more comfortable on the flight
Things to know about flying with a one year old:
- Check your airline, but car seats and strollers can check for free
- Milk can be brought through security but does need to be tested or inspected
- Children’s snacks can also go through security but will be checked/tested
- Diaper bags are allowed in addition to carry on and personal items
- You will need to collapse the stroller when going through security and on the plane
- The changing tables on the flights are TINY, if the plane even has one, so try to plan diaper changes ahead (if/when possible–obviously on long flights this isn’t feasible and kids of course have minds of their own)
- You are able to board ahead of your boarding group with kids under the age of two to allow time to get settled
At the end of the day, remember that traveling is exhausting and trying for adults as well as kids, and if your child has a tough day they aren’t acting out to make you frustrated or look bad, but because they have big emotions and haven’t learned how to regulate or express them well, yet.
Being prepared helped so much on the flights down, but on the way back we definitely had a rough day from Carolynn having a sore bottom from a diaper rash, to waking her up at 3am our time, to trying to reign in all of her energy for a three and half hour flight. We had to learn to work well under stress together and push through tears (some from both baby and nearly some from mom and dad) to make the best of a stressful journey home. Having extended family there to help was invaluable, but of course that isn’t always an option for everyone.
Click here to see all the fun things to do at The Island, Pigeon Forge.
Follow this link to check out our partnership with The Department of Tourism in Pigeon Forge and see just a handful of the hundreds of family activities available in Pigeon Forge.
Splash along with our family at Wilderness at the Smokies and Soaky Mountain, here.
Lastly, hop on over to Gatlinburg with us to experience all that Ripley’s has to offer–from the Aquarium, to the Believe it or Not! exhibit, and the Haunted Adventures.
We hope you have almost as much fun following along with us as we did going down there, and you plan your trip to eastern Tennessee with your family as soon as possible.