Six Travel Tips for a Summer Mountain Vacation

April 30, 2018

Escaping to the mountains for a summer vacation is a special experience. You’ll enjoy cooler temps, a relaxing atmosphere, unbeatable activities, and time with your family and friends. On the other hand, planning a trip to the mountains has unique challenges. The weather in the mountains changes quickly and there are tons of activities to consider when packing. To make your summer mountain vacation a breeze, we’ve put together six travel tips from our local vacation experts. Start planning your Xplorie mountain vacation today.

Settle on a destination

So, you’ve decided to take a summer trip to the mountains. But which high-altitude destination do you choose? If you love the high alpine, head to Colorado for a Rocky Mountain vacation. Destinations like Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Frisco, and Winter Park are both remote and accessible, as they are located within a couple hours of Denver International Airport. If you are drawn to a mix of hiking, history, art, and architecture, book a trip to Asheville, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. For abundant entertainment at the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, consider Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge in eastern Tennessee.

Book your activities

We always recommend planning most of your activities before departing for your vacation. Popular activities can have limited availability during summer weeks and you definitely don’t want to waste precious vacation time creating an itinerary. Some of our favorite mountain activities include hiking, whitewater rafting, mountain biking and road biking, scenic drives, historical tours, kayaking and paddleboarding, zip lining, and local shows. That might seem like a lot, but by planning at least one activity per day, you can do it all—and still have time to relax and recharge.

Pack the essentials

No matter which mountain destination you visit, there are a few items you won’t want to leave at home. These things will help make your trip go smoothly and keep everyone happy—and they’re all small enough to pack in a suitcase.

Rain jacket

Afternoon showers often come through mountain towns in the summertime. While the storms may not last long, they can be intense. Don’t be taken by surprise—pack some rain gear and stay dry all day.


From birds to bears, wildlife is plentiful in the mountains. You never want to approach wild critters, so stay safe (and get a better view) by looking through a pair of binoculars. Bring a few pairs so the whole family can observe wildlife together!

Portable chargers

Cell service can be spotty in the mountains and can drain your cell phone battery slightly faster. And, you’ll be taking lots of photos, so you don’t want to miss the shot as a result of a low-battery device.

Prepare for the altitude

Depending on where you take your mountain vacation, you might be traveling to an elevation of 9000 feet—or more. Altitude affects people differently, but there are steps you can take to mitigate sickness.

You will want to drink plenty of water from the time you start your journey. Traveling can be dehydrating in general, so drink between three and four liters of water per day.

If you plan to partake in activities like hiking or biking, book these starting the third day of your trip, as you’ll be better acclimated at that point.

Vacationing at high altitude also means that there’s less atmosphere between you and the sun. Don’t be fooled by the cooler air—you’ll want to bring sunglasses and be sure to apply sunscreen every couple of hours.


Those who love Tahoe for the view can get all the exclusive sights right on the water! Wakeboarding, kneeboarding, wake surfing, and tubing are other popular speed boat sports. You’ll find many local water sports shops with ski boat and gear rentals (you’ll want a wetsuit at cooler temperatures). If you prefer to learn from a pro, many outfitters offer water ski lessons as well.

Take advantage of your kitchen

While there are lots of amazing restaurants in mountain destinations, they are mostly located in town—not in the National Parks, hiking areas, etc. Luckily, if you book a vacation rental, you’ll have a full kitchen to prepare meals! Before heading out for the day’s adventure, sleep in a little later and cook breakfast in your rental. You can also prepare picnic-style snacks and lunches. Some of our favorite fuels that are easy to transport include trail mix, sandwiches, jerky, dried fruit, and granola bars. There’s no need to step into a grocery store during your vacation. To save even more time, we recommend setting up grocery delivery or curbside pickup!

We hope these tips help you plan a wonderful mountain getaway! If you need more travel tips or have questions about your vacation, reach out to one of our expert travel planners. We’d love to see your travel pictures, too! Share your best memories with Xplorie on social media by tagging #xplorie, #xploriestory, and #xploriefun.

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