Most visitors to and around Tennessee drive their own cars. The highways are good, distances are manageable, and most destinations in the state are not accessible by public transportation.
International airports in Tennessee include Nashville International Airport (BNA) and Memphis International Airport (MEM). McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville , Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (CHA), and the Tri-Cities Regional Airport (TRI) offer domestic service to hubs in the eastern United States.
Only western Tennessee is easily accessible by rail. Amtrak runs from Chicago to New Orleans, with stops in Memphis , Newbern-Dyersburg in West Tennessee, and Fulton on the border with Kentucky. The route, called The City of New Orleans, runs daily.
Greyhound fully serves Tennessee, with daily routes that criss-cross the state in nearly every direction.
Tennessee is within one day’s drive of 75 percent of the U.S. population, and most visitors to the state get here in their own cars. There are seven interstates that run into the state, from just about every direction you might want to come.
While urban centers, pit-stop motels, and population centers are all found along or very near interstates, some of Tennessee’s most lovely landscapes are far from the stretches of multi-lane pavement.
Rental cars are widely available throughout Tennessee. The greatest concentration of rental agencies are found at major airports, but neighborhood and downtown locations can also be found. Most rental agencies require the renter to be at least 24 years old; some have an even higher age requirement.
Before renting a car, call you credit card company and primary car insurance provider to find out what kind of insurance you have on a rental. You can likely forego the expensive insurance packages offered by rental companies.
For the best rates on car rentals, book early. Most companies allow you to reserve a car in advance without paying a deposit.
For current traffic and road reports, including weather-related closures, construction closures, and traffic jams, dial 511 from any mobile or land line. You can also log on to www.tn511.com .
Recreational vehicles are an increasingly popular way to see Tennessee due to the prevalence of good campgrounds and the beautiful landscape of the state.
All state park campgrounds welcome RVs and provide utilities such as water, electricity, and a dump station. For people who enjoy the outdoors but do not want to forgo the basic comforts of home, RVs provide some real advantages. RVs range from little trailers that pop up to provide space for sleeping to monstrous homes-on-wheels. Gas mileage ranges from 7 to 13 miles per gallon, depending on the size and age of the RV.
All RVers should have mercy on other drivers and pull over from time to time so that traffic can pass, especially on mountain roads that are steep and difficult for RVs to climb.
You can rent an RV for a one-way or local trip from Cruise America (www.cruiseamerica.com ), which has locations in Knoxville  (1543 Downtown West Blvd., 865/560-9229), Nashville  (201 Donelson Pk., 615/885-4281), and Memphis  (10230 Highway 70, Lakeland, 901/867-0039). Renters should be 25 years or older. Rental rates vary depending on the size of the vehicle and other factors. They also charge for mileage, and you can buy kits that include sheets, towels, dishes, and other basic necessities.
Get RV (888/438-7844, www.getRV.com ) is an agency that hooks you up with RV owners who want to rent their vehicle when it’s not in use.