Road trips: A mature guy’s guide to the open road
The classic American road trip is no longer just for cashless college kids; men of all ages are taking to the road for a unique vacation where driving is just as much a part of the trip as the destination itself.
If you work hard every day, maybe it’s time to exchange that button-up for a casual T-shirt and gather your crew to experience the freedom and adventure of the open road.
If you’re wondering if a road trip is right for you and your more mature friends, a few practical measures can help ensure it is fun for everyone:
Steady goes a finely tuned machine
When you were younger, you probably drove through the night to rack up as much mileage as possible. The mature road trip is just as much about the journey as it is about the destination. You and your friends will appreciate a more relaxed pace, which includes resting, eating right and enjoying all the road has to offer.
To make sure you stay on course without any problems, get your vehicle tuned up before you head out. It’s a good idea to change the oil and check the tire pressure and coolant system before you get on the road. If your vehicle is due for some routine maintenance, have it done before you start your trip.
The right vehicle for a memorable trip
Your days of cramming six guys in a small, rusty car are over. A reliable yet fun-to-drive pickup is perfect for your grown-up road trip with the guys. And since your stuff is probably going to be worth more than what you toted around during your college days, be sure to protect it. A lockable roll-up cover will keep your belongings protected from the elements - both weather and criminal - while you’re on the road. Plus, a truck bed cover can help improve your vehicle’s gas mileage.
It’s also important to protect your gear and reduce it from shifting all around. Finally, even if your eyes aren’t what they used to be, you can still quickly access all supplies with an LED light that can be mounted at the front or the rear of the truck bed.
With age comes wisdom to pack smart
As for what to pack, be sure to include an emergency roadside kit, first aid kit and any medications that you regularly need. Bring along a GPS device and your trusty mobile phone so you can stay on track and in touch.
In regard to food and supplies, you might also consider a set of dressier clothes if your dining tastes have matured since your fast-food days, but you’ll also want some comfy clothes for your time spent in the vehicle. Bring a couple pairs of shoes, one dressier and one comfy for walking. And if you’re not as keen on convenience store snacks as perhaps you were when you were younger, you’ll want to pack a small cooler of food and beverages.
Plan ahead for a great trip
Meandering can be fun, but having a plan can be rewarding too, especially when you’re older and prefer to know what to expect. Your taste in destinations has probably matured, so consult with your traveling partners and consider spots that appeal to your current interests and finances.
Has wine tasting become a hobby as you grew older? A tour of wine country may be in order. Perhaps you’ve discovered an interest in history? Consider taking the guys to a Civil War re-enactment or to one of the country’s great historic cities. Having a plan doesn’t mean that there won’t be moments of spontaneity, but it will provide you with a good course to follow so everyone can enjoy their time together. (AHA)