Work, kids, working out, taking care of the house, and a hairline that’s heading for the back of your collar — it’s enough to make a guy understand why some men feel the urge to buy an outrageously impractical sports car at this stage of life. But you don’t need a mid-life crisis. What you need is a road trip.
Road trips are a rite of passage for young men everywhere, but college dudes shouldn’t be the only ones who get to enjoy this uniquely American kind of adventure. If skinny neckties and big hair were in style the last time you took a road trip with your buds, it may be time to toss a duffel in the truck bed, round up your amigos and hit the highway.
A few practical measures can help ensure your more mature road trip is still fun and works for everyone:
Packing it in
Your days of cramming six guys and all their gear into a barely drivable, high-mileage sub-compact are probably 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, like the tonneau cover line by Access Cover, will keep your belongings protected from the elements — including criminal elements — while you’re on the road. Plus, a truck bed cover can help improve your vehicle’s gas mileage.
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.
You might also consider a set of dressier clothes if your dining tastes have matured since your fast-food days.
Finely tuned machines
In the old days, you might have motored through the night with just a few hours of sleep and several cups of coffee to keep you going — and that was part of the thrill. These days, however, you probably appreciate a more relaxed pace, which includes sleeping well and eating right. Keeping yourself “well tuned” can help ensure you enjoy your road trip as much as possible.
You’ll also want to make sure your vehicle is in top condition. 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.
Have a plan, man
How many road trips of your youth ended up at a destination other than the one you had in mind when you started out? Meandering can be fun, but having a plan can be rewarding too. Your taste in destinations has probably matured, so consult with your traveling partners and consider spots that appeal to your current interests and finances.
For example, you may have developed an affinity for wine, where once you preferred beer. 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, like Savannah, San Antonio, San Diego or even New York or Chicago.
Use a GPS or online resource to pre-plan your route and make sure the people you love know where you’ll be along the way.
The mechanics of your mature road trip may be a world away from the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants style you favored in your college days. But a road trip can be a great way to relax and reconnect with friends no matter what stage you’re at in life.