Essential checklist prior to embarking on a holiday trip back to your hometown
The upcoming Aidilfitri celebration is around the corner. As we get ready for our trip home to reunite with our friends, families and loved ones, we so often get caught up with the joy, excitement and anticipation for the seasonal festivities. All major cities in Malaysia are bound to experience the annual Raya exodus as most of us travel back to our respective hometowns for a nationwide celebration. As to be expected, the roads will be flooded with vehicles, leading to a longer drive and many hours stuck in traffic jams. The following are some essential travel tips for a smooth and incident-free road trip. To all Malaysians, Selamat Hari Raya Puasa!
Notify neighbors and authorities
It is often good practice to inform your immediate neighbours prior to leaving your home unattended for long periods especially during the major festive seasons. This is to prevent burglary, break-ins and other crimes of opportunity from occurring. If your neighbours are not able to keep watch of your home, do inform your neighbourhood residential association on the proper or appropriate security arrangement during your absence. Also, alert the authorities, particularly the police, so they can keep track of suspicious characters as well as unscrupulous individuals lingering & wandering about neighbourhoods, on their regular patrols.
Gadgets that keep you on track
The only thing worse than being stuck or stalled on a congested highway is getting lost or stranded away from potential help. This is definitely not how you want to start your fantasy road trip or dream escapade as well. Henceforth, always install the necessary navigation apps (i.e. Waze, Garmin, Google Maps, etc.) on all your smart devices, and make doubly sure your mobile devices are fully charged and functional. Prep up your power banks too in case your car’s battery goes kaput.
Stock up on treats & refreshments
Also be sure to keep your snacks, finger foods and drinking water in ample or steady supply. Preparing your own food (i.e. home-cooked meals) also ensures you and your family eats healthily even while on the road. Furthermore, you also enjoy the flexibility of consuming whenever you want hassle-free and without much fuss. Visit rest & recreation stops only when there is an absolute need to.
Prepare for potential contingencies
There is no such thing as being overly prepared. Mishaps and accidents happen at a moment’s notice especially while on the road. So make sure you have a first-aid kit ready, some basic emergency tools, as well as road assistance contact numbers at hand when you need them most during an emergency. Even if you do not need it for yourself, you can be a Good Samaritan and offer them to those who need it.
Keep the kids busy and entertained
Children are most susceptible to stress and restlessness during long trips. They get anxious, impatient, and become frustrated more easily compared to adults. So if your road trip involves kids, try to keep them entertained as best you could with toys, puzzles, games, music, movies, etc. Ideally, an on-board multimedia system comprising jukebox, game console and mini movie theatre should do the trick of keeping them distracted and preoccupied whilst you focus and concentrate on your driving. This ensures a pleasant and enjoyable ride for the entire family.
Be your cool self and have fun…
Music in particular livens up the mood of long and mundane road trips. While concentrating on your driving, make sure to kill or stifle the incessant boredom by introducing karaoke sing-along of your favourite songs including minus one tracks. And if you are driving home alone, prepare some playlists that you especially enjoy. Sometimes being a cabin singer is what it takes to break the monotony.
Overall full-body auto inspection
Most importantly, before embarking on any road trip, always service your car to make sure it is in tip-top condition for a smooth ride and a safe journey home. You may want to avoid any potential breakdowns in the middle of the freeway, whereby assistance can be a long time coming. Test air-conditioner, measure tyre pressures, check battery status, change engine oil (coolant), top up fuel tank, the whole works – this ensures the overall roadworthiness of your car. Getting to your desired destination is not a race against time, but enjoying the journey itself along the way. Last but not least, buckle your seatbelts and drive safely! – HFM