Road trips from Singapore to areas like Johor Bahru and Cameron Highlands with friends and family can be fun, but there’s a lot of preparation that goes into it. Here’s what you need to know before you hit the road for that adventure on wheels:
1. Safety first: Prep your car for the drive
Ensure that the car can get you and your passengers to your destination safely, especially if you’re planning to cover long distances. Take your car to a qualified mechanic ahead of time and have it inspected. Make sure to check your tyre pressure, brakes, signal lights, steering, and suspension. If you haven’t had your headlights and taillights changed in a while, it’s probably best to have spare bulbs on hand in case they need to be replaced while you’re on the road.
It’s also advisable to have your car battery tested to check its condition because the last thing you want is your car breaking down in the middle of nowhere. Car batteries typically last five to seven years before they need to be replaced. Some warning signs of a weak battery include slow cranking, dimming headlights, and acid leaks.
2. Plan your route
Map out your basic route. This gives you an estimate of the total distance and a rough idea of how long you’ll need to reach your destination. If you’re planning on visiting attractions, it’ll be much easier to adjust your itinerary once you have a rough route. By mapping out your road trip, you’ll also be able to decide on and book accommodations ahead of time if you need to spend the night at certain pit stops. This is especially important if you’re travelling with a big group during peak seasons and require multiple rooms. Mobile apps like Google Maps and Waze can also be of great help once you’re on the road. These apps can give you real-time updates on traffic congestion, construction zones, and traffic enforcement cameras. While driving, try to maintain a moderate speed and beware of road conditions and hazards.
Don’t get too caught up with following your itinerary down to a tee though. Leave room for impromptu detours – who knows what you’ll discover along the way?
3. Prepare an emergency kit
You can never be too prepared when going on a road trip. Before you embark on your journey, make sure you have an emergency kit stashed away in the car. The kit should include motion-sickness bags, jumper cables, flashlights, a telephone list of emergency and medical services, and other supplies you might need in case of an emergency.
Keep in mind that emergency services like tow trucks may take some time to reach you so you may need to rely on these essentials while you wait. You may not even need to use your emergency kit but having one on hand while on the road will certainly give you peace of mind.
4. Keep the kids entertained
A road trip with the family can be an incredible bonding experience, but being cooped up in the car with kids does have its challenges. Younger kids are usually more impatient and can get restless, bored and cranky when sitting through long stretches. Prevent squabbles or tantrums by loading up your tablets or smartphones with your kids’ favourite shows to keep them entertained. Don’t forget to prompt them to take regular breaks from the devices; play classic road trip games like ‘I Spy’ or pack some toys and activity books for the ride.
Safety and comfort are always important so make sure to use appropriate car seats and pillows to keep the kiddos cosy. Make sure they stay hydrated too by packing plenty of drinks and snacks, and if you’re travelling with younger tots – bring along extra diapers, wet wipes, clothes and even their blanky!
5. Make the journey fun
Travelling with friends? Share the responsibilities to make sure you have everything covered. Assign roles based on your friends’ strengths, and have different people take charge of things like the playlist, refreshments, navigation, and sightseeing. Where possible, everyone should take turns driving to prevent fatigue and to ensure that everyone gets a chance to rest. Take frequent breaks to stretch those legs whenever you need to!
You can also amp up the fun factor by planning exciting pit stops at Instagram-worthy attractions en route. Don’t be afraid to chat up fellow road trippers you may meet along the way as they can sometimes give you valuable insight to the roads ahead (plus tips on places to visit).
Ready for that upcoming road trip? Now that you’re all set, go forth, have a blast, and – most importantly – drive safe!