It’s that wonderful time of the year again…the kids are on holiday from school, and you and your spouse are thinking of planning that amazing road trip…perhaps you are taking the kids to visit their grandparents in another state, or heading out to one of the islands for a beach holiday, or taking a short break just out of KL.
Either way, the trip is going to be fun for the whole family!
So here are some “planning-ahead” tips that will make the trip even more fun!
1. Be Prepared.
Prepare checklists for all the items each family member needs to pack, especially so if your kids are young. This may sound like a tedious task (and indeed it is!) but, in the long run, you will be grateful that you took the time to do it. Nothing dampens holiday fun so much as realizing you left something crucial behind, and either having to drive back and get it, do without it for the whole trip or worse, having to cough up holiday cash to replace the needed item.
Plan the day leading up to your departure. Sometimes, it’s not enough to plan the trip itself. Given our busy lives, there would also be a lot of items that need to be taken care of just before or on the date of departure, to ensure that everything runs smoothly while you are away and also, when you return. Be sure to allocate time for last-minute errands and work emergencies that could take up time just before you leave.
Try to build in a buffer so that you still manage to clock in the right number of hours of sleep. Never, ever drive when you are tired. If you have not slept enough, delay the trip or request your spouse to drive while you nap.
2. Service the car.
This probably sounds like a no-brainer. Of course, you know your car is in perfect condition! Plus, you’ll definitely stop by the petrol station to fill up petrol before you go. But in actual fact, there are a few more things you should think about. For example, when was the last time you sent it in for a proper service, got the brake pads changed, the engine oil replaced, the air con coolant topped up? How about getting the radiator checked, the tyres pumped, and the lights and windscreen wipers checked?
3. Check the paperwork.
In the excitement of planning the trip, one could easily forget a few basic things. Make sure you and your family have their IC’s and other documents, including passports for maids/domestic helpers, with you. In case of a roadblock along the way, you will need to produce these documents. Also make sure your driver’s license has not expired, and that the road tax and insurance on your vehicle has not lapsed.
4. Plan your route.
Again, one might say “Aiya no need lah – I know where I’m going !”. But once again, it’s worth taking some time to check on a couple of things in advance. For example, take the time to update yourself on any developments since you last drove down that route, which you should know about. Relevant considerations would be whether there are there any road closures, diversions, or recent incidents such as landslides or floods which may require you to use a different route?
Also, be sure to find out where the petrol stations , rest stops or even historic sites or landmarks that you’d like to visit along the way are located, so that refueling, sightseeing, food and toilet breaks can be planned efficiently.
5. Plan in-car amusement.
OK, so the kids are really excited about the road trip now, but 1 hour into the trip, the old familiar “Are we there yet?”, “How long more till we get there?” or “Mummy, I’m BORED!” is likely to be heard echoing around the car. Don’t be caught off-guard – have your “battle plan” ready! Whether it is going to be electronic devices, DVD’s, Audio CD’s or even games to be played in the car, plan the details in advance and make sure you pack all the necessary items (including power banks and chargers to charge up the gadgets!).
Also, to get rid of any excess energy which has built up in the kids after having had to sit still in the car for several hours, pack a skipping rope and make the kids wear sneakers so that they can do a bit of jumping and running around at the rest stops (under your supervision of course!).
6. Have contingency plans for emergencies.
Pack a simple first-aid kit, with some basic items such as panadol, anti-diarrhoea medication, medicated oil, plasters and antiseptic cream. Also bring along tissue and toilet paper, bottled water, some food such as biscuits and sandwiches, and a change of clothes for the kids.
Hopefully, the above tips will help busy parents focus on some of the “to-do” items that need to be taken care of before embarking on a road trip.
So now after all your hard work and planning, enjoy your holiday and precious time spent with your kids!