27 Oct 10 Essentials For a Road Trip to Malaysia from Singapore
One of the popular options for a weekend getaway for Singaporeans is to drive up north to Malaysia. You have groomed your car, checked your car fluids and pumped up your tyres. What more can you prepare for? Oh, let’s not forget your essentials for the long ride! Travelling a long distance requires you to be ready for anything that may happen along the way.
Be smart and equip yourself with this 10 essentials that you can bring on a road trip to make for a fun and enjoyable ride.
1. A Best Buddy (or more)
Everything is more fun with a companion, and a road trip is no exception. Think of all the great road trip movies, from “National Lampoon’s Vacation” to “Thelma and Louise” and “Little Miss Sunshine.” The time spent with family, a spouse or significant other, or a favourite friend can turn an ordinary trip into an adventure.
Take turns driving while the other person takes a nap or flips through magazines, or simply spend the time talking and catching up with each other. If you’re travelling with small children, be prepared with a few fun road games, sing-a-longs or books-on-tape to help the miles speed by.
Who knows? Your highway escapades just might give you the inspiration to write a road trip story of your own!
2. Spare Set of Keys and Other Auto Preparedness Tips
Yes, we know this may be one of the first things that you have prepared but it’s not wrong to emphasise on it, right? Have your oil checked, your tires inspected and filled with air, and test the air conditioning and wiper blades to make sure they’re working correctly. Have your driver’s license, insurance card and contact numbers for roadside assistance readily accessible.
Ensure that your spare tire is in good shape, and that the jack and other essential tools are easy to access. Your emergency toolkit should also include an orange flag or pylon that you can use to signal for help if needed.
Another word to the wise: Take along a spare set of keys in case they get locked inside the car or dropped from your pocket at a county fair. Give a set to your travel buddy or pack a set in your luggage for safekeeping — even if you have to call a locksmith to open the car, you’ll be able to drive when it’s unlocked.
3. Electricity Power Inverter
If you’re travelling with children or teenagers, don’t forget to take along a laptop or a portable DVD player to help them pass the time. Make sure you don’t run out of battery power on the road by investing in an electricity power inverter. These handy devices turn the charge from your car’s battery into electricity to power most small electronic devices, from laptops to electric razors. Simply plug the device into your cigarette lighter, and it converts into the direct current (DC) from the battery to alternating current (AC).
4. A Camera
Whether you’re headed to the beach or to the mountains, you’ll make lots of memories on the road and see things you may not come across every day. Keep a camera handy to capture those moments, whether it’s the beauty of a sunset over the Penang bridge, farm animals resting by kampung houses, a humorous sign posted near a store, or your travelling companion sipping on his first cup of coconut shake.
Be sure to charge up your digital camera and take along a spare battery if you have one, or take plenty of films if you prefer more traditional equipment.
5. Comfy Clothing, Pillows and Blankets
Whether you’ll be driving for several hours or even into the night, be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Experienced travellers will tell you that a road trip is not the time to wear your tightest jeans, or anything that restricts or binds.
You’ll also find that shoes that are easy to take on and off are a practical choice. That way, you can wiggle your feet in the car and then slip your footwear back on at moment’s notice when you stop for a break. Add a sweater or jacket over a T-shirt for instant respectability in public areas.
If you’re travelling with a companion, a small blanket works wonders to help keep you comfortable if the two of you disagree on the temperature setting. And a pillow from home can provide just the comfort you need in an unfamiliar hotel bed.
6. Toiletries and Other Essentials
Make sure your car is stocked with some easy-to-reach toiletries, such as tissues, paper towels, cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer and a roll of toilet paper, in case the rest stop isn’t well-stocked. Take any prescription medicines you need, as well as basics like pain relievers, antacids and remedies for motion sickness.
Sunglasses are also a road trip must. Don’t forget to apply and reapply sunscreen during your trip to prevent sunburn.
It’s also a good idea to include a basic first aid kit with a few essentials, such as antiseptic and band-aids for minor cuts, cortisone cream for insect bites, and bandages for unexpected cuts and scrapes.
7. Snacks and Food
Pack plenty of healthy snacks for the trip, such as fruit, pretzels, granola bars, crackers and nuts, along with a few fun treats. Take sandwiches if you know you’ll be driving for a long stretch in an area with limited dining options — or simply to avoid the temptation of fast food. You could also pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at a roadside park. A trip to the grocery store can help you save money, too, because the costs of dining out can really add up.
A soft-sided cooler packed with water bottles and a few soft drinks will come in handy throughout your trip, and it won’t take up too much space in your car. Simply refill with ice and drinks at your hotel or destination, and you’re good for the return trip.
8. A Roadworthy Playlist
Don’t forget to take your favourite tunes along for the ride. An iPod playlist or CD collection works wonders in making the trip more enjoyable, especially if you’re travelling through an area where radio signals might be sketchy. Be sure to carry along a mix of tunes that cover every mood, from upbeat to introspective, to make the most of your trip.
Some tried-and-true songs for the road: “Graceland,” by Paul Simon, “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” by U2, , “Take it Easy,” by the Eagles, “Pocket Full of Sunshine,” by Natasha Bedingfield, “Interstate Love Song,” by Stone Temple Pilots, and an all-time classic, “On the Road Again,” by Willie Nelson.
If you have an iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android or other types of smartphone, you’ll find a smorgasbord of travel applications at your fingertips. You’ll have efficient GPS access, as well as apps that help you find everything from great places to eat and clean hotels to parks and other points of interests.
Weather applications keep you up-to-date on where the sun is shining and when storms could hit, so you can make the right decisions about whether to keep the top up or down — if you’re lucky enough to be travelling in a convertible, that is. Plus, you’ll find plenty of games, quizzes and puzzles to keep any back seat drivers occupied.
10.Maps, Maps, Maps
You’ll probably start your trip with a planned route, but be sure to take maps of the areas you’ll be driving through, just in case you need to take a detour to avoid traffic or simply go exploring. An atlas or a traditional map will do, or you can print custom maps for your journey at Web sites like GoogleMaps or Mapquest Route Planner.
A Global Positioning System (GPS) unit is a handy gadget to take along, as well — some travellers say they wouldn’t leave home without one! Many cars have navigation systems built-in, but if your car isn’t factory-equipped, you can pick up one from as low as S$70.
Source: Original article from HowStuffWorks and adapted for Singapore’s context.