Driving back to your hometown this Raya? Here’s a guide for a smooth and pleasant journey home.

Service your car

In the days leading up to your trip, be sure to schedule a service to make sure that the car is in good condition for the long drive ahead. It’s worth noting that air conditioner servicing may help reduce fuel usage. Some things to check on departure day are: Tire pressure, water or coolant, engine, transmission oil and battery water.

Plan the drive

In the age of GPS, planning your journey is a cinch. Of course, you’ll need to take into consideration the mass volume of cars on the road during the festive season. The time advisory (TTA) that’s issued by respective highway officials usually work and is easily accessed on their websites. Just be sure to factor in fuel, prayer times and rest stops.

It would also be a good idea to have a few highway helpline numbers on hand in case of an emergency. You can get most of the numbers from the official website of the Malaysia Civil Defence Force (www.civildefence.gov.my/).

Stop and relax

Drivers are encouraged to rest at least 15 minutes after every two hours of driving. The Rest and Service Areas are a good place to freshen up. Better known by as R&R – for Rest & Relaxation, or the Bahasa Malaysia term (Kawasan) Rehat Dan Rawat – these stops have become an integral aspect of the Malaysian road trip experience.

Hashtag your way

Get on Twitter this festive season and stay informed on the latest traffic conditions. Some useful accounts to follow are: @mytraffic, @PDRMsia_Trafik, @plustrafik and @LLMinfotrafik. Also look out for some hashtags – such as #kltu, #plus, #jbtu and #ilintas – that should provide updated information from other users on the road.

Food for thought

For the little ones, you might want to consider packing some light snacks during those long journeys. Some travel treats include sandwiches, grapes, apple slices and crackers. A cooler box or resealable bags should maintain the freshness of the food in the car. Try to avoid food high in salt as they might result in more frequent toilet breaks.