Read these four tips for an easier balik kampung journey.
It’s that time of the year again! The festive season is fast approaching and you’re looking forward to that trip back to your hometown (or balik kampung in localspeak). Whether by air, rail or road, it is always best to plan in advance. This is essential especially when travelling with babies, toddlers and young children, as the exponential increase in traffic volumes can cause great distress. Delayed journeys, traffic jams and crowded amenities are the chief cause of discomfort.
So if you want to know where to start, read these four tips for an easier balik kampung journey.
Yes, the comfort of travel starts way before you actually hit the road. This is true particularly for parents as young children get cranky easily when their needs are not met.
Pack your bag and the kids’ rucksack with a change of clothes, towels, wet tissue packs and some snacks and drinks. Non-urgent items can stay in the car boot or be stowed away in the overhead compartments of planes, trains or buses.
Plan your stops
Motorway service areas — more commonly known as R&R stops in Malaysia — provide ample conveniences such as petrol kiosks, ATMs, food stalls and washrooms.
However, festive holidays naturally mean massive highway traffic and more people. Stop at the less popular rest areas if you only need to visit the washroom. Or make a detour to petrol stations where you can take a toilet break, buy essential items and fill your car with petrol all at the same place.
Pack enough food and ample fluid
It’s lunchtime, but what are the chances of getting a table when everyone else on the road has also pulled over for a meal? Short of facing snaking lines, you’d also be lucky if you can even find something decent to take away. Cue for the kids to complain and you have a perfect recipe for a meltdown.
Solution? Pack simple but filling meals such as egg sandwiches and fried rice. You can also amp up the nutrition factor with sliced fruits. Remember to bring water and juices too. Ensure that you put food in thermal jars or insulated bags with cold packs to keep them at a safe temperature.
Count snacks as ‘food’ too. Stock up on the potato crisps and biscuits for nibbles; your children will surely love you for it. It’s okay, you can spoil them — and yourself — just this time, for you don’t always get to balik kampung!
Don’t forget hobbies and entertainment
The long hours of travel can wear out even the toughest adult. So do bring portable board games to pass the time and keep travel members absorbed. And it’s great if you can play videos in your vehicle because children love their cartoons.
Furthermore, encourage children to pack their own rucksack with whatever they fancy, such as plush toys, figurines, sticker books and puzzles. Those who prefer a more quiet repose can bring good story books or beach books.
Browse the Supermarkets and Travel Services listings on Yellow Pages Malaysia for information on travel buys and needs.