Before you "Balik Kampung", do these...


Two more weeks to Hari Raya and the mad rush to balik kampung. We won’t treat you like an idiot and remind you to send your car for its regular servicing and checking that it is in tip-top condition before the long drive back home (okay, so this is a reminder in a roundabout way). Here are five more reminders to make the journey home a better one:-

1) Consider alternatives

If you usually travel back alone, you’d know that bus, train and plane tickets get snapped up pretty quickly. Consider hitching a ride with GrabHitch. It matches passengers with drivers who are going the same way. It might be more expensive than taking the bus or train (but cheaper than airfare), but it is certainly more comfortable, provides door-to-door pick-up and drop-off, and you can ask the driver to stop for a “pee break” anytime. The best part is that you might actually meet new friends who are presently staying not too far from where you are, and hail from the same hometown. Everyone is in a festive mood, so there’s bound to be lively conversation or some car-pool karaoke-ing.

2) Have these in your phone

If you are on one of our nation’s highways and suffer a breakdown or accident (touch wood!), you can get PLUSRonda assistance (minor repairs, towing service, etc) by calling this number. 

PLUSLine: 1800-88-0000

If your phone battery is dead (ever heard of in-car chargers?), then there are emergency phones every two kilometres. 

If you are not on the highway, you can still get help using the Carput mobile app; it connects you with “trusted roadside professionals”, as opposed to that "roadside assistance" conveniently appears out of nowhere when you get into car trouble, and you being in a desperate situation happily let them “assist” only to find out later that you had been fleeced.

3) Curate your road trip playlist on Spotify

It is annoying when you cross invisible boundaries and the radio starts crackling because the frequency you are tuned to is no longer precise. And when you are driving at high speeds, you shouldn’t be fiddling with the radio anyway. With Spotify, you can listen to your favourite music throughout the entire journey; although, you should download the music to make it available offline because internet connection can be unreliable, especially if you’re travelling through the more ulu parts of the country.

The download feature is available for paid subscriptions only, but if you are cheapskate and won’t play the RM14.90/month, Spotify is now offering a 3-month subscription for the same price, if you subscribe before 26 June. Go for it: enjoy the full Spotify service throughout the Raya month and after, then cancel your subscription at the end of 3 months (we’re cheap too).

4) Get traffic info to know what to expect

While Waze is great for finding out what is just up ahead, bad traffic can go on for miles. Visit the PLUS Traffic Portal, which collates data from its Traffic Monitoring Center and Section Offices, for live traffic updates. It shows you traffic flow (speed) throughout the highways, locations of accidents or maintenance works, and even video feeds. You could use this information to plan your journey or, if you’re already caught in a crawl, to at least expect when to get out of it; knowing what is ahead makes it less stressful.

Go to the PLUS Traffic Portal.


5) RELOAD YOUR TnG CARD and MAKE SURE YOUR SMARTTAG’s BATTERY HAS JUICE

Typing this in all caps shows HOW IMPORTANT A POINT THIS IS. How awful is it to have miles of vehicles piled up behind you and realising that you do not have enough credit or your SMARTtag’s battery is dead. You must know by now, if you are a driver, that all PLUS tolls have gone cashless. Imagine how mad all those tired drivers behind you would be if they had to gostan to make way for you.

Let's not start Hari Raya with such bad vibes.

What other reminders would you have us tell our readers? Let us know in the comments below.

top image: Youtube

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