Selamat Hari Raya and maaf zahir dan batin from all of us here at Zafigo! Balik Kampung season is upon us. With everyone travelling back to their hometowns or for a getaway, we thought it’d be apt to share some safety tips and tricks to survive the balik kampung rush.

For a smooth journey back home to your loved ones, it’s important to keep yourself and others safe while on the road. Save this useful list for the next time you take a drive back to your hometown.

Service your vehicle before the trip

Image by Tim Mossholder

Making sure your main mode of transportation is in tip-top shape will lessen the chances of hiccups while on the road. If your car service is almost due by mileage, make sure to get it serviced before you go on a long-distance road trip.

Let your car technician know that you’ll be driving long-distance and you’d like to check if these parts are in working order:

✅ Tyres
✅ Brakes
✅ Engine oil
✅ Car Battery
✅ Air-conditioner

Here are a few things you can also check yourself before your road trip:

✅ Windscreen wipers and cleaning fluid
✅ Car lights
✅ Your vehicle’s insurance and road tax
✅ Check that your emergency essentials in the trunk are ready to go (Torchlight, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, jumper cables, etc)

Be prepared and plan ahead

Image by Ketut Subiyanto

Of course, this includes getting your car serviced beforehand, which we’ve covered previously. For families with children, here are some things you can prepare:

🧸 Snacks and nourishment
🧸 Water bottles or milk bottles
🧸 Make sure all electronic devices are charged, and bring portable chargers just in case.
🧸 Other forms of non-device entertainment
🧸 Change of clothes and cleaning supplies in case the little ones wet themselves.

When planning the duration of your road trip, factor in additional time for toilet breaks, rest stops, meal times, prayer breaks, and nappy change times.

For the Raya flyers

Image by Ross Parmly

For those taking a flight home, be at the airport three hours before your flight to ensure you’ll be able to board. Factor in your journey to the airport, too, and add a little extra time for unexpected traffic on the road.

Nobody wants to be stuck at the airport, especially during festive or peak flying seasons. Self-check-in on your airline’s app, website, or airport check-in kiosks will make your trip more efficient and save time.

Free tolls, yes, but please top up

Yes, toll fares are usually waived for two days, BUT if you’re travelling earlier or later than those assigned dates, do make sure you have enough balance in your Touch ‘n Go card for your trip.

As of 5 November 2019, there are no longer Top Up (Tambah Nilai) lanes at tolls, so do your due diligence before you get on the highway.

Stay updated on petrol costs and budget away

Petrol expenses can take up a chunk of your balik kampung costs, so if you need to, Ringgit Plus has a helpful resource to check petrol prices so you can plan it into your budget.

For drivers, leave early if possible

Plan your departure times wisely, or be prepared to be stuck in highway traffic. If you’re up for waking up in the wee hours of the morning (we’re talking 3am), you’ll avoid the massive build-ups on the road during the day.

Keep updated on social media and check advisories

Here are some useful accounts to follow for updates on road situations, traffic, and long-distance driving tips:

🚦 PLUS Malaysia Berhad
🚦 Kementerian Kerja Raya
🚦 Lembaga Lebuhraya Malaysia
🚦 Astro Radio Traffic

Use navigation apps like Waze or Google Maps to see traffic conditions and roadblocks and to help you observe speed limits while on the road.

Rest is imperative for your safety

If you’re planning to be up and out on the road at 3am in the morning, do make sure you’ve had enough rest before your drive. DO NOT drive when tired or sleepy, and make a rest stop before continuing on your journey.

Stop at designated rest stops for a toilet break, get coffee, take a power nap, use the Surau, and get some snacks. My best personal tip is to get someone in the co-driver seat who is designated to have conversations with you to keep you alert! Another tip is to change drivers when necessary.

Don’t throw rubbish out the window

This is a fairly straightforward point, but unfortunately, we still see it happening sometimes. Remember, the trash you throw out the window may endanger someone’s life. Please throw your trash in a trash bin or keep your trash in a bag in the car before you can get to one.


Image by Bridgette Chen

If this is an option available to you, especially if you have friends or cousins returning to the same hometown, then by all means. This will mean less cost, fewer cars on the road, and also having a co-driver to take over driving when you’re tired or keeping each other company and chatting throughout the journey.

The congestion doesn’t stop there

We’re talking about human foot traffic. If you’re travelling home to states like Melaka, Johor, or Penang, prepare for these places to be packed. Not only are people travelling to their hometowns, but locals also visit their relatives in town.

Practice patience and plan your visits to tourist attractions should you be planning to. Remember that school holidays and term breaks for most schools are around the same time too.

With these helpful tips, we hope your trip back home this year will be a little more pleasant!

Stay safe, and above all, remember that this is a special time with family and loved ones that you’ll cherish for years to come.