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Up North For The Holidays

3 min read
Tips and tricks that ensure you enjoy your driving holiday in Malaysia.

Driving to Malaysia is the closest thing Singaporean drivers have to a road trip. Its array of affordable dining and entertainment options, breathtaking natural landscapes and, of course, shopping outlets leave us spoilt for choice!

With the school holidays just around the corner and seven long weekends coming up in 2020, now’s a good time to start planning for that trip up north. Making that extra effort to plan and prepare will make your road trip less stressful and more pleasurable for you and your family or friends.

Pre-trip Inspection
Make sure your ride is in good running condition, as you don’t want any mechanical problems to ruin an otherwise amazing holiday. Check the fluid levels, battery and tyres. If you are planning a longer trip, do check AA Singapore’s Pre-Trip Inspection service. This comprehensive service even checks for window light transmittance levels to ensure they fall within approved limits.

Recently, Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport introduced the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP), which tracks foreign-registered cars in an effort to tackle car thefts and prevent cars with outstanding fines from leaving the country without paying. You can register through the official VEP website and follow the instructions. Though the system is currently suspended until further notice, it is advisabletobring your VEP confirmation slip along with supporting documents as a precaution. At this point, do make sure your road tax is valid and the car insurance is updated. Print a copy of each document and keep it in the glove box, just in case.

Touch ’n’ Go card
Apart from your passport and Malaysian currency, don’t forget to purchase or top up your Touch ’n’ Go card. Similar to our cashcard, this stored-value card can be used to pay tolls on the North-South (NS) Highway — no need to grapple for change. This card is really convenient, as charges can really add up the further you go. You can purchase these cards on Lazada or Carousell, or borrow from a friend. Just make sure to top it up at Watsons or Giant in Malaysia. Currently, there seems to be no way to top them up in Singapore. However, in partnership with Touch ’n’ Go, EZ-Link will soon launch a Combi Card: this dual-currency card, expected to be available at the end of the year, can be used in Singapore and Malaysia — which ought to make life easier for cross-border motorists.

Obey the laws and be gracious
Once on the road, make sure you respect the local motoring laws, and be sensible when making stops for refreshments and toilet breaks at the Rest & Relax (R&R) stops dotted along the NSHighway. Keep your valuables out of sight and never leave your car unlocked — no matter how quick you think your break will take. Don’t bring attention to yourself or group by acting and talking loudly, as there will be a chanceto be being singled out by would-be robbers. If you need to park your car overnight, do so only at hotel car parks or secure private car parks. Use anti-theft devices such as a steering wheel lock for added security.

Navigation tools
Navigating your journey is now way easier with apps such as Google Maps and Waze. Waze is a community-driven app that provides updates on roadblocks, accidents and even estimated waiting times at toll gates — the data is provided and updated by fellow road users. Whichever app you choose to use, it is best if you plan your route in advance before you leave.

In case of emergency
You can never foresee unexpected problems, such as a punctured tyre or a traffic accident. Make sure you have the necessary emergency numbers at hand. Most insurance companies have 24-hour hotlines that provide assistance and advice. In addition to car insurance, it pays to have proper travel insurance to cover the cost of any medical treatment or hospitalisation. Learn more on AAS insurance policies, including car and travel, at www.aas-insurance.com.sg.