Travel Tip: AAA is Worth Its Weight in Gold

You don’t really know how good something is until you truly need it, and then it comes through and delivers. This is how I feel about AAA. If you have a car in good working order, you probably wonder if the $100 or so per year for a AAA membership is worth it. If you are doing any sort of cross-country road trips, I would say it’s worth its weight in gold.

I’m always a proponent of being prepared to do your own roadside repairs, but sometimes this is not feasible and having AAA as your backup is the way to go. Fortunately, the only time I ever had to use AAA is when my alternator went out in the middle of nowhere Iowa. Initially, since my battery light did not come on I was thinking the issue may have been with a bad battery. After getting a tow, which was full covered by AAA, the only thing out of pocket I had to pay was a $20 battery swap fee.

I was able to call AAA and they arranged Tim’s Amoco to come out and tow me to their shop. I originally thought it was the battery and also found out the nearest appointment I could get was in a couple days so I was going to take my chances with a new battery. I can’t remember his name, but the tow truck guy at Tim’s went out of his way and realized my battery was under warranty so took me to the auto parts store and got me a replacement. I only had to pay them to do the battery swap.

Before I knew it I was on the road again and now broke down 4 miles from the Missouri line. Now I knew it was the alternator. I called AAA again. I told them I needed a shop that was open on the weekend so I could get back to Austin then. They found a shop down the road called I-35 Auto & Truck that was able to tow me and get me back on the road by noon. Both times I needed a tow it was covered by AAA and they pulled through!

Besides providing great service when you are broken down, you get some awesome discounts and it even works in Canada. I know when I stay at the Prince Arthur Hotel in Thunder Bay, I get a $10 a night discount. It wouldn’t surprise me with all my trips to Thunder Bay if I paid for the membership itself just in the discounts I get there.

In my opinion, having AAA is literally having cheap insurance. I can’t imagine how much more of a pain it would be if I had call individual shops as I was broken down on the side of the road. Ignoring this pain, I bet the tows would have cost me more than the membership. Even if I don’t break down on the side of the road, I still get my money’s worth in discounts. In essence, AAA is fully worth the money and it’s something I wouldn’t be caught without!

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