FAQ 09: Is Roadside Assistance Worth It When Traveling?
I've had AAA since I bought my first car and I've never called them.
When I bought my first car in 2018, my greatest fear was that it would break down on the side of the road. There was no real reason for me to fear this. I had a two-year-old Hyundai with 42,000 miles and an impeccable maintenance record. Nevertheless, I purchased AAA soon after getting the car. When my mom bought her Honda a year later, I added her to my plan.
In 2020, I traded in my Hyundai and bought the FJ Cruiser and my travel trailer. After 30,000 miles on the road, I have never called roadside assistance. Yet, I continue to pay the bill faithfully every year. Here's why I'll keep paying for it―which might help you decide if you should too.
My FJ Cruiser Has Over 200,000 Miles
Older vehicles are never as reliable as they were when brand new. Yes, it's a Toyota, and I've never even had a flat with my baby. Nevertheless, he's an old boy, and things do break.
I take him in for routine maintenance and full checkups several times yearly, but that's no guarantee nothing will ever go wrong. Roadside assistance is my insurance that I'll get the help I need.
I Travel in Remote Areas
I can drive for miles and miles and only see a few cars. That's what I love about living in and traveling to rural areas. No traffic! If it's 10 miles away, that's 10 minutes and a straight shot. Compare that to driving 20 minutes in downtown traffic to travel just three miles.
However, remoteness has its downsides. There's a greater likelihood of poor infrastructure and fewer places to get mechanical help. Roadside assistance can help fill the gap.
Gas Stations Are Sometimes Few and Far Between
Another downside of traveling in remote areas is that you could burn through half a tank of gas before you see the next gas station. I know that because it's happened to me. I have almost run out of gas twice ― both times, in New Mexico.
Thankfully, I never completely ran out. But it's nice to know I can call AAA and have them bring me some fuel or even jumpstart my battery.
I Travel With an Adventure Kitty
Shadow has been through thick and thin with me on the road. He has survived cold, heat, sand storms, monsoon storms, a hurricane, and everything in between. Nevertheless, when you're traveling with a cat, your options are limited. I can't just book any Airbnb or hotel, and he's not welcome in some businesses, either.
Consequently, it's nice to know I have a backup plan to get back on the road as soon as possible and on to our intended destinations. He is always priority number one.
Alexis Chateau | Free Ramen is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Are you a paid subscriber? If so, next week, you'll receive information on some of the most common roadside assistance options RVers use. I'll share tips on getting complimentary or cheap roadside assistance services, and a few extra things to consider when towing.