For years I was a member of the AAA, which gave me piece of mind if I had car problems. If your car got stuck in a ditch after a snowstorm you knew they’d be there to help get you out. If your battery died they would come give you a jump. It was nice to know you didn’t have to rely on friends and family to rescue you. This was one of the main reasons I had a membership.
My husband and I used to travel a lot and we would visit the AAA office to pick up TripTiks, TourBooks for the states we were traveling to and maps of the cities we were visiting, all free with a membership. We would occasionally book trips using their travel agency.
The biggest advantage we got from the membership was the discounts on hotels and attractions. We used to travel a lot when we were younger. We’d take 2-3 big vacations per year. We could count on the AAA membership being good for a 10% discount on hotel rates. All you needed to do is indicate you are a AAA member when booking a hotel to get the discount. Those discounts more than made up for the $50 per year membership fee. With the discounts, emergency road service and free maps, the membership was a very good deal.
Times have changed for us. We travel infrequently, and when we do we try to stay with friends and family to cut down on the number of nights spent in hotels. We generally stay in less expensive hotels so the discount is not worth as much to us as it used to be. We have a GPS and the internet (a laptop usually travels with us) so we don’t need maps, TripTiks or TourBooks anymore.
My husband and I evaluated whether we should drop the membership in lieu of getting emergency road service through our auto insurer. In the end, we decided to add emergency road service to our auto insurance policies for about $20/year and drop the AAA because the $54 basic membership ($38 for a secondary membership) was more expensive. So even if we spent $300 for hotels this year, leading to ~$30 discount, it still wouldn’t make sense for us to keep the membership. I had been a member for over 10 years, but in the end it came down to money. The AAA offers other discounts as well which we never took advantage of, so I couldn’t justify staying with them.
If we ever decide to do more traveling again, I would definitely consider rejoining the AAA.