Getting your vehicle ready for a summer road trip
Your summer road trip will be over before it even starts if your vehicle can’t go the distance. Before any long road trip, AAA recommends getting a vehicle inspection to check key components like the battery, engine, tires, brakes and fluid levels. Most auto repair shops will perform an inspection free of charge during routine services like oil changes or tire rotations. Or, you can opt to have an inspection done for a small fee, which may be waived if any work needs to be done.
What if you don’t know where to take your car? The good news is you’re not alone! AAA surveyed consumers and found that 21% do not have a trusted repair shop or mechanic. To help consumers with what could be an overwhelming decision, AAA created its Approved Auto Repair program over 45 years ago. Auto repair shops with this designation give consumers what they want most – confidence, cost and convenience. AAA Approved Auto Repair shops must meet and maintain specific criteria like technician certifications and training, facility cleanliness and outstanding customer service. Plus, there are over 7,000 locations across North America that include dealerships, independently owned shops and those that focus on specialized types of repair.
Don’t hit the road without your AAA Membership
Usually, when people hear AAA, they think about our unmatched roadside assistance. That’s just one of the many benefits of being a AAA member. When planning a summer road trip, the AAA membership offers up many helpful tools like …
• 10% off labor costs ($50 limit in some areas) at AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities
• Access to expert travel advisors who can help with planning like mapping routes (see AAA TripTik Travel Planner), finding local attractions (see Digital Tourbooks), booking hotel and dining reservations and buying travel insurance
• Exclusive discounts for retailers, restaurants, attractions and so much more nationwide
Summer road trips are all about the journey and the destination
Summer road trips are unique from other types of travel because the journey itself is as important as the destination. What kind of snacks are we bringing? What’s on the playlist? Where will we stop? Planning the perfect route with all the right attractions and accommodations along the way can be a big undertaking. Luckily, since 1938, AAA has been producing its legendary TripTiks. In its early days, these were printed, bound together with a plastic comb and routes highlighted by hand. For those that remember, the nostalgia of the AAA TripTik is undeniable. It instantly signaled you were about to embark on an adventure. Today that still holds true, but with the added convenience of being digital so that everything you need is at your fingertips. To get you started, check out some of these road trip routes but there are many more, which can be found here.
COVID-19 isn’t gone yet … travel safe and travel smart
Summer is synonymous with vacation, and nothing signals the start of that season quite like Memorial Day. And, maybe more than any summer before it, people are busting at the seams to go … anywhere. Despite steps in the right direction, COVID-19 is still a very real part of the world, and it’s important to travel safely and smartly. For example, if you’re vaccinated, the CDC says that you can travel safely within the U.S. and that you did not need to get tested or self-quarantine unless your destination requires it. On the other hand, if you are not vaccinated, the CDC recommends you get tested with a viral test 1 to 3 days before your trip, then tested again 3 to 5 days after you return. You must also self-quarantine for a full seven days after your trip, even if your test is negative. Anyone choosing to travel, vaccinated or not, will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. AAA created its COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map to help people navigate local and state travel restrictions that may still be in place.
Be prepared in case your “road trip ready” vehicle breaks down
Even a vehicle that passes its inspection with flying colors could run into trouble on the road. In fact, AAA expects to respond to 9.4 million calls for help this summer, and most of those will be for dead batteries and flat tires. So, if you find yourself stranded, don’t worry AAA has your back. You can reach us by calling or texting “HELP” to 1-800-AAA-HELP (save this in your contacts), submitting a request via the web (bookmark in your favorites), or using the AAA mobile app (available on Google Play or in the App Store). Just remember – you or someone in your car must already be a member. Note: in most areas, there is a two-day waiting period after you join before roadside benefits kick in.
All the benefits of your AAA membership in the palm of your hand
The AAA mobile app, available on Google Play or in the App Store, has everything you need while you’re out on the open road. Once you set up your login, you will have access to …
• Your digital membership card that can be used for discounts or if you need roadside assistance
• Roadside assistance request – just a few taps, and we’ll be on our way to you
• Gas and electric charging station locator
• TripTik routes, local attractions, campground locator and listings for AAA Diamond designated restaurants and hotels