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What AAA is not good for

I pay the AAA membership fee for the road service. It's certainly not for the "travel books", which generally can be regarded as a counter-indicator of restaurants I'd like to eat in, provide odd sketches of even odder (at times) selections of 'attractions', and are too bulky for air travel, anyway. And the maps are generally poor--OK to get a general layout of a city or state, but you don't really want use them to navigate by. Travel discounts? I'm finding that AARP rates are much better and don't try so hard to force you into a Hertz rental car, and Travelocity with no discount will often do better.

And then there's the service. I have a business trip to San Diego next week, and I've never been there before. I'm taking Monday off and going to the zoo before my meeting starts Tuesday, so I'd like a) a map of San Diego and b) answers to the questions "does the zoo have a AAA discount, and if so do I need to buy a ticket in advance?".

I emerged from the office with 2 maps which turn out to be of the northern suburbs and the eastern suburbs, completely missing downtown (the zoo is downtown, as is my hotel and the local office), and the southern California travel book. The clerk pointed out the page of "local" AAA offices in southern CA and told me that if I'd visit one of those, they could answer my question. So helpful.

(The travel book does show a discount, and the general blurb says the discounts are obtained by asking at the attraction. And I will tear out the few San Diego pages from the book to take along before recycling the rest. And I'll try to go back by the office, give them the useless maps, and see if they have on that shows, well, San Diego.)



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 27th, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC)
Ask for a TripTik. That will at least show you the routes. I'd hit MapQuest for in-city driving instructions and the City of San Diego website for the other things.

Jul. 27th, 2007 08:52 pm (UTC)
That's what've done--I've got a collection of Google Maps routes that will handle hotel to zoo and back, and have perused the Zoo and Balboa Park web sites and the transit system's route planner which convince me I needed to rent a car for a day to do the zoo. The city map was just for reserve: if I got myself really lost (not likely), or if the group wants to go wandering further afield later in the week and I want to track where we're going. At that point I'll just be riding along in the car pool.
Jul. 27th, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
Wow. I've had much better luck with AAA than that. I navigated my way cross country for three months eight years ago with AAA maps, including city maps for, among many others, DC, New Orleans, and Philadelphia.

I'm sorry you've had such a bad experience with them. I wouldn't give up my membership for anything.
Jul. 27th, 2007 08:46 pm (UTC)
My impression (without doing any research) is that the maps have declined in quality recently. Maybe they've changed vendors, maybe it's dependent on the part of the country, maybe it's all in my head. <g>

OK, it's not all in my head, because the trip to Charlotte, NC in June had us comparing an old, purchased city map with a new AAA one as we worked out routes. We ended up buying a new city map during the trip, and wished we had gotten a state one as well. The AAA one wasn't wrong, but it was hard to read, street names were badly placed, had bad color choices on the linework--generally, it was poor cartography.
Jul. 27th, 2007 08:54 pm (UTC)
Rats. Now you're making me want to make a run over to the local AAA office and make my own comparisons.

And it's clear across town [g].
Jul. 27th, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
When in San Diego -
Try to get to Sea World. If you're greeted by a heavy-set guy in a wheelchair with a wonky arm, say Hi and tell him Aunt Pat sent you.
Jul. 28th, 2007 01:19 am (UTC)
Re: When in San Diego -
Will do!

You never know with this group--sometimes they will be up for something like SeaWorld, other times not. The default choice of hiking is a little harder to achieve than in Boise or Denver, but geocaching (the other prime choice) can be done anywhere).
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


Nancy Barber

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