Roadside Assistance Tips for Your Next Road Trip

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Roadside Assistance Tips for Your Next Road Trip

Scott LiebermanRoadside Assistance Tips for Your Next Road TripMillion Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

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Road Trip!  Besides “ice” and “cream,” these might be the 2 most fun words to put together.

And to ensure a smooth trip full of laughs and upbeat tunes, take note of these quick tips.  Because nobody wants to be stranded on the side of a dark road without emergency beef jerky.

Now if you DO have car trouble, I’ll show you credit cards that grant you complimentary roadside assistance.  This can save you money if you need a tow or a tire replaced.

If You’re Stuck Because of Car Trouble, You’ll Be OK If You Follow These Easy Steps and Don’t Actually Stick Your Feet Out the Window

Road Trip Safety

  • Nothing ruins the fun quite like a traffic fatality.  Please… do everything you can to protect yourself and your loved ones and that guy who kinda invited himself and you said OK but he has to sit squished in the middle of the backseat the whole time.
  • Plan how many hours each person will drive each day.  Do NOT drive while tired.  You’re not good at it.
  • Plan where you’ll stay and/or have some options
  • Look at weather forecasts where you’ll be going.  Prepare.
  • Distracted driving can be deadly.  Keep your eyes on the road.
  • Bring sunglasses
  • Wear your seat belt
  • For young children, be sure their safety seats are properly installed.  You might be surprised.  You can call 866-SEAT-CHECK to have an expert check.  Or learn more at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • Never leave children alone in the car.  Accidents happen and the temperature inside rises quicker than you’d imagine.

Your Pre-Trip To-Do List

Before you hit the road, be sure:

  • Your vehicle has been inspected by a qualified mechanic.  Check your tires, battery, belts, fluids, air conditioner, engine, brakes, windshield wipers, and more.
  • The spare tire is in good condition.  And that you’ve got a vehicle jack.  And that you’ll have Wi-Fi to search “How to change a tire” on YouTube.
  • You have a gallon of antifreeze
  • To bring an empty 1-gallon gas container.  Although let’s face it… the type of person who completely runs out of gas is usually not the type of person who reads these kinds of articles on preparation.  So share this with that one friend you have!   Also, NEVER carry gasoline in your car.
  • To bring a back-up battery for your mobile phone and/or a car charger
  • To have plenty of drinking water, sunscreen, and other items to keep your body healthy
  • To have a paper map in case you don’t have power.  Or at least download maps to your phone in case you don’t have reliable cell service throughout the entire trip
  • You bring your driver’s license and registration, copy of car insurance policy and contact numbers, car’s manual

Road Trip Emergency Kit Essentials (and Extras!)

  • First-aid kit with your prescription drugs, pain relievers, antiseptic, bandages, scissors, medical tape, motion sickness medicine
  • Road flares
  • Extra bottles of drinking water — gallons would be great
  • Rain ponchos / Umbrellas
  • Fully-charged car jump-starter (I have one of these gizmos.  It’s clutch when you can’t find someone to jump your car.)
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Blankets, pillows, or sleeping bags
  • Warm clothes if it’s cold
  • Snacks / food / energy bars
  • Diapers / baby supplies
  • Sanitary pads
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Bug spray
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Cash
  • And your credit card that gives your professional roadside assistance!

Credit Cards That Give You Complimentary Roadside Assistance

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card

Chase United MileagePlus Club Card

Citi Prestige® Card

Note:   The premium credit cards listed here have higher annual fees than ordinary cards.  The roadside assistance perk alone won’t make them worthwhile for you.  BUT… some of these credit cards also have highly-lucrative intro bonuses worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars towards travel.  And their other benefits can also make them worth it.

For example, I have the Citi Prestige because I use it to save big at hotels and airport lounges.  Others on the Million Mile Secrets team really love their Chase Sapphire Reserve and AMEX Business Platinum cards.

Check out the table below to see which roadside assistance services will cost you nothing!

 AMEX Cards With Premium Roadside AssistanceChase Sapphire ReserveChase Ritz-CarltonChase United MileagePlus Club Citi Prestige & Citi AAdvantage Executive
Services include:• 24 hour towing and lockout assistance

• Battery boost, flat tire service, and fuel delivery
• 24 hour towing and lockout assistance

• Battery boost, flat tire service, and fuel delivery
• 24 hour towing and lockout assistance

• Battery boost, flat tire service, and fuel delivery
• 24 hour towing and lockout assistance

• Battery boost, flat tire service, and fuel delivery
• 24 hour towing and lockout assistance

• Battery boost, flat tire service, and fuel delivery
Where are you covered?US, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin IslandsUS and CanadaUS and CanadaUS and CanadaUS, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands
Required distance from primary residence (miles)00 (but terms say "while traveling away from home")0 (but terms say "while traveling away from home")500
Limit per calendar year4444No limit
You'll pay: Nothing for included services

Note: Towing service includes 10 free miles. Then, you'll pay $3 per mile
Charges above $50Charges above $50Charges above $50Nothing for included services

Note: Towing service includes 10 free miles.
Are you covered with a rental car? NoYesYesYesYes
Contact Information & Additional Benefits Guide See AMEX Roadside Assistance for more details

See Chase Sapphire Reserve Guide to Benefits for more details

See Chase Ritz-Carlton Guide to Benefits for more detailsSee Chase United MileagePlus Club Guide to Benefits for more detailsSee Citi Roadside Assistance for more details

These benefits work for the primary cardholder.  But it’s possible to use them on a vehicle that you don’t personally own or lease.  For example, if you’re driving in a friend or family member’s vehicle and need help, you could contact the credit card company for assistance.

The American Express cards with premium roadside assistance benefits described above include:

Roadside Assistance for a Fee

Many other credit cards also provide some type of roadside assistance.

For example, on most American Express personal cards, there is a 24-hour phone number to call to coordinate basic services like a tow or jump start.  But you’ll have to pay for any services.

And Visa Signature cards have a similar benefit.  You’ll pay a flat fee of ~$70 for basic services like:

  • Towing (up to 5 miles included)
  • Tire changing
  • Battery jump start
  • Lockout service
  • Fuel delivery (up to 5 gallons and the cost of fuel not included)

Bottom Line

Prepare for your road trip by making sure your vehicle is working well, planning out your trip, stocking your emergency kit, and bringing a credit card that includes roadside assistance.

With the American Express, Chase, and Citi credit cards we’ve listed here, you’ll get premium roadside assistance.  This saves you money.  Because you won’t have to pay for a jump start, fuel delivery, or tow service!

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More Info

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Under “the Required distance from primary residence (miles)” category for CSR and Ritz, why do you say “0 (but terms say “while traveling away from home”)” ? Are you saying that restriction is not enforced ? Do you have an examples where that is the case?

My understanding is your vehicle must be away from your primary residence to use perk with these cards. That said, it’s unclear if it’s enforced. For example, if you call for a battery boost while the car is in your garage, there’s a possibility the coverage wouldn’t apply because the vehicle is at your primary residence.