If you are planning a self-drive vacation with Tenon Tours, you may be looking for information on how to get an international driver’s permit. Not all European countries require one but many recommend getting one anyway – especially if you plan to drive to neighboring countries.
After weeks and months of planning and waiting for your upcoming trip, the last thing you want to forget is this simple document that can make or break your vacation. Here are the steps you can take in order to get an international driver’s permit.
What is an international driver’s permit (IDP)?
True to its name, an international driver’s permit allows you to drive in over 150 countries as a tourist. It’s important to remember that if you do plan on driving a rental car while in Europe, you will still need your driver’s license. An IDP is not a driver’s license – it simply grants you access to driving a rental car while in a foreign country. You can also get your IDP translated into over 9 different languages.
Tenon Tip: Some may refer to this document as an international driver’s license. The proper term is international driver’s permit (IDP). This distinction is important because an IDP is not meant to replace your driver’s license, but rather accompany it when driving a car in a foreign country.
How do I know if I need an IDP for my upcoming European trip?
When you book your self-drive trip with Tenon Tours, your By-Your-Side Service TEAM member will let you know which documents are required for your trip, including an IDP. If you are still in the early stages of planning, a simple Google search will let you know if the country you plan to visit will require an IDP. You can also inquire with one of our Personal Travel Specialists if you plan to request a quote for a self-drive tour.
Tenon Tip: Each of our featured countries has a free digital guide with all the information you will need, including IDP requirements and other transportation information.
How to get an international driver’s permit
The steps to applying for an IDP are simple. Below are the steps outlined by AAA, our recommended source for getting your own international driver’s permit.
- An IDP application. Bring it to your nearest AAA branch office**.
- Two original passport pictures (also available at AAA branch offices**).
- A valid U.S. driver’s license.
- $20 USD for your permit fee.
If you are not able to visit your nearest AAA branch office, your IDP can be obtained through the mail. Simply enclose the following and mail them to the AAA office nearest you (check locally for payment options):
- Your completed IDP application form.
- Two original passport pictures each signed on the back.
- $20 USD permit fee.
- A photocopy of both sides of your driver’s license.
- If desired, include additional U.S. funds for expedited return mail service. See USPS.com, Fedex.com or UPS.com for rates.
What happens if I don’t feel comfortable driving once I’m there?
While our team prepares you as much as possible for your trip, we understand that sometimes driving in another country may be completely different than what you expected. If you plan a self-drive trip with us and don’t feel comfortable driving once you arrive at your destination, you can call our dedicated 24/7 traveler hotline or chat with an available By-Your-Side Service TEAM member via our mobile app. We’ll be able to discuss options with you. Changing transportation may have a significant impact on your itinerary and cost, so we do encourage you to do your own research to ensure you are completely comfortable driving beforehand.
What do I do after I receive my international driver’s permit?
All you need to do now is sit back and relax! Our team will make sure that you are well prepared for your trip. Our pre-departure consultation call will go over all required documents to ensure you have everything you need for a fun and successful trip.
Tenon Tip: As a bonus, our Tenon Tours mobile app conveniently stores all your travel documents in a centralized location so you can easily access what you need when you need it. Learn more about our mobile app.