An International Driving Permit (IDP) is an official document that provides a translation of important information from your driver’s license. The permit contains your name, photo and driver information translated into 11 languages, including English.
International driving permits are recognized in over 150 countries today. Many countries that do not recognize US, UK, Australian or other driver’s licenses do officially recognize an IDP. Additionally, some countries only honor valid US, UK or Australian driver’s licenses when accompanied by a local language translation, satisfied by the IDP.
Carrying an international driving permit along with a valid driver’s license from your home country, can help with language barriers when traveling in non-English speaking countries. The IDP also serves as an additional source of identification. So, buying an IDP prior to your trip can save a lot of potential time-consuming headaches. If you need to communicate with foreign authorities, an IDP can be a big help.
In the U.S. they’re easy to obtain, no driving tests or exams involved. They're issued by most AAA or National Automobile Club offices. You’ll need to bring your valid U.S. driver's license, $15 to $20USD, and two original passport-type photos (also available at AAA offices). You’ll want to contact your local AAA or National Automobile Club branch for details. For travelers based outside the U.S. check with local travel authorities to find out how to obtain your international driving permit. It’s a small price to pay for additional peace of mind.