International Driving Permit

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International Driving Permit

Postby bartbill » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:26 pm

We are going to Ireland in September for two weeks with a likely side trip to England and Scotland. Its been suggested we get an International Driving Permit. I checked with Irish Car Rental and they said my license is fine as long as its in Roman Script. I have not yet checked the other rental agencies. Its our first trip in that direction.
For you seasoned international travellers; what do you recommend. Does it change rates on rental and car insurance. I understand you can get a permit thru AAA but I am not a member. Don't really want to join as I use Good Sams.

Regards
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby winglessangel31 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:28 pm

bartbill wrote:We are going to Ireland in September for two weeks with a likely side trip to England and Scotland. Its been suggested we get an International Driving Permit. I checked with Irish Car Rental and they said my license is fine as long as its in Roman Script. I have not yet checked the other rental agencies. Its our first trip in that direction.
For you seasoned international travellers; what do you recommend. Does it change rates on rental and car insurance. I understand you can get a permit thru AAA but I am not a member. Don't really want to join as I use Good Sams.

Regards

International Driving Permits are in my experience and opinion very unnecessary especially if your license is in a language that is an official language (or maybe just spoken throughout) of the country you are visiting.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby ddunca1944 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:57 pm

1. You do not have to be a member of AAA to get an international driving license. Go to any of their offices and pay $15

2. We had one when we went to Scotland and Ireland. I believe they did ask to see it. Policies may vary (and may change), so we always get one just in case. I know for sure they require them in Italy.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby greenbldg » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:00 pm

http://dublin.usembassy.gov/service/oth ... iving.html


I am ordering one for Greece this week through the National Auto Club rather than AAA. Its basically just a translation.
http://www.thenac.com/idp_faqs.htm
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby Rainier » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:12 pm

You don't need to be a member to get one at AAA.

More importantly, you don't need an international license for Ireland, England and Scotland.....they speak English.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby partner » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:20 pm

I just came back from a week in Ireland (ROI). I did not have a international International Driving Permit. It is not necessary and no one will ever want to see it. I did get one a few years back for Italy. They asked for it at the rental car place.
Make sure you have a GPS. Road markings are basically non-existent, and where do exist are not timely. Maps are of no use. The roads (particularly near sightseeing areas) there are dismal, about like 1950 in the states. most are 1 & 1/2 lanes wide , curvy, winding. Apparently there is no law about parking on/in the road because they do it everywhere.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby momar » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:28 pm

ddunca1944 wrote:1. You do not have to be a member of AAA to get an international driving license. Go to any of their offices and pay $15

2. We had one when we went to Scotland and Ireland. I believe they did ask to see it. Policies may vary (and may change), so we always get one just in case. I know for sure they require them in Italy.

I didn't need one in Italy last fall.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby Carpe » Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:14 pm

bartbill wrote:We are going to Ireland in September for two weeks with a likely side trip to England and Scotland. Its been suggested we get an International Driving Permit. I checked with Irish Car Rental and they said my license is fine as long as its in Roman Script. I have not yet checked the other rental agencies. Its our first trip in that direction.
For you seasoned international travellers; what do you recommend. Does it change rates on rental and car insurance. I understand you can get a permit thru AAA but I am not a member. Don't really want to join as I use Good Sams.

Regards


Never heard of this requirement for the UK or Ireland. Was the suggestion based on actual experience in these countries, or just more of a general suggestion for international travel?
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby Iorek » Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:25 pm

momar wrote:
ddunca1944 wrote:1. You do not have to be a member of AAA to get an international driving license. Go to any of their offices and pay $15

2. We had one when we went to Scotland and Ireland. I believe they did ask to see it. Policies may vary (and may change), so we always get one just in case. I know for sure they require them in Italy.

I didn't need one in Italy last fall.


Frequently you don't need one to rent in Italy, but my understanding is if you have an encounter with the police, either as a result of an accident or a ticket, they will want you to have one.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby Coinsinthefountain » Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:48 pm

I spent a year traveling in Europe and North Africa, 14 countries, and no one asked to see mine. I went to France and Germany last year where I rented a car and my American driver's license was fine. I was with a relative once who wrecked his rental in Slovakia. He didn't have an International license and had no problems with the police.

I spent two weeks in Ireland in 1976 and used my U.S. license. Biggest problem there was driving on the other side of the road.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby harrychan » Wed Jul 24, 2013 3:05 pm

I would just go get it for the piece of mind. $15 and should take no more than 30 min.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby Watty » Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:27 pm

For the small cost I would go on and get one even though it would most likely not be needed. You never know when you will have a rental car clerk or police officer that will be unreasonable.

Be sure to check your credit card coverage, when I went to Ireland a while back most credit card companies excluded Ireland and a few other countries from the normal credit card coverage but a few credit cards did provide coverage in Ireland. I happened to have one that did so that saved me a lot. I did get a copy of the credit card coverage brochure the explained the coverage in case I needed it when I picked up the rental car.

Just FYI, one thing that helped with driving on the left was that Ireland is so far north that the sunset is very late in the evening for most of the summer and twilight lasts a long time after sunset. This meant that I only had to drive at night a few times which really helped. Is Septemeber I would thing that you would still a reasonably late sunset.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby obgraham » Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:39 pm

Spent a little time in Malawi a few years ago. They like to have police roadchecks, for reasons unknown. Strangely, the only document they wanted to see from me was an International License. It was pretty easy for them to tell I was not a local!

Back to those road checks: local fellow told me they were to prevent illegal transport of locally grown tobacco without paying the tax due. Oh, I said, "do they spring those up by surprise?". No, was the answer, "it's always in this same spot".
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby jeffyscott » Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:10 pm

I would only get one if it is required by a country that you will be driving in. I got one for a recent trip that included Austria, where it is required. I read many comments saying that people had been fine without it, but then some said, yes it's fine until you have an accident or something and then maybe you were driving illegally by not having it...so I got passport photos at Costco ($5) and the IDP at AAA ($15).

All it is is a translation of your license, in fact in Austria the requirement was IDP or a German translation of your license (done by their version of AAA). You can find out the requirements by googling "driving in Ireland", etc.

On a trip to Norway, where IDP was not required, I got stopped for routine checks twice and had no problem with just having a US license, even though it was confusing to the officers...one made a joke, looked at it, looked confused and said, "yes, it's a license...".

BTW, credit card rental coverage may exclude Ireland, that is a country most of them exclude for some reason: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card- ... s-1273.php
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby kramer » Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:15 pm

It is totally country-specific, and the main way to find out is by googling traveler experiences for that particular country.

I was thinking of visiting Sri Lanka, and it seems to be recommended there. But most places I have driven and traveled they don't care. They specifically do not require one (or care) where I live, in the Philippines.

Another good thing about having it is that it is another form of ID. I have had friends give it to the policeman when he wanted to confiscate their license so that they would pay a fine by the next day (a common practice in many countries -- when you pay you get your license back). The policeman accepted his international drivers license and he just never retrieved it.

It is valid for a year, and you can post-date the start of the year to any date. So my suggestion is to post-date it until the first day you might possibly use it, so you have longer validity. So be prepared with this date when you apply.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby Wolkenspiel » Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:32 pm

I've rented cars in Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, England, Taiwan, Japan, Netherlands, Dominican Republic, Spain, Portugal, Israel and probably some other places I don't recall. I've never been asked for an International Drivers License (and I never had one).
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby bartbill » Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:08 pm

Thanks everyone for the comments. Sound like I don't really need a permit but I will get the one anyway, I'll sleep better.

BTW this trip is for a wedding on the west coast - in a castle.

Bill
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby LadyGeek » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:38 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (drivers license).
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby thewizzer » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:52 pm

From a police officer's perspective, an IDP is really only necessary in order to translate languages. As long as the country you are traveling in (or more importantly, the officer you are dealing with) speaks English, it's not a problem. A license presented from another country is considered valid on it's face (probably because there's absolutely no way to check on it's validity anyway :happy ).

Also, beware of any document or card purporting to be an 'International Driver's License' as there is no such thing.

With that being said, spend the money and get a proper IDP for the peace of mind.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby StretchArmstrong » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:20 pm

Reminds me of the story of Ireland's worst international traffic offender...who didn't exist.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7899171.stm
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby dickenjb » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:26 am

Waste of time. I have travelled internationally for decades and driven all over Europe. Never got an IDP, never asked for one when hiring a car. (Yes that is what you do in England).
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby bartbill » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:16 am

"Hiring a Car", Just love the Brits.
Really like the idea of a GPS for touring Ireland and Scotland. I'll take mine.

Appreciate your opinion.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby jeffyscott » Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:25 pm

dickenjb wrote:Waste of time. I have travelled internationally for decades and driven all over Europe. Never got an IDP, never asked for one when hiring a car. (Yes that is what you do in England).


The issue is not whether you need one to rent a car, the issue is what are the consequences of not having it in a country that requires it by law (most don't), if you are stopped for a violation or have an accident. Yes, most people who violate this law, where it is a law such as Austria, suffer no consequences, that does not mean that there will never, under any circumstances, be any consequences for violating this law. For $20, I'd rather be in compliance with the local law.

For this particular case, I doubt that an IDP would be required in Ireland, if the license is in english.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby FNK » Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:34 pm

One reason to get an international license is the translation of categories. US "D" is European "B" and US "M" is European "A".
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby kramer » Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:32 pm

I just got mine today at AAA for $15 as I am about to go back overseas (currently on vacation in the USA). I don't know where I will be traveling in the next year so I just had them put the start date about 2 months from now, about the first possible date I would possibly use it. If it was inconvenient, I would not have bothered to get it but it is still nice to have just in case.

I have a Philippines Driver's license and there is something akin to the AAA there and you can get an International Driving Permit for it. But they charge about $50.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby halfnine » Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:52 pm

We are going to Ireland in September for two weeks with a likely side trip to England and Scotland. Its been suggested we get an International Driving Permit


I usually have an IDP, however I have never had an issue with needing an IDP for any of those countries. But, personally, it would be in your interest to verify with the rental agency you will be using first on what they will be checking for.

For Ireland, it is important to recognize that it is one of those countries that is generally excluded for CDW coverage from a credit card. And fees and coverage for CDW (still has a high deductible) and Super CDW (no deductible or low deductible) vary greatly. Plus keep in mind that you can not take your rental car between Ireland and Northern Ireland without verifying it is allowed by the rental car company and paying the appropriate fee. There are also a host of other fees from VAT, airport fees, fuel surcharges, etc. to add confusion. The point being that you'll just have to look very closely when comparing different companies for the total cost for equivalent coverage.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby halfnine » Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:53 pm

kramer wrote:I was thinking of visiting Sri Lanka, and it seems to be recommended there.


Alternatively, it's pretty easy to hire a car and driver in Sri Lanka to get around and not all that expensive. That's what we did we we were there. Although logistically, road and traffic wise it wouldn't be all that bad to drive around either once outside of Colombo.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby bartbill » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:50 pm

Halfnine,

Thanks much for that information; just the kind of things I like to know. Just hate surprises at the last minute. Now, any suggestions for distillery tours.

Bill
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby kramer » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:33 pm

halfnine wrote:
kramer wrote:I was thinking of visiting Sri Lanka, and it seems to be recommended there.


Alternatively, it's pretty easy to hire a car and driver in Sri Lanka to get around and not all that expensive. That's what we did we we were there. Although logistically, road and traffic wise it wouldn't be all that bad to drive around either once outside of Colombo.

Oh yeah, I definitely planned to get a car and driver for the first part of the trip, to see the cultural triangle. I was referring more to renting a motor scooter in a beach resort area. Or exploring a tourist area on the last half of the trip (e.g., highlands where they grow tea) when I would not have a car/driver and just getting around between cities by bus or train. Also, I would never drive in any country until I had had a few days to absorb driving habits as a passenger.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby halfnine » Sat Aug 03, 2013 3:18 pm

bartbill wrote:Halfnine,

Thanks much for that information; just the kind of things I like to know. Just hate surprises at the last minute. Now, any suggestions for distillery tours.

Bill


Well, I am no expert on distilleries having only been to two. Bushmills a few years back and another one in Zimbabwe around 15 years ago. Anyway, as far as Bushmills in Northern Ireland goes we quite enjoyed our visit.
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Re: International Driving Permit

Postby expat » Sat Aug 03, 2013 3:34 pm

bartbill wrote:We are going to Ireland in September for two weeks with a likely side trip to England and Scotland. Its been suggested we get an International Driving Permit. I checked with Irish Car Rental and they said my license is fine as long as its in Roman Script. I have not yet checked the other rental agencies. Its our first trip in that direction.
For you seasoned international travellers; what do you recommend. Does it change rates on rental and car insurance. I understand you can get a permit thru AAA but I am not a member. Don't really want to join as I use Good Sams.

Regards


In my experience, an International Driving Permit is not necessary.
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