Different countries have different identification regulations when it comes to driving a vehicle. For the most part, on short vacations a regular driver’s license works well for vehicle rental, however what most people forget is your regular old driver’s license is theoretically only valid in a given country for three months.
In the new year, Joey and I will be traveling to Europe for 10 months. We have a general idea of what countries we plan on visiting and for what length of time, but our plans are not set in stone. We like the idea of having the flexibility to come and go as we please, change our plans if we really like a certain country and to venture off somewhere unexpected at the last minute.
Because of our extended plans and having our own vehicle licensed and insured in the Netherlands we figure it will be smart to each get our International Driving Permit.
An International Driving Permit, or IDP for short, is an identity document that allows the holder to drive a private motorized vehicle. This highly recognized document functions in conjunction with your valid driver’s license. They allow motorists to drive in over 150 countries worldwide without additional tests or applications. In some countries simply having a valid driver’s license is not enough, you need to have further proof, from a competent authority, that you are fit to drive a motorized vehicle.
Looking to get an IDP? Applying for your own International Driving Permit is simple. In Canada, it can be done by mail or in person via the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA).
When Joey and I applied we simply went into a local CAA and they were able to issue us our permits in under an hour. It was absolutely flawless. If you don’t have a CAA store in your hometown you can also mail all the requested documentation and within 1-2 weeks you will have your IDP.
As handy as International Driving Permits are, these documents do have some important limitations worth noting.
Depending on who you talk to, everyone will have a different opinion on the matter. Sure, Joey and I may not run into trouble on the road and hence never need to show our IDP, but having this permit should something go wrong would cover all our bases. It will give us some peace of mind driving our own wheels in a strange country. Not only that but, it also has our driver’s license terms translated into various languages making it handy in countries when English is not often used.
Stay safe while on the road in a strange country. The last thing you want to be dealing with on vacation is a police officer who may or may not be having a good day!
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