An IDP for International Driving

It has been a whirlwind processing the information this week that research states that an international driving permit is necessary to drive out of the country. This summer we head on our first-ever slow travel experience where we will rent a car and practice living abroad for one month in the Tenerife located in the Canary Islands of Spain.

With the excitement of this trip comes some uncertainty as we cannot fully comprehend whether or not we will need an International Driving Permit (IDP) for this journey. An International Driving Permit is listed as necessary for U.S. drivers who will be driving in 150 out of the 195 countries worldwide. Many of the countries that seem to require this are in Europe, including Spain.

Since conflicting information exists, we decided to go ahead and secure two IDPs, one for me and one for my husband, to avoid any potential issues while there. It was a super simple process to secure the IDPs:

  • Have ready passport photos for both drivers
  • Head to your local AAA (you do not need to be a member of AAA)
  • Both drivers do not need to be present to receive IDPs and you can mail in your application (I was able to secure my husband’s IDP for him after he signed the back of his passport photos)
  • Instantly, and after paying $20 per IDP, AAA can print the IDPs there in their office and they are valid for one year of any international driving

We aren’t sure yet if our particular rental car company in Tenerife will require IDPs for international driving, but we decided not to risk it and to obtain them. Have you driven internationally before? Did the rental car company that you worked with require them? It seems to depend on the company.

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