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Permitted to Drive- International Driving Permit

International Driving Permits: Driving Abroad

by Jessica Howell

Not so long ago, I was cruising Germany's autobahn when one of my fellow, traveling drivers (a few cars back) pulled over to the whir of flashing lights by a German policeman. Not able to speak German, er Deutsch, he frustratingly dealt with the uniformed officer before ending their dually-linguistic conversation with the policeman placing the driver's passport in his front shirt pocket and patting it securely several times. A stern look accompanied the entire act.

What gives? We're still not sure, but we do know something that may have helped: an International Driving Permit. Accepted as valid in over 150 countries, the permit contains your name, photo and driver information translated into ten languages.

Should travelers need to communicate with foreign authorities, this recognizable ID should speed up the "inquisition" process.

You can obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP), which costs $15 plus the cost of two original passport photos, by visiting an AAA office (High-resolution digital photos are accepted. Click here for details.) There, you'll be asked to fill out an application, or you can click here to fill it out prior to your visit. Simply bring in the completed application.

Note, however, that an IDP is not an accepted for driving in the United States. Says AAA, "An IDP is no substitute for a legitimate driver's license."

Bogus marketers of IDPs are out there. Always obtain an IDP through a trusted source, and not online.