You Might Need An International Driver’s Permit For Overseas Road Trips

You Might Need An International Driver’s Permit For Overseas Road Trips

Road trips are a fun travel option, but if you’re road tripping overseas, you want to be prepared. Some countries actually require an international permit.

Photo by Jay Bergensen

While there are countries that will let you drive with your Australian licence, Travel + Leisure points out that some areas require an International Driving Permit. It’s a $39 document that translates your licence into 10 languages, making it easier to rent a vehicle. According to the Smarttraveller, you have to obtain your permit from a member of the Australian Automobile Association (a list can be found on their website):

Many countries require Australians to have an international driving permit (IDP) in addition to a valid Australian driving licence to legally drive a car, or ride a motorbike. An IDP is a widely recognised document that can be issued by associated members of the Australian Automobile Association (AAA).

The document is valid for about a year, and the NRMA states that you must have both your international permit and your Australian licence with you when driving overseas. So which countries require (or at least recommend) it? There are about 90, according to RACV. Some of them include the US, Iceland and Japan. There are different stipulations depending on the country, though.

Your best bet is to check the driving requirements of your destination if you plan on driving, but you can see a full list of countries here.


  • I’m not saying it’s wrong, and I’m not saying you should follow my lead, but I’ve hired cars in quite a few countries [1] and have never been asked by a hire car company for anything other than my Australian licence.

    I used to get an International Driving Permit, but was never asked for it, so stopped paying through the nose for it (Unless things have drastically changed for what you get, $39 is a rip off).

    [1] UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, UAE, Oman, Singapore, Malaysia.

    • That’s my experience too. I have hired many cars in Europe and they are only interested in my Australian driver’s licence. Same with Hawaii.

  • International drivers permit is very important. There have been cases where travel insurance and car rental company’s denial claims because the driver did not have an international drivers permit. While the majority of rental car company’s will never ask for it, I always get one before going oversea’s to avoid any problems. Better to play is safe than sorry.

  • Travelled Europe in Jan 2015 and Aug 2016 for 3 months each, driving in a lot of different cities. While I’d agree mostly it’s not needed (first trip was never asked for it), I was asked for it when hiring a car in Germany in 2016 trip. For the sake of the $40 you might as well just do it.

    When I got mine from RAA (in South Aus) I asked the staff member if it was truly needed and she replied saying along the lines “The only time you might need it, is if something goes wrong”.
    She implied if you’re in a car accident or pulled over by police is when it would have most value.

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