Getting an International Driving Permit (IDP) at AAA was Very Quick & Easy

Good afternoon everyone.  I will be in Tahiti & Moorea in a few months and booked a rental car for my trip.  After I booked the rental car, I decided to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) from AAA (Automobile Association of America).  I was worried the process was going to be similar to a trip to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), but I am happy to say that the process was 100x more pleasant.

According to the AAA website, “Your IDP is a valid form of identification in 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information. It translates your identification information into 10 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Most countries highly recommend an International Driving Permit.”  In addition, “Many countries require an IDP to drive legally. Fines for driving without an IDP can be quite costly. Check countries requirements before travel. ”  For $20, the IDP seemed like a no brainer (the cost is $20 whether you are a AAA member or not).  Here is how to get your IDP quickly and easily from AAA.

Image source: https://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.html

  1. Print and fill out the IDP application (click here).
  2. Bring your valid US driver’s license to your AAA branch (branch locator here).
  3. Bring 2 passport photos – if you do not have them, the AAA branch can take the photos for you.  If you are a AAA member, the photos are free.  If you are not a AAA member, there is a small charge for the passport photos.
  4. Pay $20 fee (credit cards are accepted – I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card since it might count as a 3x travel provider).
  5. Sign the last page of your IDP and you are all set (the AAA agent will fill out the IDP for you).

Image source: https://idl-services.com/internationaldrivingpermit/

The AAA agent put the first date of my Tahiti trip on the front cover of the IDP.  The IDP is valid for 12 months from the date listed on the cover.  If I had more international trips planned after that date, I could use the same IDP for those trips.  All in all, this was a very easy process and won’t hesitate to get another IDP in the future after my current IDP expires.

What has been your experience with the IDP?  If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

22 thoughts on “Getting an International Driving Permit (IDP) at AAA was Very Quick & Easy

  1. Tim

    Thank you Grant. Last summer I was denied a rental car I had reserved from Sixt in Crete because I didnt have an IDP. I really think Sixt had just ran out of cars because it was almost midnight when my flight arrived. Sixt denied me but Hertz, in the adjacent booth, happily rented to me and never asked for an IDP. With plans to return to Crete this summer an IDP was on my radar. This helps alot!

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Very interesting. I was in Crete last summer, but didn’t rent a car. I stayed at the Radisson Blu Milatos. What part of Crete did you visit last year and planning to visit this year?

      Reply
      1. Tim

        Yes, I recall your posts on Crete last year. You went shortly before we went to Crete. Stayed at Domes Noruz Chania last summer and will stay at Domes Elounda this summer. This will be our third summer in a row to include Greece on a Euro trip. My wife and I love Greece.

        Reply
        1. Grant Post author

          Ahh, I see. Marriott Autograph Collection properties. How much were the nightly points rates? I can’t see rates on Marriott’s website right now…

          Reply
          1. Tim

            45K per night for this summer and 5th night free. I booked quite some time ago. I dont recall last summer’s rate but I beleive it was comparable.

  2. Mike Saint

    Funny as I got an International Driver’s License about 15 years ago. I still have it as there was no expiration date in the book. I still carry it in my passport case but have never been asked to see one in all my travels. But like you Grant, it was very painless and quick to get it.

    Reply
  3. Alex

    I drove in Moorea (last minute decision …. had to pay extra for automatic too lol.)

    Didn’t have an Intl driving license though…

    But it’s a great idea to drive!! Love Moorea it’s beaitiful … where are you staying?

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Yes, I reserved an automatic car, it was pretty expensive. I’m staying st the InterContinental Moorea for a few days. Where did you stay in Moorea?

      Reply
      1. alex

        we stayed at Sofitel — it was amazing. We had splurged and done the overwater bungalows.

        We also loved ATV riding — breathtaking and beautiful island.

        So happy for you ! have a great time!

        Reply
          1. Grant Post author

            We splurged for an over water bungalow at the InterContinental Moorea. We are really looking forward to our stay. We will do some snorkeling and ATVing :)

  4. Dimi

    Yes, I’ve had a similar painless experience obtaining my IDP quite a few times for my European travels. BTW, if you are not a Premium AAA member or not a member at all and have to pay for your pictures, you can easily do it for free. This is what I did last month. I downloaded Passport Booth app on my phone, took my pictures in front of white background and printed them out at Sam’s Club for $0.19 (you can use any pharmacy, Walmart etc). It came out as one 4×6 which contained two needed 2×2 pictures. And yes, I agree that in 99% of the times the IDP is a waste of time and money but I’ve read about some cases when cops in Italy, Austria or Portugal asked for it, so I still obtain it for the sake of a good night sleep so to say.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Those are great tips regarding the photos. The last time I applied for a travel visa, I went to Walgreens to get the photos taken and printed. Definitely more than 19 cents a photo. Piece of mind is always welcome, especially while traveling or driving in a foreign country. Safe travels!

      Reply
  5. Erin

    So how long did it take for you to get the real card? If I go there in person to apply for it, how long does it take? Is it going to be a few days or I could just get it right away, see 1-2 hours, while I am there?

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      What real card are you referring to? The physical AAA card or the physical International Drivers Permit (IDP)? The IDP was given to me in person while I was in the AAA branch location.

      Reply

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