Do I need an International Driving Permit?

International Driving Permit – Required, or Rip-Off?


There’s a lot of confusion around this topic, with many travellers insisting an International Driving Permit is a waste of money. They’ve never been asked to produce an IDP when hiring a car overseas, so why bother?

True, I’ve never been asked either, but the conclusion is risky. An IDP is a translation of your state-issued licence into several foreign languages. It establishes you as a legitimate licence holder to a police officer in Chile or Greece.

While you might think than in any country where English is the main language there is no requirement for an IDP that’s not so.

An IDP is recommended for anyone intending to get behind the wheel in Canada and the USA according to the RACV and the NRMA.

Even so, if you drive without an IDP you’ll most likely get away with it. The problem comes if you’re stopped by police, or caught up in an accident.

Without an IDP, the law and your travel insurer might regard you as an unlicensed driver, and that won’t be a happy story.

IDPs are issued by the various state motoring organisations at a cost of around $39, valid for one year provided your Australian licence is also valid during that period.

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