Getting an International Driving Permit (IDP)
*NOTE: These steps are for USA IDP’s only. If you live outside of the U.S., your requirements will probably be different.
So today I went on down to AAA for my International Driving Permit! My placement in Japan is a driving one so my company gave us instructions for it. You need (1) 2 passport sized photos (signed on the back); (2) the application form which you can find on their website here; (3) a valid United States drivers license; and (4) it cost me $15.
There’s no test, you just need an actual driver’s license from your home state. It was honestly the easiest, fastest process ever. If you’ve ever gone to a DMV you know you can sit there for hours and hours while it seemed AAA was on top of it!
All you do is take these materials to your closest AAA branch office (I’m pretty sure they all do it) and sit down with one of their travel agents. In and out in 15 minutes if there’s not a long line. Even if you don’t have photos or the application, some offices take passport photos for you (for an extra fee) and they always have the application there for you as well. Apparently I was the only person she’d seen with all of the steps done already!
A lot of travel agencies recommend getting an IDP as a form of identification before you go traveling. It is translated into 10 languages other than English and is valid in over 150 countries currently. This is helpful if you have to identify yourself to or need help from police in non-English speaking countries, as at least they know who you are and that you are American. Also, even if some countries don’t require an IDP to drive, some rental car companies require an IDP to rent from them so make sure to always do your homework!
So now I’m one step closer to leaving for Japan! All the little pieces are coming together and I’m so very excited to begin this wonderful adventure! I picked up an awesome “travel” journal today (really just a pretty hardbound notebook) to document everything I do and learn on the spot and hopefully I’ll then be able to put it up here.
Have a fantastic February all! Go for those dreams!