AAA recently released the results of a survey revealing that millions of Americans are making international travel plans for the near future. In fact, one-quarter of Americans plan to take an international vacation over the next 18 months, according to the travel survey.
“More and more travelers are looking for experiential travel opportunities and seeking ways to intimately engage with their destination, whether at home or abroad,” said Paula Twidale, vice president of AAA Travel. “There are many ways to do that, especially with the great American road trip remaining a beloved vacation option, and for many, AAA has found that road trips are increasingly appealing to U.S. travelers while overseas.”
AAA’s survey also revealed that 80% of Americans have taken at least one vacation outside the U.S., and two in five of those (nearly 77 million adults) have rented or used a personal vehicle while doing so.
To that end, AAA is recommending that travelers consider obtaining an international driving permit before their next big getaway. Valid in over 150 countries and printed in 10 languages, an international driving permit (IDP) is an invaluable form of identification should travelers need to communicate with foreign authorities — even if they aren’t planning on driving.
An IDP is a legal document that translates U.S. driver’s license information into 10 foreign languages. Many countries do not recognize U.S. driver’s licenses without an accompanying IDP, and it is illegal to drive without a valid license and insurance in most places.
As international travel has gained more popularity for American holidaymakers, AAA reports a 33% increase in IDPs sold in the last five years (through 2018). An international driving vacation comes with additional planning considerations and paperwork for which travelers need to be prepared.
“Travelers can easily apply for an international driving permit with an application accessible online or in person at AAA, whether they are a member or not,” said Twidale. “The nominal $20 fee is a small price to pay for peace of mind while traveling overseas.”
Travelers can obtain an IDP at any AAA branch. All that is required is to bring a valid U.S. driver’s license, $20, and two passport-size photos that are 2 inches x 2 inches with a white background.