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You’re Traveling Overseas; Should You Get An International Driving Permit?

Hiring a rental car when traveling overseas is sometimes a better option than relying on public transportations. You’re in a non-English speaking country and you don't understand all the signs at the train and bus stations—what do you do?

There are perks to driving your own rental car when on a holiday. You will be saving money because you need not take cabs from one destination to another. You can save time because you don't have to wait for the public transportation. It’s also easier to go around and be flexible with your itinerary because you won’t be bound to a train or bus schedule—imagine all those time wasted waiting for the train to arrive and how much better that time would have been spent!

So if you’re thinking of booking a rental car for your upcoming travel, keep in mind that you might have to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP) before anything else.

Basically, an IDP is an accompanying document to your valid driver’s license. The IDP contains multiple translations of the basic items covered by a regular driver’s license, which makes it easier for non-English speaking countries to understand your document if the need arises.


Images by Leslee


Not all countries require an IDP when you’re hiring a car, especially since the Philippine driver’s license is in English. But some countries have stricter regulations and would require all international drivers to carry an IDP.

In Czech Republic, an international driver may be fined if s/he is caught driving without an IDP and in Japan, you could even be arrested or deported if you don’t have the necessary paperwork. Countries in Europe also generally require an IDP unless you have a driver’s license that’s issued by a European Union member.

This is why it’s safer to just apply for and carry around an IDP if you’re planning to travel constantly. And it’s easier to keep track of your IDP’s validity as well since its expiry follows your driver’s license’s expiry date.

So the next time you’re going to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to renew, might as well add that to your to-do list.

The IDP is applied for and issued by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), and not the LTO. Applicants are required to bring an original and photocopy of their driver’s license, two pieces of 2x2 ID picture, and a fee of P3,500.