Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Retirement Planning Italy - International Driving Permit

A few months back I posted a bit about our plans for a trip to visit Guardia Sanframondi, a smallish (about 5000 people) hill town in Campania. There's no easy way to get to Guardia. The nearest town that has train service is Telese Terme - not a bad choice (and the owner of the B&B where we'll be staying does seem willing to come and get her clients) but we wanted to have a little freedom to travel the country side and maybe even drop by some of our favorite spots in and around Napoli. So we'll be renting a car and that means driving. In Italy.

So, in the event you to decide to embark on such a perilous endeavor ...

The International Driving Permit

This was pretty much the easiest part of preparing for our visit to Guardia Sanframondi. All I did was fill out and print the online form, find my local AAA office (conveniently located adjacent to one of the better Indian restaurants in Philly) and head down with my driver's license.

The fee for the permit is $15.00. You need two passport type photos which you can probably get at the AAA office. They were $11.99 at the office I used.  Total cost including tax was $27.71. You can apply by mail as well but delivery can take 4-6 weeks according to the AAA website.

The IDP is not a driver's license.  It's a permit that in conjunction with your current state license (and passport) allows you to drive in counties that are signatories to the United Nations Convention on International Road Traffic of 19 September 1949.

One Quick Car Rental Note

As I browsed the various rental cars on offer through sites like Orbitz and Expedia, I learned the first important EU rental car lesson:

Know how to drive a manual transmission car

Except for the largest and most expensive vehicles, they're all manuals. If no one in your travel party can handle a stick, you're going to literally "pay the price".

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