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Auto Club Reminds International Travelers: Don't Forget IDP

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As travelers get ready for their spring break and summer vacation trips abroad, they shouldn’t forget an important document they may need: an International Driving Permit (IDP). Automobile Club of Southern California branches are the only locations in the Southland where travelers can obtain valid IDPs in person on the same day, and the service is available to both AAA members and non-members.


An IDP is a translation of a motorist’s valid U.S. driver’s license into 10 foreign languages, and it is accepted in more than 150 countries outside the U.S.

Many popular travel destinations like Greece and Japan, for example, do not recognize the U.S. driver’s license, but do accept an IDP.  Other countries, like Spain and Italy, recognize the U.S. driver’s license, but only in conjunction with a translation from the specific country, which is what the IDP provides.

 “When traveling overseas in a country where English is not the primary language, you want to carry an International Driving Permit, even if you’re not planning to drive,” said Pamela Shepherd, the Auto Club’s vice president for branch operations.  “Should you need to communicate with foreign authorities, this recognizable form of identification will help get you on your way faster.  We’re pleased to provide these documents on the same day in our branches to make travel easier for people.”

International Driving Permits are available immediately at Auto Club branches and cost $15.  To purchase them, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid U.S. driver’s license
  • Have 2 passport-size photos (photos services are available at Auto Club branches)
  • Sign an IDP application (also available at branches)

The IDP can be used for one year from issue date and must be accompanied by a valid U.S. driver’s license at all times.  International Driving Permits can not be issued more than six months in advance of the desired effective date, and they are not accepted by American law enforcement as a substitute for a valid driver’s license.  

For more information, visit any Auto Club branch or


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The Automobile Club of Southern California is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.