8 Tips For Getting International Driver’s License

Is Getting An IDP Difficult?

Getting an IDP — a real one — is easy. Only certain organizations are authorized to sell the International Driving Permit. In most countries, the authorized seller is the national automobile association. In the United States, that would be AAA, and in Canada it’s CAA. You do not have to be a member of the automobile association to apply for an IDP. You can just pop in and take care of things in a very short amount of time, with no appointment necessary.

Sometimes, very “official” looking organizations advertise that they sell international driving documents. But unless it’s the AAA or CAA, you’re not getting the real thing. You cannot apply for an IDP from a travel agent, a tour operator, an airline ticket vendor, or an international chain hotel.

Note that you must be at least 18 years old to apply, and you must have a full driver’s license, not a learner’s permit. However, you can receive an IDP if you only have a temporary license (as in, you are a fully permitted driver but your permanent documents are in transit.)

What Is The Application Process Like?

Overall, it’s relatively straightforward. You need to visit your local AAA or CAA office and bring in your driver’s license plus a copy of your driver’s license (front and back). Most offices can also make photocopies for you on-site.

You also need two passport-style photos, which you must sign on the back. They can be either black and white or color, but they must be less than a year old. Since North America’s authorized IDP vendors are automobile associations who issue passport photos as part of their services, getting photos done is easy. You can do so on site for a modest fee. Finally, with photocopies and photos in hand, you have to fill out a short application form.

If you apply in person, you only have to wait 30 minutes or so, depending on how busy the location is. If you’re short on time, try to avoid the lunch hour, when most offices are low on staff but high on patrons.

You can also send in your IDP application by mail if going in person isn’t possible. If you do so, note that it generally takes less than a week to process the application and mail out your new permit. In case you recently moved and the address on your driver’s license doesn’t match your new home address, include a note to clarify this. While it’s not necessary, it doesn’t hurt to call or email the AAA or CAA office to let them know your application is coming.

How Much Does An IDP Cost?

IDPs have the distinction of being one of the most affordable kinds of travel documents. Prices are set in each country, and the cost is $20 American or $25 Canadian. Again, you might need to pay a bit more if your local AAA or CAA office is also taking your photo.

How Long Is It Valid?

IDPs are good for one year or until your regular driver’s license expires, whichever comes first. In other words, unless you need one urgently, don’t apply when your driver’s license is just months away from expiring.

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IMG Says 71% of U.S. International Travelers Are Planning to Travel Abroad in 2021

– IMG’s Future of Travel Survey collected responses from their U.S. members with past international travel experience (42% of respondents reported 3+ international trips per year)

– Survey results reveal travel insights such as willingness to travel internationally, importance of safety precautions, and motivating factors to travel again

INDIANAPOLIS, April 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — International Medical Group® (IMG®), an industry-leading international medical insurance, global assistance, and travel insurance company, released results from its Future of Travel Survey, which gauged U.S. members’ (past international travelers) overall willingness to travel internationally in 2021 as well as their opinions on the importance of safety precautions.  Among several key takeaways and future travel trends, the survey revealed increased confidence towards travel, reporting that 71% plan on traveling internationally in 2021.

“With vaccines becoming more readily available and cities, countries, and businesses continuing to reopen, people are beginning to take their anxiously awaited leisure getaways and planning for even more travel later this year,” said IMG’s Chief Commercial Officer, Amanda Winkle. “The pent-up desire to travel combined with the success of the U.S. vaccination rollout is driving increased booking behavior and IMG is prepared to protect our members’ trip investments and health as they embark on their long-awaited trips.” 

Future of Travel Survey Findings
Travelers are booking their first international and domestic trips of 2021

  • Of the 71% of respondents planning to travel internationally in 2021, 49% plan to embark on their first trip abroad before September:
    • Spring of 2021 – 13%
    • Summer of 2021 – 36%
    • Fall of 2021 – 32%
    • Winter of 2021 – 14%
  • 88% of respondents are planning to travel domestically this year
    • 44% are planning on taking 3+ domestic trips

COVID-19 vaccine rollout is key motivating factor to jump-start international travel

  • As we pass the one-year anniversary of the global pandemic, 86% of respondents said COVID-19 affected their willingness to travel
    • 57% said COVID-19 had a major effect on their willingness to travel
  • According to respondents, key motivating factors that will drive travel include:
    • Receiving the vaccine (69%)
    • Flexible cancellation policies (64%)
    • Low fares (57%)
  • The majority of respondents (59%) said they are more likely to travel to destinations that require a COVID-19 vaccine

As international and domestic travel resumes, safety precautions will be top of mind for travelers

  • Survey respondents ranked the precautions below based on importance to them regarding their own safety:
         1.  Required masks
         2.  Required proof of COVID-19 vaccine
         3.  Social distancing
         4.  Required proof of negative COVID-19 test
         5.  Capacity limits
         6.  Extra cleaning measures
         7.  Touchless travel
         8.  Temperature screenings
         9.  Required quarantine period

Travel insurance will be a hot commodity as travel bookings increase

  • 52% of respondents said they are more likely to purchase a travel protection or travel medical insurance plan for their next trip

“For years now, travel medical insurance has been a must-have for international travelers to protect themselves from unexpected accidents or illnesses. The events of the past year have further shown the importance of having proper coverage when away from home,” said Winkle. “Now, as travelers begin taking and booking their first trips since the pandemic, travel protection plans should absolutely be a consideration; not only to insure nonrefundable trip costs should their ability to travel change prior to departing for their trip, but also for protection against events that could cause trip interruption.”

Travelers can learn more about IMG’s travel medical insurance and travel protection plans at www.imglobal.com.

About International Medical Group® (IMG®):
Since 1990, International Medical Group, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A., has provided global insurance benefits and assistance services to millions of members in almost every country. We are committed to being there for our members to provide them with Global Peace of Mind®. Our full-service approach includes 24/7 worldwide assistance, medical management services, and highly trained, multilingual customer service professionals. IMG delivers the insurance products and assistance services members need, backed by the services they want. IMG’s global family of companies includes AkesoCare Management®, Global Response Ltd., and ALC Health.

SOURCE International Medical Group (IMG)

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Tahiti To Reopen To International Travel in May

Tahiti will reopen to international visitors on May 1, French Polynesian president Edouard Fritch announced during a press conference on Wednesday.

The popular South Pacific destination reopened amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic last summer but temporarily closed to tourists in February to slow the spread of the virus.


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“We are going to put in place a protocol at the entry of our borders using virological testing, serological testing, vaccine and ETIS (Electronic Travel Information System),” said Fritch. “We will explain this protocol in detail with the High Commissioner in the coming days.”

Currently, only travelers who can justify one of the compelling reasons described on the website of the High Commission such as health, professional, family and return home are authorized to visit. For those who qualify, travelers aged 11 and up flying to the destination will need proof of a negative RT-PCR test result produced within three days of departure and a receipt of the health registration from ETIS as well as a certificate of derogatory travel and completed and signed sworn statement to abide by sanitary regulations.

This week’s news comes on the heels of French Polynesia being certified as a Safe Travels destination by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Tahiti Tourisme CEO Jean-Marc Mocellin called the recognition “an additional asset for the destination, which has distinguished itself with its avant-garde health protocol,” via Travel Weekly.

“It also allows us to promote our tourism providers who have been totally involved in this process from the start of this crisis,” he added.

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How To Get The Most Value Out of International Travel

Many Americans are hesitant to travel internationally because they believe that it is too expensive. This, however, is not exactly the case, as there are proven ways to maximize the value of an international vacation.

Dia Adams, Travel Rewards & Credit Card Expert of Forbes Advisor and Susie Chau, Owner of Carpe Diem Traveler, lend their insight into how to get the best value for your vacation.


Adams, as a financial expert, tends to look at miles and points accrued from credit cards and loyalty programs to inform how she will be traveling. She isn’t as worried about a particular location or date of travel, either.

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“Destination choice is key. Think about the “what” you want to accomplish (beach, city, culture, nature, etc.) rather than the “where” (Ocean City, New York, Paris, Yellowstone), especially if you are constrained by dates,” she said. “Think about it: after a while, a beach is a beach. Why pay high season prices for a rental within driving distance when you could fly, especially if you’ve built up a stash of miles over the last year, and pay 75% less for your lodging?”

“For instance: one of my favorite destinations is the Canary Islands, which are just off the coast of Africa. That sounds exotic, but they’re basically Europe’s Florida and you can get there using a budget airline from most European cities,” she continues. “Twice I’ve found air tickets on miles to Madrid, found a cheap flight to the Canaries and rented a 2-bedroom beach condo inside a resort for around $500/week. One trip was the week before Easter, another was 4th of July week. Even paying cash for the tickets, which you can find for $500 or less if you watch fare sales, for a family of four, you’ll be ahead of what you pay for a beach condo in New Jersey on 4th of July week.”

Finding the best deal takes time, of course, and an adaptable mindset. Don’t focus too much on a specific hotel, airline, flight route or even destination if the budget isn’t flexible. One of the best resources for getting the best value out of any vacation is to use a travel advisor, who can help you choose and stick to your budget, especially if you don’t have rewards points saved up.

Susie Chau explains, “The bigger thing is helping clients, from a knowledge standpoint, spend their money wisely… Most people just go and ask family and friends for recommendations, but they may not be anything like those people, so advisors can really help guide people to maximize the dollars that they are spending in the right places that make the most sense and give them the most value and bang for their buck.”

Chau believes the best time to travel internationally will be in one or two years, and to book for those trips now to get the best value.

“The general story that’s stuck in everybody’s mind right now is that there’s all these deals available…but now those are very, very much slipping away, as travel demand is surging and there isn’t as much supply. And we as travel advisors understand the huge hit the supply side of things has had last year, and travel hasn’t caught up yet with the demand, especially in the past couple of weeks will all the positive news of vaccinations, etc.”

The window is closing on availability and many prices are beginning to rise as demand rises. This may be the best time to book travel further out into the future because many companies are still allowing free cancellations or waiving change fees for travel booked now.

“Patience and flexibility are key right now,” Chau said. “The budget is number one, and if people expect a good deal, they have to be flexible on dates, locations, etc.”

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British PM Johnson outlines May 17 for possible return to international travel

Breaking: British PM Johnson outlines May 17 for possible return to international travel

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Donna Stein: The American curator who assembled a treasure trove of international art now gathering dust in Tehran