I haven’t rented a car in Europe in a while, but years ago I rented a car there (while on a business trip, of course, I tagged on a couple of weeks for seeing Europe for the first time). I took all the travel essentials, and took the extra step of obtaining an international driver’s license before going.
My traveling companion made fun of me for getting an international driver’s license. He had been to Europe many times and rented cars there, and never needed an international license. Still, I am a bit paranoid, it was my first visit to Europe, and I knew I was going to be driving a lot (we drove a little rental car to 8 countries in 10 days!).
Our trip was GLORIOUS. We spent most of our time in France and Germany. We drove down to Italy’s coast, to a little town called Savona. We ate pizza and walked along the beach and stayed a night. The next day, we drove on towards the French Riviera. To get there, we had to drive through Monaco. What a beautiful place, with windy roads. We stopped at the beautiful casino/hotel (which has apparently been featured in several James Bond 007 movies) as we drove through, thinking it was such a nice place that we might stay THERE for the night. After being quoted $400 for a standard room, I hopped back into the driver’s seat. We drove on.
…And I got stopped by a cop. He came to my window and said something in French. I had been working on my French, but was so scared in that moment that I didn’t understand a word of what he said. I fumbled in my bag and pulled out my international driver’s license. He looked at it, smiled and winked at me, and motioned us to drive on. Thankfully, my visions of sitting in jail in Monaco did not come to fruition (and, thinking about it in the years since, I wondered if a jail in Monaco might have been more luxurious than the place we ended up staying that night).
Do you have a story about having (or not having) an international driver’s license?
Here’s what AAA has to say about the IDL: https://www.aaa.com/vacation/idp.html