Recently, I spent my summer holidays at the Amalfi coast in the South of Italy. Mellow breeze from the azure sea caressed my hair as I stood in awe of the setting sun against the tall standing ancient hillocks. Terraced gardens laden with lemon trees grew in abundance at the coast, unlike any other coastline I have seen. Despite tourists flocking in astounding numbers, quiet villages were busy preparing for the fishing voyages at the crack of dawn, as they have been doing for millenia!

Needless to add, Amalfi is a beautiful coastline by the side of the Tyrrhenian sea, one of the greatest destinations of the Mediterranean region in Europe . Driving through the massive coastline is one of the best ways to explore this region unless you are selling on a yacht.

Amalfi has been conferred with the honour of being a UNESCO world heritage destination. It features some of the most scenic routes of the world along with beautiful hamlets. In Amalfi, I felt the pressing need of a car to explore the destination in style and freedom of movement. The paved routes are a delight to drive on. The coastline is long and well connected through tunnels and bridges running through the monoliths. Moreover, there are some beautiful vintage cars you could get your hands on! 

Renting a car gives you the flexibility to explore Amalfi with enough time and peace. You can stop anywhere at any lookout point, engage with a local where tourists usually do not flock to, get to the bottom of a grotto, hike up to the top of the nameless hill to catch the epic sunset. A car frees you and gives you the gift of the time! 

While exploring Amalfi I realised renting a car would be a brilliant idea. You have a wide array of cute vintage cars in bright colours to choose from to drive the hills of Amalfi coast. The rental companies have some of the high end modern European vehicles to choose from too! The only deterrent in the plan was producing a drivers licence.

I have a driver’s licence from both India and the US (as I reside in the US these days), however, it was in English . Travelling in many European countries, especially in Italy, requires you to be able to communicate in the local language and produce documents in the local language. This is the case as you drift further away from the big cities like Rome and Milan and the likes. 

I looked up for more information to produce support documents with the existing DL to avoid hassle. I found an option to apply for an international driving permit ( available online. This is a document which acts as a supplementary to my existing English driving licence printed in English. Thus, while conversing with locals in the remote parts of Italy can be a bit of a challenge and procure a car for rental, I could produce the document in Italian that took care of the official paperwork and made the entire experience smooth and fast! 

The international driving permit acts as a translation document to my existing drivers licence which is not printed in the local language of the country. I must tell you, it is not a legal document. Neither does it act as a Driving licence. However, it is immensely helpful in certain countries to be able to rent a car or to get insurance. Producing an International Driving Permit helps you to get rid of the hassle of dealing with official paperwork if the original DL is not in English and the destination country does not have English as official language. 

IDP can be availed in both digital and printed versions priced at USD 49 and 69 respectively along with shipping fees.

It’s rather easy to procure an IDP to get the digital copy. All you need to do is to submit a valid driving licence, scan its front and back copy. Please don’t forget to upload a passport style photo. Providing a signature  along with these documents helps to get the IDP faster. The digital copy is delivered to your inbox within a couple of hours. Hence, if you are like me, making a sudden plan at a new destination, and looking for an easy way to rent a car with an International Driving Licence, this document will help you go the extra mile! The printed IDP, which I highly recommend you to carry along, will arrive within 5 to 20 days.

An International driving Permit is not an essential travel document. Although, after the Italian summer vacation, I swear by it as a must carry document. In case you are travelling to a country that speaks and understands English and your DL is in English, you may not have to carry it. However the fun of travel lies in exploring the remote, the unknown! 

IDP is accepted as a supplementary document to DLs published in local languages in destinations like Bali, Portugal, Japan, Costa Rica, and many other digital nomad hotspots beyond the US and Europe. The validity of IDP can be up to 3 years however your existing DL must be valid till that time or beyond! 

It took me only 8 minutes to apply for the IDP. For clearing doubts regarding country specific traffic rules, I could chat with the helpline immediately. That afternoon, I boarded my red vintage Fiat and drove across the scenic routes along the quaint villages of Atrani and Ravello. I had the car for next several days and headed to the interiors of Sicilian vastness. 

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