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2 questions re driving in Austria and Germany

(Cross-posted in the Germany forum) So we leave in less than 2 weeks for Germany, with a few days side trip into Austria (visiting son teaching near Salzburg). We're planning to rent a car. 1) Do we need to get international drivers licenses? I had one and it just expired. 2) In another topic, I noticed a mention of needing a "token" or something if you go into Austria. Can someone explain what I need and where to get it?

Thanks in advance - I know someone will answer these questions! These are great forums.

Posted by
4637 posts

Many countries of Europe require IDP (International Drivers Permit). Not sure hundred percent but I think Austria and Germany, too. It cost only $20 and you can get it at AAA. Token - I think they call it vignette is needed for you to drive on Austria freeways. Many other countries require it too. If you rent a car in Austria it comes with vignette of Austria. The same is valid for other countries. If you are coming into Austria with car rented in another country you need to buy it. Most gas stations sell it, especially those close to the border.

Posted by
6847 posts

You would need an international driver's license--available at any AAA. You'll need a couple of passport pictures, however. I've never been asked for mine, but you never want to not have it.
Austria requires any vehicle getting onto an autobahn or controlled access road to have a "vingette." It's a sticker that goes on the windshield that's actually a use tax. Some other countries have their own vignette--including Switzerland. You can pick them up at drive in markets on the border and other places.
Travel through Austria and Germany on their autobahns are quite easy. And their back roads are also easily navigated for those willing to drive a little aggressively.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks for the answers. I've driven in a number of other countries and never been asked for the international drivers license, but had one; I'll drop by AAA this week. I think I accidentally drove into Switzerland without their sticker, but got back out again quickly and without incident. But since we'll be in Austria for a few days, I'd rather do it properly.

Posted by
781 posts

The Vignette costs less than $10,buy at border gas station.

Posted by
16435 posts

I've been asked for my IDP when renting a car in Germany. Why take the chance of being stuck? It acts as a legal translation of your drivers license.

Posted by
4639 posts

You'd only be asked for the IDP by the police. Trust me, you don't want to be in that situation.

Rental agencies wouldn't typically ask to see it as it is not a document they care about.