In case this helps anyone. AAA ended up being a blessing for me. Check them out (I guess I forgot about them). I joined for a little over $100. I got a free International Drivers' License when I joined. They handled insurance for trip cancellation, delays, injury, illness, etc. Very professional and extremely helpful. I also purchased all my Euros through them. One stop shopping!
I’m glad you found a resource that you felt gave you good value. Thanks for sharing.
I can’t use AAA because they don’t offer the service level I need. It’s a matter of what’s most important to you.
If you’re trailering horses, as I have done for years, and you break down, they will literally leave your horse(s) and trailer by the side of the road. If you’re trailering anything, I recommend US Rider. When you call for assistance, the first thing they ask is if you are trailering horses. They will transport your horse(s) to a vet or boarding facility. I sure this is unique to the horse community, and probably to the boating community, and very important to us.
I agree! I get Euros there, as well as last minute travel items. They have some excellent travel planners. I also like their USA guidebooks/maps - because even with apps, sometimes you have to stare at/write on paper.
Just one note from our experience. We booked our Hertz car rental through AAA. When we had to change our Hertz drop-off location at the last minute because of a ferry cancellation, I called Hertz frantically and they said I would have to speak to the AAA office where I booked the rental. Well, it was 6 AM in the USA at that time, and we had to race to the other ferry destination!
Luckily at the ferry terminal (Cherbourg) there's a red phone to call car rental companies and a secure drop box for your keys and contract. You leave the car in the parking lot at the terminal instead of having to find the Hertz location. But we didn't know that until we arrived at the terminal, just in time to catch the boat.
Good to know that they do travel insurance. Last time I inquired about foreign currency, I was told that each state AAA is an independent business with different services, fees, prices and policies. So that, in my case, my state AAA office (Missouri) would have to order euro from across the stateline (Kansas AAA), and at an additional fee on top of Kansas charge. Still better than my bank's rates.
Interesting to know about horses. Since RVing has become so popular, people using them should check into special RV roadside assistance as well (like Good Sam).
Our AAA has discontinued currency purchase. It used to give the best rate of conversion.
I reported the blind link from the first time poster. Click at your own risk.
Great idea! I'll check them out. I needed to get an IDL anyways.
IMHO, IDLs are an annual waste of money. I have posted this before but will say it again. NO ONE on this forum has EVER reported a case where they had trouble in France because they DIDN'T have an IDL. Not one. Plus, most states have now adopted the international norm of numbering things on your license like name, DOB, address, etc. The one thing AAA refuses to translate is the expiration date. They have instead decided to arbitrarily make them all expire in one year (regardless of your actual license's expiration) so they can hope you fall for the same scam year after year.
Thanks for the advice Pharmer. I've heard Italy is stricter when it comes to IDL? Perhaps it varies country to country?
there is no IDL.. It is a Permit - IDP.
The law is the law. Every time somebody asks - or in this case simply mentions - an IDP there will be some who suggest to follow the law, or who are going to follow the law, and some who say the law is irrelevant and doesn't matter and should be ignored.
Thus it has always been, and thus it will always be.
I have AAA roadside assistance for my RV as well as for our regular vehicles. We don’t have our insurance through them.
Its not a product that AAA invented and decided the form and terms on its own. They're one of two entities authorized by the State Department to provide these to the public in compliance with an international agreement. If you think every police officer in the entire world reads and understands english, and recognizes the validity of 50+ states licenses, you're wrong.
Yes, I have heard from people driving in Italy that things are different there than in France, but that is for a different forum. As for others who promote this waste of money in France, people in general are apt to justify their purchases after the fact, regardless of evidence they made a bad financial decision (no one wants to have buyer's remorse). C'est la vie. I maintain what I originally said that no one has EVER posted on here reporting they had ANY difficulty whatsoever because they DIDN'T have an IDL in France. No one!
Over 50 years of traveling to Europe from Canada I have always bought an IDP. I was asked for it at the Europcar desk picking up a car in Nice in 2008. Would I have got the car without it? I don't know, but I was glad I had it.
The other reason I like to have one is when visiting a site where they offer a self guided tour with an audio player of some kind. They invariably ask for a passport or drivers license for a deposit. No way am I handing over either... but they can certainly hold on to my IDP.
As a CAA member they take my photo free so I think last time I paid 20 bucks. Considering the cost of the trip was in the 8-10,000 dollar range, it wasn't a major expense for the IDP. And it now sits in the shoe box with other ephemera from that trip!