Driving in Italy and Other Crazy Ideas

My mom always said that all good things must come to an end. Well, the end happened with the planning of my latest trip.

I have never had to drive internationally. Uber, trains, taxis…they provided everything I needed. But Italy was too spread out and too random to make it work. Now the funny thing is that I hear that parking is at a premium in Italy, so you would think that would be the best place for public transport.

After doing a bit of internet research, I learned that there is no such thing as an International Driver’s License, but rather it is an International Driver’s Permit .  There are two places to secure one in the US.  My nephew and I both applied.  It didn’t take long for our mail order license to appear…no studying required!

So our rental car, a Fiat, was reserved, and all was well.  Then a friend who had just visited Italy mentioned that regular size luggage for 3 might not fit in our Fiat.  She recommended that we take carry-on size luggage as our main bags. Oh dear!

I envision myself running around Europe in the same outfit and smelling bad.   I may earn us all the phrase “stinky American” rather than “ugly American.”  How can I tell what photo was taken when if I have on the same thing every other day?

A spare bedroom was crammed with items I planned to take on my travels.  A third of what I planned to take is now in a small bag, and the rest is waiting to be put back where it goes elsewhere in the house!

My next worry is how to read the traffic signs in Italy.  My nephew plans to watch a video that his friend watched and did just fine with his international driving.  I have a cheat sheet from a Rick Steves’ book.  Maybe together we can make it.   When another friend heard of my driving concerns, she suggested that packing was the least of my worries!

Bonus Information:  The two places to apply for an International Driver’s Permit are AAA and the American Automobile Touring Alliance.  The application is available online.  Add payment, mail it all in and voilà, soon a permit will appear in your mailbox.



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