Sometimes referred to as an IDL or IDP (International Driver's Permit), an International Driver's License is a translation of important information from your Canadian driver's license into several different languages. IDLs are available in a number of languages, including German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. This form of identification is not a stand alone document; it is only valid if it is presented with your primary license. An IDP is extremely helpful if you happen to get pulled over for a traffic violation or need to communicate with foreign authorities for any reason.
If you plan to be in the driver's seat of a motor vehicle at any time while you're traveling in a country where the primary language is not your own, it is recommended that you get an International Driving Permit. Besides potential fines for not having one should you come in contact with local authorities, another excellent reason to be sure that you are in possession of an IDP is that without it, some car rental suppliers will not let you pick up your rental car, putting a quick halt on your travel plans before they've even begun.
While it is always a good idea to obtain an IDL before driving overseas, there are some countries in Europe that legally require you to carry the document. Here's a list of countries that require an International Driver's License:
There are only two places that are authorized to sell official International Drivers Permits, CAA and the National Automobile Club. An IDP is incredibly helpful while traveling abroad, as it confirms your identity in the event that you have to speak with a person of authority who is not fluent in English, and you can also use it as identification if you are purchasing something with a credit card. Some countries require all international drivers to carry and IDP and you could be fined if you are caught driving without one. These documents are around $20 and are well worth the investment.
Other Helpful Resources for Driving in Europe