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International drivers license in Austria?

International drivers license in Austria?

Old Mar 12th, 2004, 04:52 AM
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International drivers license in Austria?

Title says it all...do I need an international drivers license in Austria? My wife and I are visiting Vienna in mid-April, and will be doing a two day side trip through the Danube Valley. We won't be using a car in Vienna, but think we'll go back to the airport and rent one there for our excursion along the Danube. (We're going to spend a couple of days in Vienna, then do the Danube, then back to Vienna for a few more days.) We've heard that driving in Vienna itself is a chore, so we thought that renting a car in downtown Vienna would be the wrong way to go.
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 05:15 AM
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They accept California driver's license for car rental. Yes you don't need a car in Vienna though if you come from San Francisco driving in Vienna is not a problem. Nice austrian wine producers in the Krems valley area. I like the Wachau regional wine in general. Don't forget to visit the abbey in Melk. Have a great time.
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 05:16 AM
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You probably won't need an international driver's permit, but it's always advisable to get one. It only costs $10 at AAA.

In addition, you should make sure that you get a CARNET for the car. If you rent in Austria, the rental company should already have purchased it. It's a sticker on the windshield and it allows you to drive on the autobahns.
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 05:24 AM
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It's advisable to get one because if you have an accident, as I did, the police find it much easier to look at the int'l license (since they know where the data they're interested in is located on the IDL, but they have to search on your local license). If you have home insurance, and car insurance, it's worthwhile gettting IDL insurance.
Last summer, we drove north side on Danube in one day, then back to Vienna the next on the south side. Nice trip. I also recommend the Kunsthistorische Museum in Vienna very highly.
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 05:25 AM
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You need a Autobahnvignette for your car, not a Carnet!

I would get the IDL- better safe than sorry and it's cheap.
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 05:31 AM
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Actually a carnet would come in handy if your car runs away and you have to catch it.
(Sorry, it's Friday and I couldn't resist)

I agree that spending $10 for an international driver's permit is a great idea. You may not NEED car insurance either if you don't have an accident, but don't you feel better having it?
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 05:31 AM
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Sorry, meant to say "vignette", but wrote "carnet"
Too early in the morning
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 05:35 AM
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You know, come to think of it, Austria is one of those countries where you have to get the International Driver's License, not an option as in some other countries.
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 05:39 AM
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I always wonder why don't they use the term zeichen instead of vignette sounds so French like carnet? No wonder the other poster got it mixed up.
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 05:42 AM
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It's news to me Easytraveller. I rented a car in Innsbruck & in Vienna using my California license within the last two years and no one said a thing.
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 05:50 AM
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Hallo,
don't go back to the airport to rent a car. It's far more convenient to pick up the car downtown. The airport is in the southeast of Vienna, and Wachau / Danube valley you want to go to is in the northwest!
 
Old Mar 12th, 2004, 05:51 AM
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It's not the car rental agencies who care, it's the police.

The International Drivers PERMIT (not license) is basically translation of your US license, it's not a legal document itself. If you have to deal with a traffic violaiton or accident, a translation document will certainly help make the experience less dreadful, even if it's not technically required.
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 06:03 AM
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Well, DAX, you had me running to the internet for more information. Not that the internet is an ultimate authority, but here's what one website has to say:

"Austria, Germany, and Switzerland also require an International Driver's Permit...but car rental agents rarely ask to see it. If, however, you should have a traffic accident or an encounter with the law, it would be desirable to have one."

http://www.german-way.com/german/driving.html

Remind me not to discuss driving anywhere but in California this early in the morning. My recollection of driving in Europe is a jumble of getting all kinds of permits at almost every single border station (Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, etc.), of narrow, winding roads that date back to the Romans, and of forever meeting that town "Umleitung" - lo!
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 07:31 AM
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I just wanted to thank everyone for their replies...this was the first time I tried this and it was very cool. I very much appreciate the suggestions.

DAX: I am huge wine fan, have visited wineries (repeatedly!) throughout CA, Oregon, etc. Do you have any tips on how to know if a winery has a tasting room, like in CA? When I was in Tuscany a few years back, it was hard to be sure, and I didn't want to just drop in and say 'hey y'all, let's pour some wine!' BTW, I lived in the Bay Area for 30+ years, so if driving in Vienna is no worse than SF, than it'll be a snap!

tomboy: Thanks for the recommendation on the Kunsthistoriche Museum.

viennese: Thanks for recommending we get the car downtown. I'll try to find a listing for an agency near our hotel (my wife's handling that end, I can only recall part of the name, something Katerina I think).
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 07:41 AM
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Hallo,
for the winetasting (Weinverkostung), perhaps you would like to habe a look at htte://www.wachau and http://www.wachau.at/wachau/default.asp?id=612. You can find a lot of information incl. opening hours of various wineries.

Thank you for expressing your thanks to my posting. I am a newbie and did only a few postings so far, but you are the first to respond. Please come back if you need some advice on the car rental.
 
Old Mar 12th, 2004, 08:46 AM
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DAX - yeah, interesting about the term "vignette". The Swiss first introduced these toll decals, and since their German is very heavily influenced by French, they just used the French word. However, the 'e' on the end is pronounced in German.

Bavarians and Austrians (at least Tyroleans) of course have their own 'dialect' word for it - "Pickerl". If you ask for a Pickerl a when you want to buy a Vignette, people would be impressed!

Cheers.
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 08:54 AM
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Yes, Austria requires the IDP.

http://travel.state.gov/austria.html

Germany does not. I believe Switzerland does not either.
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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 08:56 AM
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From that website: "A U.S. driver's license alone is not sufficient to drive in Austria. The U.S. driver's license must be accompanied by an international driver's permit (obtainable in the U.S. from American Automobile Association and the American Automobile Touring Alliance) or by an official translation of the U.S. driver's license, which can be obtained at one of the Austrian automobile clubs (OAMTC or ARBO). This arrangement is only acceptable for the first six months of driving in Austria, after which all drivers must obtain an Austrian license.

Austria requires all vehicles using the autobahn to display a highway tax sticker 'Autobahn Vignette' on the inside windshield of the vehicle. The sticker may be purchased at border crossings, gas stations in Austria, as well as small 'Tabak' shops located in Austrian towns. Fines for failing to display a valid autobahn vignette on the windshield of your car are usually around $120.00."

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Old Mar 12th, 2004, 09:48 AM
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I explored this issue two years ago.
The Austrian government says an International License is mandatory for Austria. I never had to show mine, but the communication I got, and quoted on this board, was unequivocal. MANDATORY
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Old Mar 16th, 2004, 08:27 AM
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AAA is not making a fortune off $10 IDPs. If you don't like AAA, go to the American Automobile Touring Alliance which is the other agency authorized by the US gov't.
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