How Old Do You Have to Be to Drive Abroad?

You may have finally got rid of the L plates in the UK and are now looking to get behind the wheel on a holiday with friends or family. Something may be standing in the way though.

Throughout the world, the legal age for driving varies and in some cases, the age for hiring a car is significantly higher than the legal driving age.

So, if you are heading abroad, use our guide to find out whether you will be able to drive once you have touched down for your holiday.

How old do you have to be to drive in Europe?

Many countries across Europe have different rules so it is always best to check whether there have been any changes before your departure. Below are the most popular destinations and their current rulings on driving.

How old do you have to be to drive in France?

France is one of the most popular European destinations for residents of the UK to visit. Not too far to get to, a great mixture of bustling cities and stunning countryside on offer, and of course the world-class cuisine.

If you want to drive in France you will need to be aged 18 or over and hold a full and valid driver’s licence. A UK licence is sufficient and an International Driving Permit is recognised but not required. Should you wish to hire a car in France though, most rental companies will require you to be aged 21 or over. You may also be presented with additional fees if you are under 25. Driving in France can be a stunning experience and driving around Paris, in particular, can be somewhat exciting, scary and memorable!

How old do you have to be to drive in Spain?

Spain, much like France is a hugely popular destination with people from the UK. The warm climate, the sandy beaches and the laid-back attitude make it a destination many love year after year. Should you wish to drive in Spain, you will need to be aged 18 or over and hold a full and valid driver’s licence. Again, like France, a UK licence will be accepted and an IDP is recognised but not required. Just be aware though that if your UK licence was issued on the Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey you may need to carry an IDP as well as your licence.

Hiring a car in Spain requires you to be 21 however certain vehicles are restricted to those over 25.

How old do you have to be to drive in Italy?

Italy, a land of passion, culture, history and pizza lures millions of visitors from around the world every year. Whatever your reason for visiting, experiencing it by car gives you the chance to find those beautiful hidden gems you may only see on postcards. Just make sure you are of legal age to be on the roads. Currently, the legal age for driving in Italy is 18 but should you wish to hire a car, you will need to be 19 years old at least.  As mentioned with France and Spain, you may be subject to additional fees if you are under 25. This is often at the discretion of the hire company rather than a law. Your UK driving licence will be valid in Italy for 12 months after which time you will need an Italian licence.

How old do you have to be to drive in the USA?

The USA is currently one of the most popular family holiday destinations in the world with approximately 3.8 million British nationals visiting the land of the star-spangled banner each year. Many of these chose to stay within the tourist hotspots and may not need a car as a result. For those that do need to drive knowing the legalities of driving in the USA will be important. Currently, the legal age for driving in the USA is 16 however in some states, it can be as low as 14. However, if you are visiting from the UK you will need to be 18 or above and hold a full and valid licence. You will also need an IDP as most rental companies will ask for it. Just be aware the USA is huge, and laws vary from state to state. This can mean that the ages for renting cars can change. In some places, it will state you must be 18, in others 21, and in some 25. Regardless, an IDP will likely be required no matter what.

How old do you have to be to drive in Australia?

A trip to Australia is quite often a backpacker’s dream. On the other side of the world with plenty to explore and each part exhibiting varying cultures, sights and entertainment, it is a country that provides many with an unforgettable trip. Should you want to get from state to state, driving could be your best option.

In Australia, the legal driving age varies depending on where you are in the country. In Victoria, for example, the minimum age for a full driver’s licence is 22 years old. In the Northern Territory, it is 18 years and 6 months. Your UK licence is valid in Australia for 3 months and you can pick up a hire car from the age of 21 as long as you have held the licence for at least a year. However, like with much of Europe, there will be surcharges for those under 25.

Driving in a foreign country can be intimidating, especially with new driving rules to be aware of. This is why we always suggest getting comprehensively covered with a car hire excess insurance policy. This way you remain covered against any surprise excess fees and can continue to enjoy your trip. With plans covering holiday car excess insurance as well as those for multiple trips across the globe, get in touch today for a free quote.

© Strategic Insurance Services Limited 2024 | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions