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“Throw the keys through the kiosk’s open window. We’ll get the car when we open later”: Those slightly unorthodox drop-off instructions I once received from a Hertz manager in Croatia illustrate some of the differences U.S. travelers might encounter when renting a car abroad.

It pays to familiarize yourself with the local policies and protocols ahead of time. Here’s what you need to know before you accept the keys.

You may need an international driver’s license

If you have a U.S. driver’s license, an international driving permit is officially required (along with your state-issued license) in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Thailand, although its use is not universally enforced. It’s also a good idea to carry an I.D.P., a booklet — slightly bigger than a passport — that translates a U.S. license into 10 languages, when renting a vehicle in a country

Keep reading this article on The New York Times Your Money.

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