Anyone under 18 must consider that most hotels worldwide have a list of rules when preparing to take a trip, whether for leisure or work. One of the rules you should know is the age limit for booking hotel rooms. Generally, the age limit in the US and elsewhere is 18, but some variations exist.
Here’s a guide exploring age restrictions and how to plan your stay.
1. Booking a hotel: Age Restrictions
Age restrictions for hotel guests tend to follow when you gain your legal rights because, for a hotel stay, you sign a contract promising to pay your bill when you leave. In most countries, including most states of the US, there is a minimum age restriction of 18 because they risk losing their money since they cannot enforce contracts with minors.
Hotels also enforce the rule to protect themselves from liability if anything happens to unaccompanied minors. Finally, minors cannot legally drink alcohol, and most hotels have minibars, forcing them to adhere to their rule about guests under 18. It’s worth noting that some hotels that allow guests to book at 18 will still require them to check in with someone 21 or older.
It’s worth noting that the legal age for booking a hotel room in the US can vary in the different states or local laws. There are few exceptions where tourists younger than 18 can book a hotel, and most states accept bookings from 18 and up. However, Travobravo indicates that some hotels can choose to have a minimum check age of 21 or 25, especially in Las Vegas, New York, and Miami. Finally, Alabama’s minimum age for booking a hotel is 19.
Now that you know that some hotels have legal age restrictions for booking a hotel, it’s best to confirm before booking a room.
2. Hotel Booking for Under 18s
Most hotels retain strict policies for under-18s staying without an adult present. But there are always those exceptions to the rule that may make it possible for teens to check-in.
Exception #1 – If you have written permission from a parent or guardian, some hotels may allow you to check-in. Written permission constitutes requirements that can differ at different hotels. Some require a simple email, while others will only accept notarized consent. It’s up to you to check which applies to the hotel you’re booking.
Also, the written permission must include the following information:
- Dates of your stay
- Your name and the name of the hotel
- Contact information for your parent or guardian giving written permission
Exception #2 – The second exception to the rule is that some hotels will accept minors to check in when paying with a credit card or providing a cash deposit. A cash deposit protects the hotel from potential damages or expenses incurred during your stay. The amount varies but is usually between $100 to $200.
Some hotels only accept credit cards, not cash deposits. Others have restrictions on the age of credit card holders.
Don’t assume that a hotel allows the above exceptions. Check the hotel policy beforehand.
3. Exploring Hotel Options Under 18
If you plan to travel alone or with friends your age, explore the hotel options for those under 18. It may sound daunting, but it’s possible to find suitable reservations.
Start by comparing prices online by checking places offering special rates for younger travelers and students. Exploring hotel options in convenient and safe locations close to public transport and the attractions you plan to visit is essential. Also, check that there are amenities nearby.
Since most hotels won’t ask you for your age when making reservations online, you don’t want to arrive at your destination and have them refuse to accept you at check-in. It’s both embarrassing and inconvenient. Therefore, it’s critical that once you have found a couple of places that you like that are within your budget, first check if they have any age restrictions before booking.
If you cannot make a booking at any of the hotels in the area you plan to visit, check for youth hostels or other accommodations accepting minors. These lodgings are often ideal for younger travelers, thanks to their particular policies and added security measures.
4. Tips for Under 18s Booking Hotels
So, you have found a hotel that will accept you as an under-18. Here are some tips to ensure you have a smooth check-in experience:
5. Call the hotel ahead of time for confirmation
Before checking into the hotel, call a few days before to confirm their policy on minors. Some hotels may require a parent or guardian present or written consent for your check-in. They may also need a credit card or cash deposit. Confirming their requirements ensures you avoid any unexpected surprises on arrival.
6. Bring valid identification
All guests checking in at hotels, even those over the legal age, must present valid identification. Therefore, even if you are under 18, ensure you have your state-issued ID, passport, or driver’s license with you. If you don’t have any of these, some hotels will accept a birth certificate or school ID but always check before leaving home.
7. Take the correct payment requirements
A credit card or cash is usually required as security by those hotels that allow minors to check-in. Hotels use these to protect themselves from any damages or charges incurred during your stay. Take the required form of payment with you, but ensure that you understand the hotel’s costs and refund policy before checking in.
8. Navigating Age Restrictions: Hotel Bookings
Hotels will ask questions about your age and enforce age restrictions. Some hotels will make exceptions, meaning there are some ways to navigate the age restrictions if you are under 18.
At most hotels, you can only stay if you are younger than 18 if a parent or legal guardian is with you. However, some hotels will let you check in without a parent or legal guardian being present if they make your reservation under their name and credit card.
Additionally, some hotels will let you stay with someone older than you as long as they are older than the minimum age they accept.
All Getaways gives more insight into more lenient countries. In Canada, the legal age for booking a room is 18. However, some hotels follow discrimination laws and won’t discriminate against younger guests who book a stay. Additionally, some hotel chains in the UK and Ireland allow guests over 16 to make a booking.
Hotels must know who is staying at their premises, meaning the concierge will ask for identification for all guests. Therefore, don’t assume; always travel prepared.
9. Booking a Hotel Under 18: What You Need to Know
Most people book their travel and accommodation online nowadays. Booking your hotel online is very easy because the only information you must provide is a valid credit card in your name. Most online booking forms don’t ask you to fill in your age.
However, when you reach your destination and try to check-in at your chosen hotel, you must show proof of age.
Therefore, due diligence is critical before making the hotel reservation to avoid them denying you accommodation. It’s also improbable that the hotel will refund the payment for that room.
10. Securing Accommodation as a Minor
Can you book a hotel under 18? Well, we have determined that it’s easy to book a hotel under 18, but it can be impossible to check in since the minimum age in most states and countries is 18 unless someone over the legal age accompanies you.
Additionally, the person accompanying you must stay at the hotel with you throughout your stay.
At some hotels, you can bypass these rules with the exceptions mentioned earlier. At others, you may use your negotiating skills to secure accommodation as long as you prove that you are responsible and mature.
Some hotels may accept your parents or legal guardian making and paying for the reservation in their name, but you’ll still have to present an ID. Others want you to provide parental permission, either notarized or by email.
However, don’t ever consider using forged identification to make a reservation because it’s risky and carries a minimum fine of $1,000.
11. Under 18? Here’s How to Book a Hotel
If you are under 18, booking a hotel is not easy, but it is possible. Before making your reservations, start by finding the hotels that interest you most in the area you want to visit.
Follow up this research by calling or emailing the hotels to learn more about their policies and requirements for accepting someone under 18. If they agree to make the booking, as long as you meet specific requirements, ensure that you prepare these before leaving for your trip.
If you struggle to find a hotel that will accept you, most areas have numerous alternatives like youth hostels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, or other communal living spaces. These are usually ideal for socializing and are very budget-friendly.
Finally, never leave home without some proof of identification. It’s a prerequisite for check-ins at hotels. Your precautions will help prevent any problems when arriving at the front desk, ensuring a good start to your vacation.
Youth-Friendly Hotels and Hostels: Your Home Away From Home
Discovering a welcoming place to rest your head is pivotal to your travel experience. Youth-friendly hotels and hostels are fantastic options. They not only offer a comfortable stay but also provide an opportunity to meet like-minded travelers. Here are a few renowned youth-friendly accommodations:
- HI USA Hostels: Spread across the country, these hostels are known for their friendly atmosphere and acceptance of younger travelers.
- Generator Hostels: With locations in major European cities, Generator Hostels are trendy and youthful.
- St. Christopher’s Inns: These hostels, found in Europe, are known for being youth-friendly with a lively ambiance.
Each hostel has its own set of rules and age restrictions, so it’s wise to call ahead and confirm their policies.
Dive Into Alternatives: Beyond Traditional Hotel Bookings
Fear not if the conventional hotel booking route proves to be a hurdle! There are alternative lodging options that may have more lenient age policies:
- Airbnb: Some hosts on Airbnb might be willing to rent to under-18 travelers. It’s always best to discuss your situation with the host beforehand.
- Guesthouses and B&Bs: Smaller establishments like guesthouses or bed and breakfasts might have more flexible age restrictions.
- Couchsurfing: A platform for meeting locals willing to share their space. Ensure to have clear communication with your host regarding your age and the expectations during your stay.
Frequently Asked Questions: Clearing the Air
Are there any hotel chains known for being more lenient towards underage bookings?
Some independent hotels or smaller chains might be more flexible, but policies can vary widely. It’s always best to call ahead and inquire.
What are the legal implications if I use a fake ID to book a hotel room?
Using a fake ID is illegal and could result in fines or other legal penalties. It’s strongly advised against using forged identification for any purpose.
Can a hotel legally refuse to accommodate me if I’m under 18?
Yes, hotels can legally refuse to accommodate unaccompanied minors due to contractual and liability issues.
What should I do if I arrive and the hotel refuses my stay due to age restrictions?
It’s advisable to have a backup plan such as a list of youth hostels or other age-friendly accommodations in the area.
Are there any travel agencies or platforms that cater to younger travelers?
Some travel agencies specialize in youth travel and may partner with youth-friendly accommodations. Research and reaching out to these agencies could be a great help.