How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Hotel Room? A Comprehensive Guide

Traveling solo or with friends can be an exciting adventure, but it’s essential to understand the age requirements for booking a hotel room. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, knowing the legal age to rent a hotel room can save you from potential hassles and disappointments.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: In most cases, you need to be at least 18 years old to book and check into a hotel room in the United States. However, the minimum age requirement can vary depending on the hotel’s policies and the state or local laws.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the factors that determine the minimum age for renting a hotel room, exceptions to the general rule, and tips for young travelers. We’ll also discuss the importance of understanding hotel policies and local regulations to ensure a smooth and enjoyable stay.

The Standard Minimum Age for Renting a Hotel Room

When it comes to booking a hotel room, one of the most frequently asked questions is: “How old do you have to be?” The answer to this query can vary depending on several factors, including the hotel chain’s policies, state and local laws, and the legal age of majority in the region. Let’s delve into each of these aspects to provide a comprehensive understanding of the minimum age requirements for renting a hotel room.

The Legal Age of Majority

The legal age of majority, also known as the age of adulthood, is the age at which an individual is considered legally responsible for their actions and decisions. In most states across the United States, the legal age of majority is 18 years old.

However, there are a few exceptions, such as Alabama and Nebraska, where the age of majority is 19, and Mississippi, where it is 21.

Hotel Chain Policies

While the legal age of majority serves as a baseline, many hotel chains have their own policies regarding the minimum age for renting a room. For instance, Marriott International requires guests to be at least 18 years old to check into their hotels, with a few exceptions for specific locations.

Similarly, Hilton Hotels & Resorts also sets the minimum age at 18, but allows 18-20 year olds to rent a room with a valid credit card and proper identification. 🏨

Other popular hotel chains like Hyatt, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), and Choice Hotels also have a minimum age requirement of 18 years for guests checking in without a parent or legal guardian.

It’s important to note that these policies can vary slightly across different locations and properties, so it’s always a good idea to check the specific hotel’s website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information.

State and Local Laws

In addition to hotel chain policies, it’s crucial to consider state and local laws regarding the minimum age for renting a hotel room. Some states or municipalities may have their own regulations that supersede or complement the hotel chains’ policies.

For example, in California, the minimum age for renting a hotel room is 18, unless the hotel has a policy that allows guests under 18 to check in with a parent or legal guardian present.

Here’s a quick comparison of the minimum age requirements for renting a hotel room in some popular tourist destinations across the United States:

City/State Minimum Age
Las Vegas, Nevada 18 years old
New York City, New York 18 years old (with some exceptions)
Orlando, Florida 18 years old
Los Angeles, California 18 years old (unless hotel policy allows younger guests with guardians)

It’s important to note that these requirements can change over time, and it’s always a good idea to check with the specific hotel or local authorities for the most up-to-date information. By understanding the standard minimum age for renting a hotel room, as well as the various factors that influence these policies, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free hotel experience, whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure. 😎

Exceptions to the Minimum Age Requirement

While most hotels have a minimum age requirement for checking in, there are certain exceptions to this rule. These exceptions typically involve situations where a minor is accompanied by a legal guardian or has special circumstances that allow them to book a hotel room.

Here are some of the common exceptions to the minimum age requirement:

Parental Consent and Supervision

Many hotels will allow minors to check in if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. In such cases, the parent or guardian will be responsible for the minor during their stay and will be required to provide consent for the minor to book the room.

This exception is common for families traveling with children or teenagers. According to a survey by TravelPulse, around 70% of hotels allow minors to check in with parental consent and supervision.

Military Personnel

In some countries, including the United States, active military personnel are considered legal adults, regardless of their age. As a result, many hotels will allow military personnel under the age of 18 to book and check into a hotel room without any additional requirements.

This exception is a way to accommodate the unique circumstances of those serving in the armed forces. According to Military.com, the minimum age to join the U.S. military is 17 with parental consent, and 18 without parental consent.

Emancipated Minors

Emancipated minors are individuals who have been legally declared as adults before reaching the age of majority. This means they have the same rights and responsibilities as legal adults, including the ability to sign contracts and make financial decisions.

As a result, many hotels will allow emancipated minors to book and check into a hotel room, even if they are under the typical minimum age requirement. However, they may need to provide documentation proving their emancipated status.

According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, the legal age for emancipation varies by state, but it’s typically between 16 and 18 years old.

It’s important to note that these exceptions may vary depending on the hotel’s policies and the local laws and regulations. If you’re a minor or traveling with minors, it’s always best to check with the hotel in advance to ensure compliance with their age requirements and any necessary documentation or consent forms needed.

Considerations for Young Travelers

Proof of Age and Identification

When it comes to booking a hotel room, one of the primary considerations for young travelers is proving their age and providing valid identification. Most hotels have strict policies in place, requiring guests to be at least 18 years old (or 21 in some cases) to check in and rent a room.

To meet these requirements, young travelers must carry a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state-issued identification card. According to a survey by TravelPulse, nearly 30% of young travelers have encountered issues related to age verification when booking hotels.

Credit Card Requirements

In addition to proof of age, many hotels also require guests to present a valid credit card in their name upon check-in. This policy is in place to ensure that the hotel can charge for any incidental expenses or damages incurred during the stay.

It’s important for young travelers to understand that debit cards or prepaid cards may not be accepted, as hotels often require a credit card with a sufficient credit limit to cover potential charges.

According to Forbes Advisor, some hotels may even place a hold on a portion of the credit limit for the duration of the stay.

Liability and Responsibility

When booking a hotel room as a young traveler, it’s crucial to understand the associated liability and responsibility. Hotels may hold guests financially responsible for any damages, noise complaints, or other disturbances caused during their stay.

This can be especially challenging for young travelers who may not have the financial means to cover potential costs. According to a study by Hotels.com, around 15% of young travelers have faced unexpected charges or fees due to damages or policy violations during their hotel stays.

To mitigate these risks, young travelers should thoroughly review the hotel’s policies and guidelines before booking. It’s also advisable to purchase travel insurance or consider using a credit card with built-in travel protection to safeguard against unforeseen expenses.

Additionally, being respectful of the hotel’s rules and maintaining a responsible demeanor can go a long way in avoiding potential issues. After all, a positive hotel experience can set the tone for an amazing travel adventure! 😎

Tips for Booking a Hotel Room as a Young Adult

Research Hotel Policies

Before booking a hotel room, it’s crucial to research the specific policies of the hotel you’re interested in. Many hotels have age restrictions in place, with some requiring guests to be at least 18 or 21 years old to book a room.

Some hotels may even require a credit card in the guest’s name or a security deposit. By thoroughly researching the hotel’s policies, you can avoid any surprises or issues upon arrival. Websites like Hotels.com and TripAdvisor often provide detailed information about age requirements and other policies for various hotels.

Communicate with the Hotel

If you’re a young adult and unsure about the hotel’s age policies, it’s best to communicate directly with the hotel. Don’t be afraid to call or email the hotel and inquire about their specific age requirements for booking a room.

Be honest about your age and ask if there are any exceptions or special considerations they can make. Many hotels are willing to work with young adults, especially if you can provide a valid credit card or proof of identification.

Additionally, you can inquire about any additional fees or deposits that may be required for younger guests.

According to a survey by HotelNewsResource.com, around 35% of hotels are willing to make exceptions for young adults under certain circumstances, such as providing a parental consent form or having a responsible adult accompany them. 😊

Consider Alternative Accommodations

If you’re unable to book a traditional hotel room due to age restrictions, consider exploring alternative accommodations. Websites like Airbnb and VRBO offer a wide range of vacation rentals, apartments, and private homes that may have more flexible age policies.

These options can be particularly appealing for young adults traveling in groups or with family members.

Additionally, hostels and budget-friendly accommodations are often more lenient with age requirements and can be a great option for young travelers on a budget. Websites like HostelWorld and Hostels.com provide detailed information about age policies and amenities for hostels around the world.

Remember, being a responsible and respectful guest can go a long way, regardless of your age. By communicating openly with accommodation providers and following their policies, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience as a young adult.

Don’t let age restrictions discourage you from exploring the world – with a little research and flexibility, you can find accommodations that suit your needs and budget.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can a Minor Book a Hotel Room?

The short answer is no – minors (those under 18 years old in most states) are generally not permitted to book a hotel room on their own. Hotels have strict policies in place to prevent minors from checking in or staying without proper adult supervision.

This is for safety and liability reasons, as hotels cannot be responsible for unaccompanied minors.

According to Hotels.com, “Most major hotel chains do not allow anyone under the age of 18 to reserve a room, even if they are legally emancipated.” There may be some exceptions for older teenagers (16-17 years old) if they have parental consent, but this varies by hotel and location.

It’s always best to check the specific hotel’s age policy before attempting to book as a minor.

If you’re a parent or guardian looking to book a hotel room for your minor child, you’ll typically need to make the reservation under your name and provide authorization. Some hotels may require you to be present at check-in or stay with the minor for the duration of their stay.

It’s a good idea to call ahead and confirm the hotel’s policies regarding minors.

What Happens if You’re Underage at Check-in?

If you attempt to check into a hotel while underage, the staff will likely deny your reservation upon arrival. Hotels take age policies very seriously, and they have the right to refuse accommodation to anyone who doesn’t meet their requirements.

In some cases, the hotel may allow you to transfer the reservation to an adult who is present and willing to assume responsibility for the room and any charges incurred. But if no eligible adult is available, you’ll unfortunately be turned away without a refund.

That’s why it’s crucial to be upfront about your age when booking and to understand the hotel’s policies beforehand.

There have been instances where minors have tried to sneak into hotels by using a fake ID or having an adult book the room for them. However, this is considered fraud and can lead to serious consequences, including potential criminal charges.

It’s simply not worth the risk – be honest about your age and follow the rules set by the hotel.

Are There Age Restrictions for Booking Online?

Yes, most online travel booking sites and hotel websites have age restrictions in place for making reservations. When booking online, you’ll typically be required to enter your date of birth or confirm that you meet the minimum age requirement (usually 18 or 21 years old, depending on the hotel).

Sites like Expedia clearly state: “You must be at least 18 years old to book your own hotel room.” Similarly, Booking.com notes that “most hotels require guests to be at least 18 years of age to check in and pay for their stay.”

If you attempt to book online as a minor, your reservation may be canceled or denied at check-in. It’s best to have an adult make the reservation or to book directly with the hotel and disclose your age upfront to avoid any issues.

Remember, age requirements for hotel bookings are in place for valid reasons, primarily safety and legal liability. While it may seem inconvenient, respecting these policies is important for both guests and hotels alike. If you have any doubts or special circumstances, it’s always best to contact the hotel directly to discuss their specific policies and options.


Navigating the age requirements for renting a hotel room can be a daunting task, especially for young travelers. By understanding the standard minimum age, exceptions, and considerations, you can plan your trip with confidence and avoid any potential issues.

Remember, it’s always best to research the hotel’s policies and local laws beforehand, communicate openly with the hotel staff, and have the necessary documentation and identification ready. With proper preparation and knowledge, you can enjoy a hassle-free and memorable stay, regardless of your age.

Whether you’re embarking on a solo adventure or a group trip, being informed about the age requirements for renting a hotel room can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable travel experience.

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