Got the travel bug? Here’s another question to ask before you hit the road: How old do you have to be to rent a hotel room? The answer, according to current hotel industry standards and laws, is 18. In other words, if you’re under age 18, legally, you cannot check into a hotel room by yourself. Anyone younger needs a parent or guardian present at the front desk to sign for her. The person who signs is responsible for any damage.
How old do you have to be to rent a hotel?
Some hotels may allow children aged 16-17 to stay in a room by themselves, assuming they provide adequate identification and personal information, such as credit card numbers. However, parents should check with their particular establishment before making plans to travel with their young teens.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which regulates air travel, sets the age limit for traveling alone in airline seats at 14 years old and younger. However, individual airlines may set higher minimum ages, so it is best to check with the carrier before making flight plans with your older teens.
Police officers are allowed to wait outside the hotel room door and arrest any minors they find inside. In many cases, such as in Las Vegas, where hotels abut casinos and clubs, or in New Orleans or Washington, D.C., where there are no zoning laws, the young person may be detained by the police until their parent is located.
Legal age to rent a hotel room
In most states, the legal age for renting a room in a hotel is 18. There are some exceptions for 16-17-year-olds who may be allowed to rent rooms from hotels with restrictions. Check with your particular hotel before making arrangements.
Adult Signature Required
If you are under 18, you must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who will sign as your guarantor. The hotel is legally responsible for the damages and any other actions that occur during your occupancy of the room.
Do hotels actually check age?
Checking age is a question that hotel staff hears all the time. Unless there’s reason to believe the guest is lying, most hotels will take this person at his word.
The law is clear: If you are under 18, a parent or guardian must be on hand to sign your room rental agreement and complete an additional form called a “Guarantor” or “acknowledgment of responsibility.” In some cases, the police may be called if hotel staff discovers you are not who you say you are.
In either case, it’s important to speak with the front desk before making plans to rent a room when traveling alone. If your parent or guardian is present at check-in, be sure to have them speak with the front desk about their role as your guarantor.
If you’re under 18 and staying in a hotel without a parent or guardian, ask what other procedures will need to take place before you can check into your room. A hotel may require that an older teen present identification (not a school ID), or if your parents are not with you, may ask that they leave a credit card or other form of payment as collateral.
Safe hotels for single teens
The “buzz” about renting hotel rooms is in the news these days as college students compete to keep their costs down by spending nights in inexpensive hotels. The truth is that even when it’s legal to rent a hotel room, some hotels aren’t suitable for young guests. Before you book your room and make the trip, find out how old you have to be to check into a hotel room.
Universities sometimes offer their incoming freshmen a list of hotels with good rates and safe neighborhoods. Likewise, small local papers may publish reviews of hotels for their readers, letting them know which places are safe and clean.
Safe single hotel room or suite?
Look at the lobby before you check in to see what other guests look like and security coverage in place. If it’s a large chain with locations all over, you’ll be less likely to have problems.
If you choose to rent a hotel room alone, be sure to lock yourself in for the night and set the chain on the door. Please don’t open it for anyone except staff bringing clean towels or room service (or your parent). If worse comes to worst, call 911 and tell them you’ve been assaulted or robbed. Hotel staff will assist you.
Beware of the local police!
If you’re under 18 years old and traveling alone, beware of the local police, who may arrest you for being out without your parents or guardian present. You can be held until they arrive to speak with the officers on duty.
You may also like to read, 8 tricks to get more out of your hotel room