Last Updated on October 31, 2021
There are two steps to getting a hotel room.
First, you need to rent or book it. This often requires a credit card to reserve a room.
The second step is actually checking in to the hotel. This step usually requires a valid government-issued ID that verifies the age and identity of the guest.
Assuming you have a valid card to reserve a room what is the legal age to check into a hotel?
Let’s have a look at the hotel policies.
Minimum Age Requirements To Rent A Hotel Room
There are no state laws that impose age restrictions on who can rent a hotel room.
Instead, each hotel sets its own minimum age requirement.
But there are factors that influence the minimum age that a hotel will choose.
Before we talk details, here’s the quick answer.
How old do you have to be to get a hotel room?
It’s almost impossible to rent a hotel room if you are under 18.
If you are under 21 it is difficult but not impossible to rent a hotel room.
Once you are over 21 it becomes easy to rent a hotel room.
The Legal Age Of Majority & Renting A Room
The first issue for hotels is the legal age status of the guest. Only after a person reaches the legal age of their state can they enter into legally enforceable agreements.
The legal age of majority in most states is 18. This is the age when a person becomes an adult.
So it is very difficult to rent a hotel room in the United States if you are under 18. Most hotels don’t allow under 18 check-in.
Hotels generally don’t rent rooms to children or teenagers below the legal age of majority.
In Alabama and Nebraska, the legal age is 19, and in Mississippi, it’s 21 (although 18-year-olds can enter into contracts).
So you will find some hotels in Alabama and Nebraska will choose a minimum age requirement of 19.
Minors’ signatures are not legally binding, so the hotel is at risk if the patrons fail to pay or cause damage.
Also, most hotels don’t want to take on the liability of caring for younger travelers under 18 that are traveling without a legal guardian.
The Legal Drinking Age & Renting A Room
But even when you are over 18 it’s still not always easy to get a hotel room.
And that’s because of the second major factor that influences hotel minimum age requirements.
The second major concern of hotels is the legal drinking age limit of 21.
Many hotels provide alcohol either in a minibar or via room service. Setting a minimum age requirement of 21 simplifies that for them since all guests will be the minimum legal drinking age.
For this reason, 21 is the most common age limit for booking a hotel in the United States.
Many Hotels often opt for an over 21 age limit even if they don’t provide alcohol in the minibar. They do this simply to avoid younger guests since they are viewed as a risk.
Some hotels in major party cities even have a minimum age requirement of 25 years or older to book a room.
Younger guests are viewed as a risk, hotels are concerned about damage to property and noise levels.
Places like New York City, Las Vegas, or spring break destinations like Key West Florida, tend to have higher age limits because they are party destinations.
Hotels that accept guests aged 18 and up are out there. They are just harder to find.
How To Rent A Room When You Are Under The Age Limit
If you are under the hotel age limit there are a few things you can try.
Consider Youth Hostels
Hostels are the best alternative to hotels for younger travelers under 18.
Hostels usually don’t have any minimum age requirements. They actively cater to younger travelers.
Some hostels even have private rooms making the experience similar to a hotel. Call the hostel to check if they have any age requirements to rent out their private rooms.
The age limit to book a flat with Airbnb is 18. This makes it a great alternative for young travelers that are finding it hard to find a hotel that will accept guests under age 21.
Get A Letter Of Permission From Your Parents
Occasionally hotels will allow guests under 18 if they have a letter from their parent or legal guardian.
In this case, the parent or guardian would book the room and perhaps provide a security deposit.
Hotels allowing underage guests are rare but not unheard of.
Consider B&B’s And Guest Houses
Large hotel chains are more likely to have strict age limits, so consider alternative lodging.
Small independent B&B’s and guest houses might be more flexible. Especially if you pay up front and also provide a security deposit.
The Bottom Line
The most common age limit for getting a hotel room in the United States is 21.
Hotels can set the age limits that they want although they also need to be careful about age discrimination laws.
Age requirements vary, there is no standard minimum age to book a hotel. You need to verify directly with the Hotel.
An adult could book a room using a valid credit card, but hotels need to see a valid government-issued ID of actual guests at check-in.
You might not even get a refund if you are under the age limit and you could be left stranded. So check carefully the hotel’s age policies if you are a young traveler.