When planning a trip, one of the most important things to consider is where to stay. If you’re a young adult or a parent traveling with a teenager, you may be wondering: how old do you have to be to rent a hotel room?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question:
In general, the minimum age is often linked to the “age of majority,” which is the age at which a person is legally considered an adult. In most U.S. states, this age is 18.
However, some hotels, particularly luxury establishments or those serving alcohol, may set their minimum age at 21 years old. The reasoning behind this is often tied to legal drinking age, as well as a general perception that older guests may be less likely to cause damage or disturbances.
In certain cases, particularly in vacation destinations or larger cities, some hotels may set the minimum age to rent a room at 25 years old. This higher age requirement is often aimed at reducing potential liability from younger guests, particularly in areas where partying might be prevalent.
In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the age requirements for hotel rentals, including the factors that affect them, how to book a hotel room if you’re under 18, and some tips for a stress-free hotel experience.
Factors That Affect the Minimum Age for Hotel Rentals
When planning a trip, one of the things that young people need to keep in mind is the minimum age requirement for renting a hotel room. While the age limit varies depending on several factors, such as hotel chain policies, state laws and regulations, and local ordinances, it is worth mentioning that most hotels have a minimum age of 18 years old for checking into a hotel room.
Hotel Chain Policies
Hotel chains have their own policies when it comes to renting hotel rooms to young adults. Some hotels may set the minimum age requirement at 18 years old, while others may require guests to be at least 21 years old. For instance, Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide both set the minimum age requirement at 18 years old, whereas Wyndham Hotels and Resorts requires guests to be 21 years old. In addition, some hotels may require a credit card or a security deposit from guests who are under the age of 21.
State Laws and Regulations
There are no specific state laws in the United States that directly govern the minimum age to rent a hotel room. Hotels are private entities and have the right to institute their own policies, including setting a minimum age for guests to check in.
However, state laws can influence these policies indirectly. For instance:
- Age of Contractual Capacity: The age at which a person is considered legally capable of entering into a contract is 18 in most states. Since a hotel reservation involves a contractual agreement between the guest and the hotel, the age of contractual capacity can indirectly influence the minimum age to rent a hotel room. In Alabama and Nebraska, the age of contractual capacity is 19, and in Mississippi, it’s 21.
- Alcohol Laws: Some states, like Utah, have strict alcohol laws which might indirectly influence the minimum age to book a hotel room, especially in hotels with minibars or hotel bars.
- Local Ordinances: In certain tourist-heavy or college towns, local ordinances might be enacted to discourage certain age groups from renting rooms due to past incidents (e.g. underage drinking, property damage, noise disturbances).
It’s important to note that while these laws can influence hotel policy, many hotels still set their own minimum age requirements based on their corporate policy, local market conditions, or other factors. The most common minimum ages to rent a hotel room in the United States are 18, 21, and 25.
Local ordinances are laws or regulations passed by a town, city, county, or other local government entity. These ordinances can regulate a wide range of activities, and in the context of hotels, they might influence the minimum age requirement to rent a hotel room.
- Nuisance Laws: In some tourist-heavy or college towns, local ordinances might be enacted to discourage certain age groups from renting rooms due to past incidents. These could involve issues like noise disturbances, property damage, or underage drinking.
- Curfew Laws: Some municipalities have local curfew laws for minors, which could indirectly influence a hotel’s policies regarding the minimum age for renting a room.
- Liquor and Alcohol Laws: Local ordinances about the sale and consumption of alcohol might also play a role. Hotels that have bars or minibars in rooms might need to comply with these ordinances, leading to a higher age requirement for guests.
- Zoning and Licensing: Local zoning laws or business licensing requirements can occasionally have provisions that affect how hotels operate, including who they can rent to.
- Local Age of Majority: While the age of majority is set at the state level, some local governments might have specific rules or ordinances related to the age at which someone can enter into contracts or make certain types of purchases.
It’s worth noting that these local ordinances are quite varied and specific to each locality. If you’re unsure about the rules in a particular location, the best approach is to reach out directly to the hotel you’re interested in or consult local government resources. These can often provide the most accurate and up-to-date information about any local ordinances that might affect your ability to rent a hotel room.
Hotel Chains and Their Age Requirements
When it comes to renting a hotel room, age requirements can vary depending on the hotel chain. Here is a breakdown of age requirements for some of the major hotel chains:
- Marriott International: Most Marriott hotels require guests to be at least 18 years of age to check-in. However, some locations may require guests to be 21 years of age.
- Hilton Hotels & Resorts: Hilton hotels require guests to be at least 18 years of age to check-in, but some locations may require guests to be 21 years of age.
- Wyndham Hotels & Resorts: Guests must be at least 21 years of age to check-in at Wyndham hotels.
- InterContinental Hotels Group: Most IHG hotels require guests to be at least 18 years of age to check-in, but some locations may require guests to be 21 years of age.
- Hyatt: Hyatt’s policy typically requires guests to be at least 21 to book a room. Some locations may have higher age requirements.
- Choice Hotels International: Guests must be at least 21 years of age to check-in at Choice hotels.
- Best Western: The age requirement is usually 18, but can vary by location.
It is worth mentioning that age requirements may vary depending on local laws and regulations, so it is always a good idea to check with the specific hotel before making a reservation. Additionally, some hotel chains may have different age requirements for certain types of rooms or for guests with certain membership levels.
Booking a Hotel Room If You’re Under 18
When it comes to booking a hotel room, age restrictions can sometimes create confusion and inconvenience. So, how old do you have to be to rent a hotel room? The answer varies depending on the hotel chain and location, but there are a few general guidelines to keep in mind.
Booking with a Parent or Guardian
If you’re under 18, most hotels will require you to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian in order to book a room. This is because minors are considered a liability, and hotels want to ensure their safety and well-being. Some hotels may require proof of guardianship, such as a birth certificate or court order.
Booking with a Credit Card
Another option for booking a hotel room if you’re under 18 is to use a credit card. Many hotels will allow you to book a room with a credit card, regardless of your age. However, keep in mind that you will still need to show ID at check-in, so make sure the name on the credit card matches your ID.
In general, most hotels do require a credit card to secure a room reservation, but they also require an adult to check-in, typically someone aged 18 or older, sometimes 21 or older depending on the hotel’s policy and the jurisdiction it’s located in.
While it is technically possible for a minor to possess a credit card, the ability to book a room with it doesn’t necessarily circumvent the hotel’s minimum check-in age policy. Hotels often require a valid ID at the time of check-in, and if the guest is under the age limit, they may not be allowed to check-in regardless of whether they have a credit card.
So, while having a credit card might allow a reservation to be made, it doesn’t guarantee that a minor will be able to check in. It’s important for anyone booking a hotel room to fully understand and comply with the hotel’s check-in age policy. Please always check the specific hotel’s policy or contact them directly for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Booking with Third-Party Websites
If you’re under 18 and don’t have a credit card or a parent or guardian to accompany you, you may still be able to book a hotel room through third-party websites such as Expedia or Booking.com. These sites often have looser age restrictions than hotels themselves, and may allow you to book a room with a debit card or other form of payment.
It is worth mentioning that some hotels may have specific policies or restrictions for underage guests, such as a minimum age requirement or a limit on the number of minors per room. Additionally, keep in mind that even if you are able to book a hotel room as a minor, you may still not be able to access certain amenities such as the hotel bar or pool.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how old you have to be to rent a hotel room. However, by understanding the options available to you and doing your research, you can still enjoy a comfortable and safe stay at a hotel.
Tips for a Smooth Hotel Experience
Traveling can be exciting, but it can also be stressful if you’re not prepared. If you’re planning on renting a hotel room, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure a smooth experience.
- Be Prepared to Show ID: Most hotels require guests to be at least 18 years old to rent a room, but some may require guests to be 21 or older. Regardless of age, be prepared to show a valid form of identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, when checking in.
- Be Mindful of Hotel Rules: Every hotel has its own set of rules and guidelines, so be sure to read them carefully. Some hotels may have specific check-in and check-out times, while others may prohibit smoking or require a security deposit. Familiarizing yourself with the rules beforehand can help avoid any surprises or misunderstandings.
- Communicate with Hotel Staff: If you have any questions or concerns during your stay, don’t hesitate to reach out to the hotel staff. They are there to assist you and ensure a pleasant experience. Additionally, if you have any special requests, such as a specific room location or extra amenities, let the staff know ahead of time so they can do their best to accommodate you.
- Use Common Sense: While most hotels take security measures to ensure the safety of their guests, there are still steps you can take to protect yourself and your belongings. Keep your room key and valuables in a safe place, lock your door when leaving the room, and avoid opening the door for strangers or letting anyone into your room who you don’t know.
Remember, a little preparation and communication can go a long way in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable hotel experience.
The minimum age for hotel rentals can vary depending on factors such as hotel chain policies, state laws, and local ordinances. While most hotels require guests to be at least 18 years old, some may set higher age requirements.
If you’re under 18 and looking to book a hotel room, there are several options available to you, including booking with a parent or guardian, using a credit card, or booking through third-party websites. By following some simple tips for a stress-free hotel experience, you can enjoy a comfortable and safe stay wherever your travels take you.