How Old Do You Have to Be to Rent a Hotel Room?

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Two individuals inquiring about the age requirement to book a hotel room at the reception desk.

Ever found yourself asking, “I wonder how old you have to be to rent a hotel room?” Well, you’re not alone. The answer is not as straightforward as you might think. Many hotels require guests to be at least 18 years old to book a room. Hotels may practice this strict policy because 18 is considered the “age of majority”, or the age when a person is already considered an adult. However, some states allow hotels to set their own age policies, which can require guests to be 21 or even 25 years old. If you love to travel, staying in a nice hotel should be one of your priorities. After a long day of adventure, you need a comfortable place to rest and get ready for your next itinerary.

As a frequent work and leisure traveler, I have encountered different types of guests at hotels. Adults, young adults, couples, senior citizens, teenagers, and even kids. 18 might be the legal age to book a hotel room, but there are factors that could change this common rule.

Whether you’re planning to rent a hotel room as a minor, or you want to know if one of your friends and family members can conveniently check in to a hotel, this easy and friendly guide can help. 

The minimum check-in age to rent a hotel room in the United States is 18 years old. Most states in the U.S. set the age of 18 as the minimum age requirement for renting a hotel, but this rule can be influenced and/or changed by the following:

Alcohol Laws

The laws in alcohol purchase and consumption in the United States dictate that an individual should be at least 21 years to be allowed to buy and drink alcoholic beverages. The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are exempted from this rule, as they allow 18 year-olds to consume alcohol. It is very common for hotel bars to host parties that involve drinking, so it’s best to be familiar with alcohol laws in a city before you decide to book your stay in a hotel. 

Local Ordinances

Some cities or municipalities might minimize or entirely prohibit individuals of minimum age to book and rent a hotel room because of safety and order-related circumstances like noise disturbances, property damage, and underage drinking. Hotels do not want to risk the safety and experience of guests, so hotel chains may set the minimum age requirement from 21 to 25 years old, to guarantee that all guests will be psychologically mature and capable of engaging in strict rules and agreements. Which brings us to the last factor.

Age of Contractual Capacity

Technically speaking, a hotel booking or reservation serves as a contract between the guest and the hotel’s management. The contractual capacity of a guest can directly influence the minimum age that a state sets to allow guests to stay in a hotel room. For example, in Alabama and Nebraska, a guest should be at least 19 years old to rent a hotel room. While in the state of Mississippi, the age requirement is higher at 21 years old. Do check with the hotel if you or your friends and relatives are at the right age to rent a room to avoid last-minute issues. 

The Age Factor: Requirements in Different States and Hotels

Age requirements vary across states and even between hotels within the same state. This is because hotels have the freedom to establish their internal age policies. While many hotels set their age requirement at 18 years old, don’t be surprised to find some that only allow guests who are 21 or even 25 years old.

For instance, in Las Vegas – the city that never sleeps – many hotels require guests to be at least 21 years old due to the availability of alcohol in the mini-bars. So, before you pack your bags, it might be wise to give the hotel a quick call to avoid any last-minute surprises.

What happens if you are below the minimum age requirement?

Keep in mind that the majority of hotel companies in the world allow guests who are 18 years old. So if you and your friend or a relative are below 18, you might be wondering how you can check into a hotel without any fuss. The good news is, with parental consent or a parent present during the stay, you can stay at a hotel with no risk of disobeying state and city policies. 

Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that some hotels may require additional documentation and proof of relationship between a minor and its guardian. This is to avoid fraudulent activities and tactics that hotels usually encounter including using fake ID generators or tampering with legal documents. If you’re under 18 and looking for a nice place to stay, there are plenty of alternatives to hotels that accommodate guests under 18 years old. 

As mentioned above, staff may ask for duly signed parental consent and other documentation to prove the relationship between an adult guest and a minor. The management may ask for the following:

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Proof of guardianship

Check with the specific hotel the list of documents that they accept when accommodating guests below the age of 21 or 18. The legal age to book a room may be different per hotel, so making the necessary effort of researching and verifying is a must. 

Why Minors Are Not Allowed to Rent a Hotel Room?

Ever wondered why hotels have an age requirement in the first place? It’s not because they don’t appreciate youthful energy, but rather it’s due to legal and liability issues. Minors, defined as individuals under 18, are not legally able to enter contracts in most states, and hotel stays essentially involve a contractual agreement between the guest and the hotel. Besides, hotels might be held liable for any accidents or incidents involving unattended minors.

It’s also a measure to prevent potential delinquency like underage drinking, property damage, or unauthorized parties. So, while it might seem like a bummer, these policies are in place for the safety and peace of mind of all involved. After all, a peaceful stay is what we all look forward to, right?

Airbnb, hostels, and vacation rentals are just a few of the accommodations that you can try if you’re too young to book a hotel. These types of accommodations are usually very affordable and offer a fantastic guest experience with value for money. 

Based on the 2021 statistics, there was an average of 2.25 million active Airbnb listings in the U.S. alone. The industry is expected to grow at a rapid rate, because of the convenience, accessibility, and affordability that it offers to local and foreign guests. 

Booking a Hotel Versus Checking In

There’s an important distinction to be made between booking a hotel and actually checking in. While most online booking platforms may allow anyone – regardless of age – to make a reservation, the actual check-in process at the hotel front desk is where age policies come into play. You might be able to book a room while you’re under the age requirement, but don’t celebrate too early!

When you arrive to check in, that’s when the hotel will verify your age. If you don’t meet their age policy, you could find yourself in a sticky spot. So, remember, it’s not just about making the reservation, it’s about walking through those hotel doors and getting your room key with a confident stride!

What is the standard hotel check-in and check-out time?

A hotel’s standard check-in time is noon, while the check-out time is 2:00 PM. In case you need to check in or check out earlier or later, inform the hotel ahead of time. This is a common courtesy, because the room attendants and front desk staff will be in charge of cleaning and preparing the room for guests, and confirming its availability in the hotel reservation system

This will also avoid overlapping booking schedules that will hurt guest experience and the hotel’s reputation. 

Tips for a Hassle-free Hotel Experience

To help ensure your hotel stay is as smooth as sailing on a calm sea, follow these practical tips:

  1. Call ahead to confirm the hotel’s age requirement before making a reservation.
  2. If you’re under 18 and traveling with someone older, ensure their name is on the reservation.
  3. Be prepared to show identification at check-in.
  4. Have a credit or debit card ready for incidentals.
  5. Familiarize yourself with the hotel’s policies regarding deposits and additional fees.
  6. Respect the hotel’s rules and your fellow guests for a peaceful stay.
  7. And most importantly, wear your biggest smile and radiate positivity – a cheerful demeanor always makes for a better experience.

Nuances and Additional Details

International travelers, take note: age requirements might differ when traveling abroad. Some countries are more lenient, while others are stricter. It’s always wise to research beforehand. Also, remember, that there may be exceptions to the rule. If you’re traveling with a legal adult, many hotels might be willing to accommodate you.


In a nutshell, age requirements to rent a hotel room can vary, so it’s always smart to check before you check in! Remember, while traveling is about freedom and adventure, it’s also about navigating rules and policies. Next time you plan your trip, make sure you add “confirm hotel’s age requirement” to your to-do list.

Your Next Steps

Have you ever encountered an unexpected age requirement at a hotel? Or do you have a tip for the young globetrotters among us? Share your experiences and advice in the comments below. And don’t forget, for more helpful advice on all things hotels and travel, keep exploring Safe travels!

Are you wondering if Uber Eats will deliver to your hotel room? Check out our blog post titled “Does Uber Eats Deliver to Hotel Rooms?

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Charvel Rebagay is the founder and main author behind With an impressive entrepreneurial background and a genuine passion for travel, Charvel brings a unique perspective to the hospitality industry. He meticulously reviews and recommends hotels, providing readers with an invaluable guide to the best global accommodations.