Do You Have to Be 21 to Get a Hotel Room?

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When planning a trip, one of the first things you’ll need to do is book a place to stay.

Hotels are a popular lodging choice for travelers, but if you’re under 21, you may be wondering if you can legally get your own hotel room.

The short answer is: it depends. There are no federal laws in the United States that prohibit 18, 19, or 20-year-olds from booking hotel rooms.

However, some states and individual hotels have policies that require guests to be 21 or older to rent a room. Here’s what you need to know about hotel age restrictions.

Do You Have to Be 21 to Get a Hotel Room?

Why Do Hotels Have Minimum Age Policies?

Hotels typically implement age limit policies to:

  • Prevent underage drinking – Hotels want to avoid liability issues that could arise if they rented rooms to guests who are under the legal drinking age of 21. Allowing underage guests to drink alcohol on the premises could get the hotel in trouble legally.
  • Discourage illegal behavior – Unfortunately, some younger guests have trashed hotel rooms or engaged in other irresponsible behaviors. Age limits help hotels reduce damage, noise complaints, and other problems.
  • Comply with local laws – Some states or cities have laws prohibiting hotels from renting to guests under 21. Hotels in these areas must abide by the local age restrictions.

So age limits are generally intended to help hotels maintain a safe, controlled environment for all guests. But in most places, they are ultimately up to each hotel’s discretion.

Do You Have to Be 21 to Get a Hotel Room?

Are There Any States that Require You to Be 21 to Get a Hotel Room?

Currently, there are no states that universally prohibit 18, 19, or 20-year-olds from getting hotel rooms. However, some states have certain restrictions:

  • Michigan – Guests under 21 cannot rent hotel rooms with unsupervised access to an indoor pool, fitness center, or dining area with liquor. An adult (21+) must rent the room and assume liability for underage guests.
  • New Hampshire – Guests under 21 may reserve hotel rooms but must have a guardian aged 25 or older staying in the same room/unit.
  • Wisconsin – Hotels cannot rent rooms to unmarried guests under 21 unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

So in these states, you can likely still book a room at 18, 19, or 20 as long as you comply with the rules. Other than that, there are currently no statewide bans on renting to young adults.

Do Individual Hotels Have Minimum Age Policies?

Yes, many hotels voluntarily choose to implement age restrictions for their rooms. These policies can vary greatly between brands and locations.

Some common hotel age requirements are:

  • 21+ to rent a room
  • 21+ to check-in
  • 25+ to book under certain rate codes
  • 18+ permitted with credit card authorization
  • 21+ for certain room types (suites, etc.)

Luxury, business, and upscale hotels are more likely to have maximum age limits. Motel chains and budget brands frequently accept younger guests.

You’ll also find stricter age rules in popular spring break destinations, likeFlorida and Mexico. Some resorts and hotels in these party locations enforce 21+ age limits to keep things under control.

Do You Have to Be 21 to Get a Hotel Room?

How to Find Hotels without Age Restrictions

The age requirements at hotels can be frustrating for younger travelers. Here are some tips for finding accommodations that will rent to you if you’re under 21:

  • Call ahead – Don’t rely solely on hotel websites, which sometimes omit age details. Phone the hotel directly and ask about their minimum check-in age.
  • Try motel and budget chains – Brands like Super 8, Travelodge, and EconoLodge are typically more permissive of young renters than upscale hotels.
  • Look for exceptions – Even hotels with 21+ rules often make exceptions if you call and speak with a manager. Offering a credit card deposit can help sway them.
  • Book third-party rentals – Private vacation rentals (like Airbnb, VRBO) are not as strict with age compared to big chains. Hostel dorms are also open to all ages.
  • Travel with someone 21+ – To open up more options, book your stay with an older friend or family member who can check-in and act as the primary guest.

With some persistence, you should be able to find suitable lodging, even with age limits. Having a few flexible backup options will also help in case somewhere declines you at check-in.

Tips for Booking Rooms Under 21

If you find a hotel that will accommodate you, there are a few things you can do to make the reservation process go smoothly:

  • Call to book – Booking directly over the phone typically works better than using third-party sites. The hotel can explain their rules and confirm they will rent to you.
  • Have ID ready – When you check-in, you’ll need to show a valid ID proving you are the age you claimed. Make sure it’s not expired!
  • Use a credit or debit card – Hotels usually require an active credit or debit card in your name to cover incidentals. Prepaid cards often don’t work.
  • Bring a signed credit card authorization – If booking for someone else, have them sign a document authorizing your card usage. This protects the hotel.
  • Don’t drink alcohol in public areas – Stick to your room if consuming alcohol. Hotels don’t want underage drinking in bars, pools, etc.
  • Be on your best behavior – Follow all rules and don’t cause any disturbances. You want to demonstrate that teens/young adults can be responsible guests.

Booking a hotel under 21 may require a few extra steps, but being prepared will help your reservation go off without a hitch.

What About Renting a Car Under 21?

Renting a car typically also has minimum age requirements. Here’s a quick look at car rental policies:

  • Most major rental companies require renters to be at least 21 years old. Some have minimum ages of 18-20 with additional daily fees.
  • Renters under 25 may have to pay additional young renter surcharges.
  • Those under 25 are often restricted from renting luxury, specialty, or high-capacity vehicles.
  • Having your own auto insurance can help lower the age requirements, but usually not below 21.

So for road trips, it’s best to have someone 21 or older rent the car if travelers are under 21. Otherwise, look into alternatives like buses, trains, rideshares, or taxis.

Key Takeaways

  • There are no federal hotel age limits in the U.S. State and local restrictions are rare. Age limits are set at each hotel’s discretion.
  • Luxury, business, and resort hotels commonly require guests to be 21+ to check-in. Budget and motel chains typically accept younger travelers.
  • You can often still book under 21 by calling the hotel directly, having an older companion rent the room, or offering a credit card deposit.
  • Driving also has age minimums. You usually need to be 21+ to rent a car without extra fees.
  • With some flexibility and planning, travelers under 21 can still find suitable lodging and transportation for their trips.

So while you generally don’t have to be 21, it can help unlock more options. Don’t let age restrictions discourage you from traveling and making arrangements as needed for a great trip!

Jennifer Tuffen
Jennifer Tuffen

I'm Jennifer Tuffen, a travel enthusiast and storyteller, six years and 10+ countries deep into a journey of discovery and cultural immersion.