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Can You Get a Hotel at 17?

In our busy and often routine-driven lives, sometimes a stay at a hotel is just what we need. Whether it’s for work, travel or simply pleasure, there’s no arguing that a night in a comfy hotel bed feels pretty good!

However if you are 17 years old, or want to book for someone of this age to stay alone in a hotel, you may wonder if it’s actually possible.

In this article we’ll look at if you can get a hotel at 17. We’ll look at the reason why this is or isn’t possible, as well as how it can sometimes vary.

In the USA and other developed countries, the strong majority of hotels won’t let you get a hotel room at 17. As we’ll cover in more detail later, the risks are too high for a hotel, which include both financial and reputation. Many famous chains such as Travelodge and Premier Inn are also known for not letting anyone under the age of 18 stay.

There are always exceptions, however these are more likely to be lesser quality hotels, or those in third-world countries. Regardless of where you are, you’ll need to review the hotel’s rules and regulations, which is often on their website.

Reasons Why You Can’t Get a Hotel at 17

Reason 1: Legal Accountability 

Firstly, when booking a night at a hotel, you’re actually signing a contract with the hotel. Whilst you must pay for a completed night stay (aside from some cases), the hotel must also ensure total safety for their guests.

Now if a 17 year old were to stay alone in a room, then many problems could occur. Firstly, there are the mini-bars found inside the hotel, and in the USA, the legal drinking age is 21. Even in most other parts of the world, you have to be 18 to buy or drink alcohol, hence why problems could occur and a hotel will not let you stay if you are 17.

Believe it or not, there’s no actual law that prohibits hotels from letting a 17-year-old stay alone in a hotel. However, given the risks are so great, it’s almost always impossible to negotiate with hotels otherwise. Of course, this is completely different if you are a guest of an accompanying adult

Reason 2: No Financial Responsibility

The last point leads pretty well into this section. So if it’s technically legal for a hotel to let you get a room at 17, why don’t some still do it anyway?

As we said before, a client and hotel sign a contract when making a booking. However In most countries around the world, such as the USA, it’s illegal to enforce a contract with a minor. 

So even if a hotel did let a 17-year-old stay, the minor could technically walk away without paying (or worse with damages in the room), and the hotel could do nothing about it. Given the financial risk, it’s easy to understand why a hotel won’t let you stay when under the legal age of contract signing.

Reason 3: Corporate Social Responsibility 

Aside from the potential financial costs for a hotel, letting 17 year olds (or those of an even younger age) stay in a hotel by themselves is a massive risk to their brand and image.

This is most apparent with chain hotels who are known throughout the world. Even if one of their hotels disobeyed this rule, it would have large repercussions to the whole franchise (especially with the lightning speed of the internet, and news reporters likely to jump on that as fast as you can say “hotel”).

As we’ll see later in this article, there are hotels that will still let minors check in regardless, however this is against standard ethics, and is usually in lesser developed countries where “that’s just the way things are”.

Related Article: Do You Have to Check Out of a Hotel?

Booking a Room vs Checking Into a Room

What if a minor has someone with a credit card pay for their stay? This of course changes things, since now there is someone of legal age to be liable for the contract and stay. 

This does offer more chance that a hotel will let a 17 year old stay alone, however it still depends on the hotel. Hotels that offer self check-in are the most likely, since you’ll receive a pin and instructions and not need to show any ID.

However, in most cases, you’ll need to check in with reception, and show a government-issued ID to collect your keys. Given that this will clearly show your age, it is possible you’ll be denied the room (again for reasons such as CSR).

It all depends on the particular hotel, so you’ll want to check their own rules and regulations when it comes to this before making the booking. This is worth looking into beforehand, simply so you don’t end up wasting time or money.

You May Also Like: Can Someone Else Check Into a Hotel for You?

Exceptions to the Rule

Even though the risks are great for a hotel to let a 17 year old stay, there are of course going to be some hotels that do this anyway.

Independent or Lower Rated Hotels

Usually independent hotels (those without a franchise and usually have just one site) are the most likely to allow those who are 17 to check in. Again this as they have less CSR pressures, and if there’s the demand, then they’ll probably go for it.

But given the risk, why do they still do it? Some of the lesser-well run hotels may struggle to make ends meet, or simply want to profit-maximize in any possible way, hence why they might let 17-year old’s stay at a hotel alone. Of course, the risks are high, and this isn’t usually the case in first world countries such as the USA.

Can This Vary Throughout the World?

The last point naturally leads into this one. In most developed countries, the risks are too great, which is why hotels won’t let minors stay as the primary and only guest.

However in many parts of the world this is likely to vary, given how ethics and legal rules can change. It’s more likely that some hotels in lesser developed continents such as Africa or Asia will let 17 year olds stay alone, given that there are less rules around this. Again you’ll need to do your own research on specific hotels to see which ones will allow this.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking to get a hotel, or are simply interested in the topic, it can be somewhat confusing whether you can actually get a hotel at 17.

In this article we’ve looked at whether you can get a hotel at 17, and some reasons why it’s not possible at most hotels. We’ve also explored why this can sometimes vary too.

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Hayden Wall

Hayden is the founder of Travel Gear Discounts and tries to vacation as much as possible. He loves finding the latest travel accessories that will make getting out easier and planning the perfect weekend getaway.