Booking a hotel is not considered a very hard thing to do. So even a 10-year-old can easily handle this. But many states will only allow people to book hotels when they are over 16 years of age. While some other states require them to be at least 18 years old (most of the US states, by the way). Also, some states in the US won’t allow you to book a hotel if you are under 21.
This doesn’t mean that minors under 18 years of age have no chance to book a hotel room and to stay in a hotel. Today, we are going to speak about Florida, but most of the facts we say below are appropriate to the major part of states in the US. Though, you will need to check local laws to know more and to be ready for some problems.
Also, we’ll discuss such things:
- Can a person book a room without help from adults when he or she is 17?
- Can a 17-year-old stay alone in a hotel room?
- What are legal ways of staying in a hotel if you are under 18?
- What are some half-legal ways you may want to try?
So, let’s get started!
Will Florida hotels allow 17-year-olds to book rooms?
Unfortunately, most hotels in Florida won’t allow you to book a room if you are 17 years old. The majority of hotels will follow the rules of the state and only let you book a room if you are over 21 years of age. Some hotels will even allow booking for people over 25 only.
Florida, NYC, and Las Vegas are three places in the US that have the strictest rules for booking hotel rooms. These are partying destinations, so the authorities will try to ban young people from coming there without their parents or at least older siblings who are over 21.
You may wonder why these laws and rules were introduced. The reason is that Las Vegas and Florida had a lot of cases when minors committed crimes or hurt themselves after booking hotel rooms and partying with friends. This is the reason why booking a hotel in these states is not that simple for minors.
Also, minors all around the US can’t book the hotels by themselves but just in some states. They are seen as people who can’t be involved in any legal contracts, and, as you may know, booking a hotel is actually a legal contract.
But we know how to fix it.
Legal ways to book a room when you are 17
We know some ways you can book a room if you are under 21 or even under 18 years of age. But make sure you don’t offend local laws – investigate the rules or contact the hotel reception workers to get updated on their rules.
Here are some ways you could try:
- Ask your parent to book a room for you. The law says that you can’t book a room, but you can stay in many hotels if they don’t state any bans in their rules. So adults can book a room for you.
- Contact a travel agency. The main task of travel agents is to make money and not let clients go to competitors. So they will make everything they can to book a room in a certain hotel for you.
- Ask any other adult to book a room for you. This is not fully legal, but it can work out. Please don’t use big chains of hotels that have huge databases and other options to detect any problems.
In some states, 17-year-olds are eligible to make contracts, so they may have their own credit cards. But you can be sure that in Florida you can’t book a room even if you have your own credit card. You are just not allowed to according to the local law, so you will have to find some other option.
What are half-legal ways?
Well, 17-year-olds are quite grown-up people and they may decide to spend a couple of days in a location far away from their home. And if they don’t want to ask their parents to book a room for them, they may opt for some of the following strategies. But please bear in mind that we don’t recommend doing this! It may bring you to bad situations.
Here are some popular ideas:
- Using a massive credit card to rent a room right on the spot. A hotel can agree to offend some laws and rules if they can hold some money on your credit card just in case.
- Cash deposit. You may pay by cash and most small hotels will agree to let you in. But make sure you have enough money to make a massive deposit. Hotels don’t tend to trust young guests.
- Use your parent’s credit card to book a room. You may say that your parent will join you in the evening. Not all hotels will allow you to do this, anyway.
- Ask your parent to write a letter of permission. This letter should allow you to book tickets, stay in hotel rooms, etc. Although this letter has no legal power, some hotels may let you in when they see it.
Again, these are NOT legal ways! If you try to use one of them in a big hotel that belongs to some well-known chain, chances are that a receptionist will ask you to wait in a lobby and will call the police. Finally, you will be in trouble when the police come and ask you why you need to book a room.
What are the alternatives?
Nevertheless, we know some alternatives you can use instead of booking a room in a hotel. If you are 17 years old, you can find other ways to get some place to sleep in a city in Florida. And some of these ways will be completely legal, while some will be half-legal. And they are still better than offending the law and trying to book a hotel room being 17 years old.
Here’s what we suggest:
- Private hostels. You can research forums and student websites to find some hostels in the city. Usually, the prices are really affordable, and these hostels will let you in with no problems. You will still need to make some deposit, and it should be cash.
- Guesthouses. These are basically hotels but they are administered by some family or even a single person. These are private houses that have a lot of rooms with everything you need for a good stay. The owners will be glad to offer you a room with a small cash deposit or even without it.
- Flats for rent. Again, you can rent a room in a flat or rent a flat without even showing your documents. Many flat owners will be glad to offer you accommodation and they will even charge less than an average hotel.
- Finding friends to stay with. If you have some relatives or friends in the city, you may call them and ask if they have some room for you. They may let you in or just recommend someone who rents out rooms.
Please bear in mind that some of these methods are half-legal and they can be dangerous for a young person. Never agree to stay in a hotel that doesn’t have a certain name and registration. Such hotels will never be safe places for young people. Also never agree to stay in a flat with strangers. Otherwise, you may be in trouble and no one will be able to help you.
How do I know what’s legal in Florida?
The US is not the best country for those who don’t like to study law. Every single state may have its own rules and you need to know them. As you may have heard, not knowing the law doesn’t help you avoid the responsibility for offending some rules.
So if you want to stay in a hotel and you are 17, you should do the following:
- call one of the hotels and ask for information about booking for minors – they will provide you with all legal information to consider;
- call the tourist information office – these are government-supported organizations that know everything about tourism, and they can give you relevant information;
- ask your parents for support – usually, they can call some hotel or get information online and help you sort out the situation;
- read about the rules of staying in a certain hotel – some hotels may have even stricter rules than all other hotels in the state.
Usually, we recommend young people to search for some information on the website of a certain hotel before booking or trying to book a room there. Also, you may call the reception of that hotel and ask your questions.
Make sure you only take legal actions – this will help you avoid any problems. Once you feel any danger, call the police or call your parents and ask for help.