The question of age requirements for hotels in Europe is super popular. So we decided to dedicate an article to this important fact. You may know that the usual requirement for a person to book and use a hotel room is being 18 years of age. All over Europe, you will find more or less the same rules for hotels. But still, we know many cases when people under 18 managed to book and live in a hotel room without any problems. Again, this doesn’t meet the requirements in most cases, so it’s not completely legal, but it’s possible.
Today, we are going to tell you more about this. We’ll look at requirements in different countries, will tell you what you actually need and don’t need when you book a hotel in Europe, and we’ll also show some tricks that you probably want to know.
Here are some of the questions we’ll answer:
- Can a person of 16 or 17 years of age book a hotel in Europe?
- Will hotel staff ask you to show your ID card?
- Will you need a credit card to use hotel services?
- What can a hotel do if they know you are younger than 18?
Let’s get started!
Official rules and regulations
You have to bear in mind that in most cases, hotels will require credit cards to book a room. Also, if you book a room via credit card using Booking or any other service like this, you won’t be required to show your ID when taking your key at the reception. So booking your room alone when you are under 18 years old may be difficult because you aren’t likely to have your credit card with all the rights to book hotels.
Though, many countries allow people under 18 years old to get their credit cards. These cards don’t offer full services and the banks can restrict some kinds of operations including hotels booking. But it all depends highly on your bank and its rules.
But let’s keep now to official rules. Most hotels in Europe will require you to be at least 18 years of age to book a room. Also, many hotels will forbid you to stay alone if you are under 18. But please bear in mind that in most countries in Europe the law doesn’t regulate that question much. And it’s more of an inner policy of a certain hotel.
What you need to do to learn more about your chosen hotel is visit its website and check on that information. If you can’t find it anywhere on the website (although it’s easy, all hotels write about their rules of staying), you can just call them or write them a message to find it out.
What are legal ways to stay in a hotel when you are under 18?
Well, if you see that a certain hotel doesn’t allow people under 18 years of age to stay alone (unaccompanied by adults), you aren’t likely to stay there with no problems, Better find a hotel with different rules.
Many hotels will say that bookings are only possible for people who are 18 or over. But when you book a hotel, you can book it for another person. For example, if your parent or older brother books a hotel room using their credit cards, they will just need to write your name and surname to let you stay in that hotel room.
Of course, it’s very important to write correct information when you apply. If you write the wrong age or family name, this can cause some problems. No, they don’t ask for an ID card in most cases, but still, the risks are high.
The rules look pretty much the same as with airlines. You aren’t allowed to book a ticket until you are 18 years old, but you are allowed to fly unaccompanied by your parents or any other adult people. It’s just important to let the airlines know that you are flying alone so that the crew could pay attention to your comfort. The same works with hotels in Europe.
Every country has different rules
Although Europe is a united economic area, the countries within the Union may have different rules. Even if you look at the age of getting a credit card, it will differ much. For example, in Romania, Spain, Belgium, and many other countries people aged 18 or more can apply for a credit card. In France and Bulgaria, you will need to be 16 years of age, and in Hungary, it’s only 14 years old. In Latvia, 7-year-olds can get credit cards which is ridiculous at first sight.
The same works with hotels. In some countries, the rules are strict while in others they are very democratic. In most European countries you will be able to find some hotels that don’t have strict rules for people under 18. If you are under 16, it’s virtually impossible to book a room in any country, but being 16 or 17 you can do that.
In the US things are different. Booking a hotel is legally seen as signing a contract. And signing contracts with minors is illegal. So you will need to be 18 or more to book a hotel. European laws are more democratic for people under 18, so you can legally book a room and stay in a hotel without adults if you are 16 or 17 years old. Although, some hotels will have restrictions.
What can you do if a hotel doesn’t allow people under 18?
Our best recommendation: find another hotel. Nearly all European cities and towns have a wide choice of hotels and you will be able to find quite a lot of options for your accommodation. So if one of the hotels doesn’t allow teenagers under 18 to stay alone in a room, there is another hotel that will allow this.
We highly recommend investigating before you actually need a room. You can do it via booking websites or via official websites of hotels. Just write messages to hotel staff or call them and ask directly about your situation. If the hotel allows people under 18, they will tell you what you should have with you so that your stay would be possible. If they don’t allow this, they will tell you what you can legally do to stay in their hotel.
Sometimes a booking from adults with a letter from them saying that they allow you to stay in that hotel room will be needed. It all depends on the inner rules and regulations of a certain hotel. Please make sure you don’t break any rules, otherwise, your stay may be very adventurous, just like the one in that old film called “Home Alone 2”.
Steps you can do to legally book a hotel room when you are under 18
- Ask your parent or sibling who is over 18 to book a hotel for your name using their credit card.
- Call the hotel you chose and find out if they allow children under 18 to stay alone in a hotel room.
- Find out officially what you will need to stay in a hotel room. For this, you may use any official source or any law that concerns the rules of staying in hotels in the targeted country.
- Ask your parent to write and sign a letter explaining why you need to stay alone in the hotel room. This may help even if the hotel has some restrictions.
What can go wrong?
Well, if you don’t follow these steps that we’ve shown above, you may get into trouble. Mainly, the problems may be in the process of getting your key. You may use any tricks to legally or half-legally book the room, but then, when a receptionist will be about to give you the key, he or she may suppose you aren’t over 18 years of age. This will lead to problems.
The consequences of this highly depend on what country you are in. In most cases you will get such problems:
- the hotel won’t allow you to stay in the room even though it was booked and paid for;
- the hotel receptionist will call the police and you will have to spend a lot of time trying to explain to them what happened;
- the hotel may give you the key but then call the police and report a suspicious case;
- they may ask for your ID or any other document that shows your identity, and here you aren’t likely to have anything like that.
Of course, hotels don’t have any right to just take your money and send you back to the streets. They will try to act according to the rules, but you won’t like it anyway. In most cases, you will need to speak to the police, and the police officers will make some effort to learn why you are alone and why you are in a country far away from home. This may take days, and you will need to spend time in the police instead of having some fun in the hotel.
It’s very hard to say whether you can or can’t book a hotel room and stay in it if you are under 18. All countries will have their own rules and restrictions, also, many hotels will have their own additional rules. So, the best option for you is to just follow the simple instructions given in this article: call the hotel staff, get needed information, find out what you should do in your case. This will save you days of your time and loads of your nerves.
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