Coming of age is a really fun and exciting time in everyone’s life. Ideas start sprouting, and traveling is usually at the top of everyone’s list. Whether it be a road trip, glamping, or international travel, we want in! Unfortunately, there are rules, regulations, and laws in place that can hinder the average teenagers’ ability to travel solo.
In this article, we’re going to look at the following topics:
- Can a 16-year-old Book A Hotel on Their Own?
- Are Hotels Allowed To check in 16-year-olds?
- Countries You Can Stay In A Hotel At 16.
- Why It Can Be Dangerous.
- How To Budget For Your Trip.
- Airlines That Allow Unaccompanied Minors to Travel Alone.
Can a 16-Year-Old Book A Hotel On Their Own?
In most countries, you are definitely looking at a NO. There is some leeway granted, though, when it comes to who you are traveling with, how old they are, and If you have an apostle from your parents or guardians.
The United States of America.
Usually, when booking a hotel, a credit card is required. Along with that, you will also need some form of identification. Most hotels don’t allow 16-year-olds because of their liability policy. If you are a minor (under the age of 18), you cannot legally be held liable for any damages or inconveniences that may occur.
It will be wise to contact the hotel beforehand, to find out what their policy is. Some hotels may allow your parents or guardians to book the hotel for you, but might be reluctant to check you in alone.
The United Kingdom.
Slacker rules than the US, the UK allows 18-year-olds and up, to check into hotels. Some hotels may vary, though, and good practice will be to call or email the hotel to double-check. Travelodge Hotels, for example, allow bookings of persons aged 16, but solo check-ins are not allowed. Keep in mind though, if you are under 16 you will need to be accompanied by a guardian of at least 18 years old.
Asia is an entirely different ball game. With the majority countries being 3rd worldly and cultures, rules, laws, and way of life are completely opposite of what we know in the US.
- Japan – Japan is a little tricky as they have become stricter with their policies. You will need a guardian of at least 18 to check in with you.
- Vietnam – Again, it would be wise to email or call. In most 4 – 5-star hotels, you probably won’t be able to book a room. But if you opt for a lower grade hotel, owners usually don’t ask too many questions, as long as you have cash in hand.
- China – China might be a bit stricter than Vietnam, and you’re most likely going to need your parents to book the hotel for you. But in smaller towns, the hotel owners might accept you if you have cash in hand.
Are Hotels Allowed To Check In 16-Year-Olds?
The biggest issue is that as a minor, aged under 18, you can’t be held liable for payments and damages. Not only that, but the hotel could actually be held responsible if something happens to you.
What Can Happen If You Get Caught Lying About Your Age?
The worst thing that can happen on any fun, and technically illegal, adventure is getting caught. Nothing serious will happen unless you broke or stole something. Your parents will most likely be called, and you will be escorted out of the hotel.
How Not To Get Caught.
The first tell will always be your behavior. If you feel nervous, you will look nervous. So the trick is to pretend as if you belong there. You have to believe you aren’t doing anything wrong, for you to pass as not doing anything wrong! It’s pretty simple, but humans respond to emotions, and emotions give you away.
Can The Hotel Get In Trouble If Lie?
Well, yes. The hotel will be held liable if anything happens to you in or on their premises without your guardians’ or parents’ knowledge. It’s really not a good idea to lie and sneak into a hotel, there are a lot of consequences that we don’t even think about. So rather just ask your parents to check in with you or maybe go with a friend or sibling that is 18 or older.
Countries You Can Stay In A Hotel At 16
Some countries have stricter rules than others. Some countries’ citizens couldn’t care less about the rules. So, in some countries, you might get away with traveling and booking hotels solo as a minor, and in others not so much. Here is a quick guide.
Chances are you will need your parents or a guardian that is of age, to accompany you. You have to be at least 18 years old to check in solo. Sorry, but it seems you won’t be able to check into any hotels at the age of 16 without a guardian present. If you are 17 or 18 though, you just require your parents’ credit card, have them call the hotel, and allow all charges and/or liabilities.
You can call or email the following hotels to double-check their check-in Regulations.
- Hilton Hotels. Their check-in age may be as low as 18. They are affiliated with and not limited to Conrad, DoubleTree, Hampton Inn, and Tru.
- Starwood Hotels
- Hyatt Hotels
- Motel 6
Such a breathtaking country. Of course, you are going to want to go to Mexico. Unfortunately, if you’re a minor, your luck is up when it comes to checking in solo. Most hotels require that you be at least 18, and some hotels are strictly adults-only 21+.
Thailand takes out all the stops and requires you to show your passport when checking in. Within reason, Thailand is known for its late-night shenanigans and tomfoolery. Checking in too many hotels requires strictly 21+ proof of identification.
Why Can It Be Dangerous?
As we said, many hotels do not allow minors to check in unaccompanied due to legal regulations. The hotel can be held liable if anything should happen to an unaccompanied minor on their premises, so they avoid that route, almost in its entirety.
It also poses a risk of physical danger. Each of us needs to experience freedom and fun, traveling solo, checking into hotels in Vegas, and getting smashed, but everything to come shall come at the right time. 16-year-olds shouldn’t be parading in hotels and hotel bars unless you have your family or someone you trust with you.
There are also so many scams, thieves, and dangerous people, trying to make a quick buck! And let’s face it, they are more likely to target a solo teen rather than a family or a group of friends.
How To Budget For A Solo Trip
Running out of money while you’re on a trip, is the worst! Let’s take a look at how you can make the best out of your budget.
- Accommodation – Unless you plan on living glamorously, you should opt for a motel or homestay instead of a hotel. Motels and homestays are much cheaper than hotels, and besides, you didn’t fly to Mexico, so you could stay in bed right?!
- Transportation – Usually, the country you are in should have some kind of transport service or app. So instead of being overcharged for taxis, do some research and save hundreds on Taxi fares.
- Food – If you are a foodie, this might be a blessing! Eating local and from street vendors are usually the cheapest, yummiest, and most authentic food experience you could ask for. Especially if you are in Vietnam, China, Korea, India, Japan, and Thailand.
- Spending money – A good rule of thumb is, if it’s your money and your debts are paid, no one should care how much you spend. As long as you don’t tap yourself out or have a steady income stream, you should do you.
Airlines That Allow Unaccompanied Minors to Travel Alone.
Most airlines allow unaccompanied minors to fly with them because they have designated staff that takes care of them. Parents or guardians who wish to send their kids to the family for the summer, need only to fill out an unaccompanied minor form, that your child needs to keep on them at all times during their journey. You will also need to provide a birth certificate or passport at the check-in.
You can call or email these airlines to double-check on their policies, but they should provide safe passage for your minor.
- Aer Lingus – Minors from 12+ can fly unaccompanied to most local and international locations.
- American Airlines – Children from 5+ can travel to most local and international locations alone. But the airline requires an ‘unaccompanied minors’ fee of $150.
- KLM – Offers a junior jet lounge at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and Minors as young as 5 years old can fly national and international with the unaccompanied minor service!
- United Airlines – offers a free meal and entertainment. Allowing minors from 5+ to travel unaccompanied.