Ask LH: Can I Stay In A Hotel Room When I’m Under 18?

Hi Lifehacker, Is it possible to stay in a hotel room if you’re under 18? I’m planning a trip to Melbourne, and I’ll be 17 (and a half) at the time. Any suggestions on how I can make such a booking? Thanks, Teen Traveller

Door picture from Shutterstock

Dear TT,

It’s certainly possible — no-one would be able to go on a schoolies trip if it wasn’t — but it will require a little more organisation. There are two issues to deal with: the fact that the hotel doesn’t want to be held responsible for taking care of someone who is still (in some sense) a minor, and the fact it wants to be sure that it will be paid for the room, any incidentals, and any damage.

The second issue is generally easier to deal with. Most hotels and motels ask for a credit card imprint when you check in. If you can persuade your parents to give you a card (most banks will issue additional cards to the primary account holder), you can easily manage that. Alternatively, you can leave a cash deposit which is returned when you check out.

If you don’t appear obviously under 18, then the question of your actual age is unlikely to come up. If you do look especially youthful, or you just want to be sure of doing the right thing, then the best option is to contact the hotel directly and explain your circumstances. This is a situation where booking online isn’t your best choice; picking up the phone will work much better.

For someone who is close to 18, this won’t be an issue most of the time, provided you don’t do anything obviously stupid like ordering an alcoholic drink at the hotel bar. If the first hotel you select says it won’t allow under-18 guests, try another — Melbourne has plenty of choice in this field.

If readers have any specific tips on how they’ve handled this situation, we’d love to hear them in the comments. Enjoy your trip!


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