Do You Need an ID To Check Into a Hotel?

The last thing you want to have to deal with after a long travel day is a stressful check-in at a hotel.

Making sure you have all the documents you need and doing some additional prep work can make the process much smoother. 

So do you need an ID to check into a hotel?

Hotels will usually require you to show some form of ID to check in. They have to make sure you are who you say you are and that you’re old enough to rent a room in their region. Requiring an ID is one way that hotels help keep their staff and guests safe. 

Hassle-Free Hotel Check-ins

You can make it incredibly simple to check into a hotel if you’re willing to go through a few easy steps before checking in. 

Even if it’s for a single night or you’re booking on the same day, make a reservation. This helps ensure there will be a room available for you at the time you check-in and makes sure you get the room you want for the duration of your stay. 

It’s also important to make a reservation because the hotel will be expecting you. Most hotels have a limited check-in time that stops in the early evening. After this time, it becomes more complicated to check-in, and find available rooms, and you may be charged differently. 

You should get a confirmation number for your reservation that you can present to the front desk when you check in. You’ll also be required to provide an ID at this time, whether it be a driver’s license, passport, state ID, or other forms of identification. 

This allows the hotel to verify that you are the person that made the reservation ad you are who you say you are. 

It also ensures you are old enough to rent a room and that the hotel is following legal guidelines for age restrictions. You can verify whether the minimum age is 18 or 21 with that hotel directly. 

It’s a security issue for hotels to allow guests to rent a room without an ID. They want to verify you aren’t a criminal or a potential danger to other guests. 

Your ID also allows them to ensure there isn’t any fraud associated with your reservation. Your name on the reservation confirmation, ID, and credit card you use should all match to ensure a smooth process. 

If these don’t match, at best you’ll be delayed in getting your room. At worst, you can be denied a room or charged with potential fraud. 

You can also present loyalty cards in addition to your ID and confirmation. If you stay with one hotel chain frequently, you can rack up reward points and free nights this way. 

If you have any questions you have regarding what counts as a valid ID, what you need for check-in, or about your room and charges, in particular, should call and ask the front desk before your stay.

Read More > How To Get a Hotel Room If You Are Under 18?

Why do hotels make a copy of your ID?

Hotels usually make a copy of your ID to keep on file during your stay and in case of any accidents or problems that arise while you’re there. 

It not only allows them to verify that you are who you say you are but lets them verify that you were staying at their hotel during that time period. 

For some hotels, copying your ID is a legal requirement set in place by the state or municipality the hotel is located in. It makes identifying you easier for authorities in the case that something happens. 

Most of the time, this is just a way to verify your identity and after you check out the hotel destroys their copy of your ID. 

This isn’t like putting your information in on a website where the site owner can then sell your browsing data. Hotels don’t sell any of your personal information and are required to get rid of that copy after you leave.

If you aren’t comfortable with what they do with the copy after your stay, you can ask for the copy back when you leave or watch them shred it before departing. 

Can you pay for a hotel in cash?

Hotels are allowed to set their own policies for accepted payments, but generally, you can pay for hotels with cash

Call ahead to ask the hotel if they accept cash payments for stays. You may need to give a credit card to hold your room, even if they accept cash. 

It may be necessary to visit the hotel before your stay to pay for the security deposit. Always ask for a receipt of that payment and verify that you won’t have any credit card charges if you still have to present one. 

When you check out, you should receive your cash security deposit back, minus any fees for damages or charges to your room like snacks, drinks, or movies. 

After a few days, verify that any holds on your card have been removed if you’ve paid with cash. 

Can a hotel refuse to accept cash?

Hotels can refuse to accept cash, as private businesses can set their own policies for accepting payment. 

They may also accept cash for payments but require a credit card to reserve rooms or for incidental charges. 

They can also refuse to accept cash as another security measure for verifying the identity of a guest. 

Usually, hotels won’t flatly refuse to accept cash but prefer guests use credit cards. 


Hotels will almost always require you to show them your ID when you check in. This allows them to verify that you’re the person who made the reservation, aren’t committing any form of fraud, and aren’t a danger to other guests. 

In addition to your ID, you’ll also need your confirmation number and the credit card that you used to make your reservation. All of these together are a security blanket for the hotel to help keep their staff and guests safe.