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Old Nov 27, 12, 9:55 am
Flying Redhead
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Iowa, USA
Posts: 48
Originally Posted by flame7926 View Post
I am from the US, I guess I just spell travelling weird.

First off, what is a notarized letter necessary for? If I am walking on the street here, no one will stop me and ask for a note. Is it a legal requirement to have one? Is someone likely to stop you on the street and ask for identification, or is it more customs and immigration?
The notarized letter is a backup. Some may not ask for it but for the cheap cost of asking a notary to stamp/sign a letter it's a handy tool to have just incase it's requested. It's odd enough for a minor to be traveling alone that it might raise eyebrows and the questions of "are you running away? Are you running away from legal issues?" etc. Also, the assumption is that if your parents know that you're traveling and approved of it you're unlikely to be the kind to cause as many problems. A bit illogical maybe, but often true. It's easier to just have the letter if it's requested. Your parents can probably have that done at your bank/credit union for $10-20.

I read other places that the problem with a hotel is the contract you sign, when you are under the age of majority contracts aren't binding. Do they really have a reason to care though as long as you have a card
Yes. Basically if the contract isn't binding and you run up a ton of charges and don't pay for them, they might not be able to collect from you. Plus if you're using a debit card a hotel might put a hold on on your account for an amount much higher than your planned stay to cover for incidentals and/or damages. That hold might not be cleared right away so you might plan on $100 for a hotel for a couple nights and really have $300 held unavailable in your account for a few days after you've checked out.

The easiest way to do this is to get the letter (it's a cheap and easy way to prevent possible issues so why not have it?) and to plan your lodging ahead of time. You can make sure that they'll allow an unaccompanied minor to stay. Another useful tool is to get a credit card. You're under 18 so the account can't be in your name but your parents can get a card and make you an authorized signer with a card of your own. You put the lodging on the credit card and then there is no inconvenient hold on a debit card. Depending on how long you'd be gone you can pay your parents ahead of time and they can pay the bill when it comes or you can have it pulled out of your checking account automatically. Do remember that the credit card has to be paid off in full when the bill comes. :P
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