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I have an identity card, but I have never travelled to a different country.

I'm planning next year to fly from Lithuania to Cologne, Germany, to an event that will probably take place for a couple of days. I would only be either at the Lanxess Arena, eating, or in a hotel. After that I would fly home.

Can a 16 year old fly alone in the European Union, check into a hotel, and pay the hotel in cash?

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There are two questions here: reserving a room and staying in it. Many will say the first one is easy, you are a minor, can't enter into a contractual relationship so you can't reserve a room. That's something your parents will need to do.

However for Austria and Germany this is not exactly so as there is https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taschengeldparagraph specifying how minors can do low amount transactions and so if you are 16 you can to call the relevant http://www.jugendherberge.de/ and they might reserve a bed for you (understand please the risk is much higher for them as you still can't make a binding contract but in general they will, 16 is not so young and it's just a bed for a few nights and this is why a hostel is a better choice, a hotel would risk an entire room) and when you show up with written parental consent to travel they will let you check in (http://www.jugendherberge.de/de-DE/FAQ/Jugendherbergen) finally you will need a membership from DJH which can be bought on spot.

While I can't find on their website, this page claims the Jugendherberge Köln-Deutz not only accepts cash but in fact is is cash only. Another reason to work with Jugendherberge.

As for flying, in general above 16 there are no problems as you are staying within Schengen borders so you won't even meet immigration. You need to carry written parental consent anyways which the airline might ask for. Having a passport simplifies things, you can get away with national IDs typically but a passport makes life simpler.

Have fun! Travelling alone is awesome, I started at 16 too.

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    I've never traveled around Schengen with a national ID card, but from my observations I find it difficult to believe that those doing so would have a less "simple" time of it than EU/EEA citizens traveling with a passport. What complications might one encounter when trying to use an ID card? – phoog Aug 2 '16 at 6:24
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    Passports are ICAO 9303 standardized documents. Here are two Hungarian ID cards nol.hu/data/cikk/1/58/48/95/cikk_1584895/16042-szemelyi_MTI.jpg tisztessegesadatkezeles.hu/img/images/HU_ID-0.jpg It's way easier to determine whether a passport is a legit doc than the same with an id card. – chx Aug 2 '16 at 10:09
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    The ID cards seem to have been ICAO compliant as well, since 2000. See consilium.europa.eu/prado/en/prado-documents/hun/b/index.html. – phoog Aug 2 '16 at 12:32
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    Agree with @phoog that a passport doesn't simplify anything in the EU. When traveling within most of Europe (EU plus some other countries) I don't even start thinking about the passport. Never have I gotten a strange look because I traveled with an ID card. On the contrary, you have to take a lot more care of a passport, which is easily damaged. – Some wandering yeti Aug 2 '16 at 12:53
  • Also, the ID page of the Dutch passport is basically an oversized version of the Dutch ID card (ca. 1 mm thick plastic, the works). It's far more counterfeit-proof than my US passport's ID page. It's therefore quite possible that a Dutch ID card is more secure than a US passport, not less. – phoog Aug 2 '16 at 13:06

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