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YHA/HI, VIP, Roam Free or Nomads cards?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific YHA/HI, VIP, Roam Free or Nomads cards?

1. Posted by Lucia2580 (Budding Member 9 posts) 9y

Hi Guys,

I'm heading off to Australia for a 4 month trip in 3 weeks and I was wondering if anyone has used any of the above discount cards while travelling, and if so which would you recommend is the best? Also, can these be bought in the UK before I go?

Many thanks,

Lucia

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4811 posts) 9y

Don't think of these things as "discount cards". Think of them as hostel organization membership cards. Then pick the one of the hosteling organization you prefer to stay with. (And if you don't know which one that is, sample each before buying the card.)
Generalizing a lot (individual hostels will differ, and a lot of the atmosphere in a place is formed by the people staying there at any particular time), YHA/HI Hostels are quieter, clean, offering a good night's rest, but the larger hostels often feel impersonal (although they also have a lot of awesome tiny cozy hostels). VIP hostels are preferred by a more party-oriented crowd, and either have all the latest facilities, or are really run down (there doesn't seem to be an in between). Nomads have a more alternative atmosphere.
I've never heard of "roam free", so can't tell you anything about it.
Personally I prefer YHA hostels.

As for the discounts beyond those on hostels - those are all exactly equivalent. The vast majority of what you'll be using it for will be transport, and transport organizations really don't care which one you have - they just say "any backpacker card", and usually do ISIC as well. Then there's bookstores and camping stores, but where card A will have a deal with store X, card B will have a deal with absolutely equivalent store Y, so that really doesn't matter.

And yes, you can get the cards in the UK as well. Just go to the respective websites, or a hostel belonging to the respective organization, and get a membership. But you can just as easily get a card when you first check in upon arrival in Australia (and they often give you a package with a booklet containing all hostels by that organization in that country, plus a $5 calling card, so it's worth it to get one there).

3. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 9y

In Australia you would get a small discount in some hostels (only YHA hostels) using the HI/YHA card. That card also can give big discounts on train travel if you were to do an enormous train journey like Adelaide-Darwin. You also get a % discount on Greyhound bus tickets as well using th YHA card. I don't know about any of the other cards though.

4. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 9y

normally the HI/YHA hostels are more expensive than the other hostels around, but most of the time they are better quality with little or no atmosphere.

5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4811 posts) 9y

YHA membership cards give $3.50 discount on a night's stay in YHA hostels, where VIP and Nomands give $1 or $2 at their respective hostels. That offsets most of the higher base cost of YHA hostels.

6. Posted by kevstump (Full Member 123 posts) 9y

If you wanna have a lot of fun then get a VIP card as every good hostel i have stayed at give a discount with these. Unless you are 60, you wont want to stay in the YHA hostels - we got kicked out of one in Newcastle for making too much noise at 10pm! But to be fair, the irish lads i am with are fairly rowdy ...haha

7. Posted by Oakey (Budding Member 64 posts) 9y

So these cards will get discounts on transport also?

So the VIP hostels are for the more Party Orientated!?!? Think that would suit me...

Are the differnt hostel organisations just as abundant as each other then?

8. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4811 posts) 9y

Quoting Oakey

So these cards will get discounts on transport also?

Yes.

So the VIP hostels are for the more Party Orientated!?!?

Not all VIP hostels will be party-hostels. Many won't. But in general, yes, those hostels that are preferred by the party-oriented will be VIP-hostels.

Are the differnt hostel organisations just as abundant as each other then?

VIP has far fewer hostels worldwide than the YHA (especially noticeable in the Americas and such). But for Australia and New Zealand, they have roughly the same amount of hostels (you won't notice the difference; there'll be one of your favorite organization in pretty much every single destination you'll visit).