Hi. I'm a 22 year old male who is looking to go backpacking for the first time, and in Asia. My dad told me recently that when he went backpacking, 30 years or so ago, he had a membership in the official "Youth Hostel Association", which apparently was a network of hostels that, if you got a membership, you would have access to. I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of that association was actually, haha. Anyhow, is this association still around, and if so, how can I get information on it and become a member myself?
Yeah, it's still around It's part of a large organisation called Hostelling International. There are 3 YHAs; YHA Australia, YHA New Zealand and YHA England/Wales. But they're all part of the Hostelling International (HI) group. In total there are 90 associations that are part of HI. And yes, you can become a member of HI to get some extra discounts.
Lots of the HI hostels are also listed right here on Travellerspoint in the Hostel section.
Hope that helps!
Thanks for the informative response, Peter. So none of the 3 Hostel Associations you mentioned have hostels in southeast Asia? That's where I am planning on travelling.
Well, no, because they are the country specific ones. But they're all part of Hostelling International, which has hostels all over the world including southeast Asia. Your dad was probably referring to HI.
I think in Asia it's called the YMCA hotels.
Google for YMCA international house and you'll see.
ppaulinee: No, The YMCA is an entirely different organization (with religious rather than idealistic origins).
"Hostelling International" (HI) is the 'new' name for what used to be the "International Youth Hostel Federation" (IYHF), the federation of 90+ national hostelling organizations, some of which go (as Peter said) by the name "Youth Hostel Association" (YHA). Membership at _any_ national organization which is a member of HI gives you the discounts of _all_ the member organizations. Prices of most national memberships are roughly equivalent and generally pay themselves back after staying for ten nights at participating hostels, though sometimes there's a small benefit in becoming a member in one country rather than another. Many (all?) national organizations also offer a lifetime membership, but as far as I know you can only get that from the organization in the country where you live.
In South East Asia you won't be staying in hostels anyway - most travellers stay in budget guesthouses which are very cheap and great value. Malaysia was the only country where I stayed in hostels.