YHA/VIP Backpackers cards

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific YHA/VIP Backpackers cards

1. Posted by Tina Bean (Budding Member 48 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Was just wondering if these were worth having? I understand they can only be used in certain hostels. I think they can also be used for reduced transport fares. Anyone got any experience of them and would recommend getting one?


2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5296 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Yes, they earn themselves back in no time. Usually you have a preference for the types of hostels belonging to / affiliated with one organization or the other (where YHA is generally speaking (individual hostels may differ) more quiet, and VIP more party oriented). YHA gives $4 discount per night, VIP $1/$2, but VIP hostels are generally speaking slightly cheaper than YHA hostels to start out with, so that evens out. A YHA card earns itself back in 10 nights staying at those hostels, a VIP card in roughly 15 nights.
Transport discounts e.a. are equal - in fact most transport companies say "discount with any backpacker card", not even bothering to name them. (There's also Nomads, BBH (in New Zealand), and ISIC falls under this category as well most of the time.)

3. Posted by cleanboy (Budding Member 58 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

is it possible to simply buy one of these cards from the hostel ur stayin at? or do u have to order one online beforehand?

4. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5296 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

You can buy them at the hostels, no problem.

5. Posted by Paul_H (Budding Member 29 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Sander pretty much sums it all up for you. I signed up for a YHA card in NZ. I think it was $40NZD and I don't know if it was a special deal or not because I received one night free ($20) and you get roughly $2-3 off a night so you do make your money back quickly. If you have a card, you not only can get discount on travel but you can even get money off entrance to some places or activities.

I stayed in YHA hostels all over the South Island of NZ and they were great. I even met some people in one hostel and ended up travelling the rest of the South Island with them. You also have the benefit of being able to book ahead your bed so it don't have to worry about arriving late and having to hunt for somewhere to sleep. Most YHA cards are actually now part of the Hostelling International Group and so I even got to use my card when I got to Washington DC. If you don't have membership and you stay at a YHA/HI you will have to pay $3-4 extra a night.

I found it really useful but at the end of the day it is personal choice

6. Posted by tomtom2 (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I got a VIP backpackers card before I flew out for Australia, it paid for itself quite quickly actually, I have used it for discounts for buses, hostels and for free entry into one club thus far. I chose the VIP one because I thought they have more hostels then YHA in Australia and NZ, but I could wrong. I bought it off their website, took about a week to arrive. Would recommend

7. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

If you're going to get a YHA card, it's probably best to buy it before you leave the UK. And my advice is to buy one from the Scottish YHA (rather than England & Wales) as it's cheaper:

  • YHA England & Wales: £15.95/year (£210 life membership)
  • YHA Scotland: £8/year (£80 life membership)

So there's quite a difference between them - took me quite some time before I found this out for myself!! If you have a residential address anywhere within the EU (including England, like me), you can buy membership with the Scottish YHA.

YHA England & Wales
YHA Scotland