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The following hostel passes provide cheaper rates – around ten percent off – on accommodation at member hostels, and entitle you to a wide range of other discounts on everything from bus tickets and tours to phone calls, museum entry fees and meals.

Probably of most use in Australia is a VIP Backpacker Card (whttp://www.vipbackpackers.com), which doubles as a rechargeable eKit phone card with a few dollars’ worth of phone calls factored into the price of the card (Aus$43 a year). At present, there are around 125 member hostels around the country, and your card will also be valid at one hundred more in New Zealand.

Nomads (whttp://www.nomadsworld.com) works along similar lines; its card, which also doubles as a rechargeable phone card, costs Aus$37 a year. Its network comprises about thirty hostels in Australia, many of them in old pubs, a few of them “working hostels” in country areas, and in New Zealand and Fiji.

The International YHA card is available through your national youth hostel association before you leave home, or you can buy a one-year Hostelling International card in Australia for Aus$42, or Aus$32 for under-26s. YHA Membership and Travel Centres (t02/9281 9444, whttp://www.yha.com.au) can be found in state capitals and at many YHA hostels. Australian YHA hostels number around 100, with thousands more worldwide.

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