In Australia and New Zealand, backpackers searching out accommodation options will often come across the name Base. Base hostels are a hostel chain, characterized by having large airy dorms, the flash girls only sanctuaries (available by paying an upgrade fee on top of the Base jumping card), and by the lively theme nights and activities such as free walking tours that most of the hostels offer to their guests.
Base Jumping Card Review
One of the products offered by Base hostels is the Base Jumping Card. This card, available in 10 night denominations is a sort of pre paid hostel accommodation card. The card can be redeemed for nights at any Base hostel or Base hostel affiliate.
The Base jumping card for Australia costs $249 for 10 nights, making the average cost of a stay $24.9. The Base jumping card for New Zealand costs $239 for 10 nights, making the average cost of a stay $23.9.
During our three month overland trip around Australia, we test drove these cards, and stayed at almost every Base hostel and Base affiliate hostel in the country. (stay tuned for our review of each specific Base hostel next week)
The Pros Of The Base Jumping Card
Base Hostels and Base Affiliates have hostels in most major tourist destinations – We found that pretty much every main tourist and backpacking hub had a Base hostel or Base hostel affiliate. Some of the more popular locations even had two (such as Brisbane and Cairns). The only places lacking a Base hostel in Australia is Adelaide in South Australia and Tasmania. However, these places are a little off the typical backpacker trail, so most backpackers to Australia will find that there is a Base hostel in almost every location they want to visit.
The Base Jumping Card helps you budget – You can purchase your base jumping card before your trip begins, or purchase it at the first Base hostel you visit. This allows you to pre pay for your accommodation in advance. This can be particularly helpful for those who are worried they may get carried away with all the amazing activities in Australia, and may overshoot their budget. With the Base jumping cards you can rest assured that you have your accommodation covered.
The Base Jumping Card is easy to use – Your Base jumping card will have a unique number on the back of it. In order to book your hostels, just call the hostel you wish to stay at, quote your card number and specify which nights you want to stay there. Since Lauren and I had planned our trip out in quite a bit of detail in advance, we were able to call ahead and book all our hostels in advance. When we arrived we simply showed our Base jumping card and were given our room key.
Base Jumping Cards save you money – With the Base jumping card, each night at a hostel will cost you $24.90 in Australian and $23.90 in New Zealand. When compared that the average price of a dorm bed in the hostels if booked directly can be up to $28 per night, this can be a big saving. However, there are some cases where it is better to save your Base Jumping cards for later… read on to find out when…
Base Jumping Cards are valid for 12 months – Base jumping cards are valid for 12 months from when the first night is redeemed. For most travellers, this is more than enough time to use up all your nights.
The Cons Of The Base Jumping Card
Sometimes it is cheaper to not use the card, do your research! – There are some instances when it pays to do your research in advance when it comes to the Base Jumping card. For example, some of the affiliate hostels may actually have a cheaper walk in price, than what you would spend with your Base jumping card.
One good example is Gilligans in Cairns, where a hostel dorm is only $18 per night. In other situations, the specific hostel may have packaged deals that may work out cheaper than using the card. For example, if you plan to go on a multi day boat trip in the Whitsunday Islands, you can purchase your boat trip through Base Airlie Beach and actually receive some of your hostel stays for free in return.
Lastly, an initiative recently introduced near the end is the pay with your key deposit scheme. This allows you to book a night at another Base hostel (Base affiliates are not included in this scheme) using your key deposit when you check out of another Base hostel. Since most key deposits are only $20, this works out cheaper than using your Base Jumping card.
Non transferable – Base jumping cards are non refundable and non transferable, which means you need to have a fairly good idea of how often you will be using it before you buy it.
Base jumping cards are not suitable for long term stays – The Base jumping card can only be used at one property for three consecutive nights. Which means you can leave for a week or two and then come back and use your card again, but you can’t decide to stay for the rest of your holiday in one spot with the card. It is the “Base jumping card” after all, not the “make this a permanent base card.” If you plan to stay in one spot for several weeks and want to save money, then consider approaching the hostel management and see if there are any exchange work for accommodation programs available.