Hostelling Scotland celebrates its 90th birthday this month – and to mark the major milestone, the charity is offering free lifetime membership to any babies born in February 2021.
Each membership is worth £150 and offers the chance to save money every time people book a hostel stay. There is also a discount on private RentaHostel bookings, as well as dual membership of Hostelling International.
Members will enjoy a range of other benefits, from discounted admission to visitor attractions to savings at retail outlets and travel services across Scotland.
90 years of hostelling in Scotland
Scottish Hostelling – formerly Scottish Youth Hostels Association – was founded in 1931 with the aim of making more of Scotland more accessible to more people, especially young people.
The self-funded charity is the largest participant in the youth hostel market in Scotland. The membership organisation has more than 8000 lifetime members, 33 youth hostels and 27 affiliate hostels.
In recent years the network has welcomed up to 380,000 guests annually with a turnover of £9 million and an estimated annual contribution to the Scottish visitor economy of £25 million. Many visitors are keen to explore Scotland's great outdoors, including hiking trail, hills and mountains.
Like many hospitality providers, the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the organisation hard, with an 89% drop in annual operational income, which has resulted in a £2 million operational loss in 2020.
Even so, Hostelling Scotland is keen to celebrate its 90th year.
- Choose the best hiking backpack for your trip.
- Check out the buying guide to the best women's backpacks.
- Munro bagging is a popular pursuit for travellers to Scotland.
Scottish Hostelling looks forward
Margo Paterson, CEO of Hostelling Scotland, reflected on a challenging 202, but looked forward to when the hostels can welcome travellers back.
She said: “As we reflect on our most challenging year since 1931 and celebrate being 90 years young, we are determined that 2021 will be a year of positivity and hope, celebrating our hostelling family’s past, present and future.
“We are delighted to enable a new generation of hosteller to experience travel and adventure across this beautiful country of ours, exploring new places, making memories and friendships to last a lifetime.
“We are looking forward to welcoming our guests to our youth hostels once again when the time is right and it is safe to do so.”
Any child born in February 2021 is eligible for a free lifetime membership. You can sign up your child or grandchild at Free Lifetime Membership before March 31, 2021.
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Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.