Finding a good, secure place to stay wherever you’re visiting is essential to staying safe for the rest of your visit. While it can be tempting to walk around and try to find ‘the best deal’ or the ‘coolest place’ once you’re on the ground, it’s a good idea to find a place to stay for your first night beforehand, and avoid walking around with all of your belongings, which leaves you in a vulnerable position. Some hostels will allow you to store you bags in a locked room even if you’re not necessarily staying the night, and finding one that will let you do this, so you can go out with your essentials and have your other things safely stored away, can be a good route to take if you insist on waiting to make a decision until you see your options up close.
In Cusco and Lima Pariwana Hostels offer this option, and also have good security, so you can feel comfortable leaving your things for an afternoon, or spending the night. Some other places offer similar security, but the Pariwana model represents some good things to look for: a locking front door (thick iron construction doesn’t hurt) and a security camera or person doing visual checks before the door is opened, twenty four hour attention so that you can get back in and have somewhere safe to stay, even if you lose track of time, lockers to secure your things within the dormitories and a bag storage room for travelers that is locked by the desk and uses a tag system, ensuring no one else walks away with your things.
Another helpful feature is a reception team that speaks your language. If you speak Spanish, obviously this is an easy task, but many places, including Pariwana, staff bilingual teams that speak English, and sometimes even other languages. Finding a front desk you can communicate with can help you and your bags stay safe within the hostel, and makes it easier to ask for advice on local directions and travel directions, another key component to keeping safe from the moment you arrive, to when you get on the next bus.