Leaving valuables in a hostel while climbing a volcano?
November 21, 2016 1:18 PM   Subscribe

Some companions and I will be climbing Acatenango near Antigua, Guatemala in January and our hostel (El Hostel) has lockers we can rent while overnighting on the volcano. What should we leave behind to lighten our loads and keep safe?

Would this keep anything safe?

Is it advisable to leave some of our belongings in a hostel in this manner? Any suggestions what we should definitely keep on us (passports, cash) and what we should leave behind (my weird dietary requirement tins of rations for the trip).

Any experience doing such a thing? We will likely be doing something similar in a hotel (note the lack of an "s" - I am hoping there are safes and will find out soon) near Coban because we will be exploring the Candalaria cave system on our own and I don't really want to bring my passport into the cave with me.

Its been a while since I have travelled out of country and never done these kinds of rugged things in other countries where I need to keep up with my passport.

Any suggestions? Ziplock/waterproof bags?
posted by buttermilkmeeks to Travel & Transportation around Guatemala (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's possible to buy mesh bags that go around your backpack, with a cable to lock them to furniture (or whatever is in the locker, maybe). A dedicated thief can still slash your bag and get stuff out, or cut the cable, or... but it's better than nothing.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:31 PM on November 21, 2016

Best answer: I've done this before quite a few times. Leave clothing and toiletries that you don't need for the hike/climb behind. I usually bring originals of my ids along but leave a copy in the bag that I leave behind. You can pick up a dry bag at REI to carry passports and electronics or double bag them in ziplock. My 3L dry bag is enough to hold my passport, phone, Kindle, and a small wallet.
posted by asphericalcow at 1:32 PM on November 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I tend to leave every single thing I have with me that I won't need during the adventurous bit, with the exception of anything I would need to travel home, so that's passport, any essential travel documents and money. Those go somewhere very waterproof on my actual person (for me that's double bagged in ziplock bags, but I don't tend to do anything that involves falling into water).

I've travelled with a pacsafe (one of those mesh bags) before and found that a) it was heavy compared to the rest of my pack) and b) I didn't use it. They're easy to get through given even a little time and they just get in the way.

I feel you are better off packing mainly things you wouldn't cry over if they were stolen.
posted by kadia_a at 1:55 PM on November 21, 2016

Best answer: First of all, check your renter or homeowner insurance policy. It's pretty common for those to cover property theft while traveling.

My planning goals on such trips are to maximize fun and minimize the risk of Severe Not-Fun. So I'll bring the stuff I need to have fun and stay safe on the outing, and I'll also bring stuff I'd need to prevent a logistical snag from turning into a big problem. If I'm delayed or diverted while returning to my stuff, I'd need: Cash, credit cards, passport, and any important medication. Depending on your dietary situation maybe some food goes on that list too.

Everything else gets left behind. If I were you, I'd email the hostel about the lockers. Specifically I'd wonder about their size and whether you can/need to provide your own lock.
posted by aubilenon at 3:34 PM on November 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I stay at El Hostal all the time! The staff is super friendly and helpful, and everyone I've met there has been great. I've never had anything stolen there, and I leave things on my bed a lot. I've even stashed my laptop under the mattress while I went out for the day and it was fine.

I attach a thin chain around my backpack through split rings I put on all the zipper pulls and padlock it to the bed. I've also camouflaged my pack so it looks old and dirty, and sewed ratty patches over the brand logos.

I don't remember how big the lockers are . . .I don't think they're big enough for a full 60L bag. I'm pretty sure you need your own lock. Put any expensive electronics in there.

As Kadia_a says, leave everything you don't need to adventure and get home with. I usually put passport, cash, and credit cards in a waterproof belt wallet under my clothing if I'm going to be out for more than just the day.

Have fun!
posted by ananci at 4:09 PM on November 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

I might be more concerned about the safety of my items and my person on the hike itself. I haven't done the hike myself, and so I don't have first-hand knowledge, but what I was told was that hiring an armed (*shiver*) guide/guard is customary because of ambush banditos along the way up the volcano.
posted by univac at 9:45 AM on November 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

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