Goa – the name is enough to get you jumping in your seats and get all excited about the zillions of ways to ‘chill’ at the coastal town. However, being the most crowded town hustling with travellers, tourists and backpackers, this place is also the one where you should look out for your safety. There are tricksters, fraud agents, pocket pickers, burglars and every other kind of danger, like in any other global tourist destination. But a little care could go a long way in keeping you safe and letting you enjoy one of the best trips you will ever have!
Here are a few things you need to look out for:
1. Best time to visit
October to January is considered to be the best time to visit Goa. This is the time when winters hit the coastal country so the days are warm, the nights are cold, the sea is calm, every restaurant and shack is open for business and the whole atmosphere is filled with festivities and celebrations. Goa, being a Christian majority statee, Christmas is celebrated vividly. The streets are lit up, the children sing carols for tourists and the food is at its scrumptous best at every restaurant. New Year celebrations are nothing less. It could probably be the best way to welcome the New year with sand in your feet under a sky lit with fireworks!
2. Always book your stay much in advance
Goa is crowded with tourists & hence there are thousands of options to find a place to stay. However, it is best recommended that you find and fix on a place to stay at, much in advance of departing for your trip. This ensures that you have enough time to research on the location of your stay and facilities that they provide you. It also helps in finding the best deals offered by hotels and cottages so that you do not end up paying exorbitant amounts just because you book at the last minute.
3. Carry attested document copies
For non-nationals as well as Indian nationals, it is always safer to carry attested copies of all your documents rather than to carry the original ones. Goa being a crowded tourist destination both on and off season, there are high chances that you might end up losing your bags or documents. The process to file and register a complaint would be enugh to kill the fun in your trip. Better be safe than sorry.
4. Carry Plastic Cash as much as possible
As mentioned earlier, Goa is always filled with the never ending energy of tourists from world over. It is quite easy that there could be someone waiting for a chance to flick your wallets. Be careful of pick-pockets and it is always recommended that you carry plastic cash like credit/debit/exchange cards rather than carrying currencies. There are a number of ATM machines installed across the state and is a convienient option than walking around in Goa hoping to find a stolen wallet!
5. Watch what you eat
To cater to the ever increasing number of tourists visiting the state, there are a number of shacks, stalls, restaurants, hotels and home-cooked food available across the state. However, make sure that you watch what you are eating. Indian food, in general, is quite spicy and if you are not used to it can cause you tummy problems. Rice, seafood, coconut, vegetables, and local spices are some of the traditional main ingredients in Goan cuisine. However, Goan cuisine is quite famous for their rare mix of Hindu, Islamic and Christian cultures in culinary styles. So make sure you carry your appetite along when you visit Goa.
6.Driving is on the left lane, keep your Driving License handy
You can find a number of shops that rent out scooters, bikes, cars and SUVs in Goa. Foreign nationals need to remember that driving in India is on the left lane and that you need to keep your international driving license to drive around. Make sure you strike a bargain when you look out to rent a vehicle.
7. Shopping and bargains
Being a tourist destiantion on a coastal area, you will find innumerable shops selling everything from clothes to artefacts to souvenirs. But if you give-in on the bargaining part of purchasing something from Goa, be sure that they have ripped you off your money. Always bargain! Start with the lowest amount you think is worth for whatever you buy and bargain till you strike the perfect rate.
8. Stay alert
Goa is among the safest places in the country for tourists and travellers. But is it always better to be on the safer side. It is advisable to avoid walking alone in the by lanes of the city after dark. Make sure that you do not talk to anyone who you find to be creepy or shady. Do not accept drinks from anyone who you are not familiar with and always carry helpine numbers in your wallet.
Goa is among the best of places globally for a fun holiday. Taking care of yourself is a prioroty wherever you go and is the first step to making the most of your time. Take care to remain hydrated as Goa is a tropical land is quite humid.