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10 Tips For First-Time Visitors to Goa

10 Tips For First-Time Visitors to Goa

India boasts countless tourist destinations, but for millions of travellers each year, Goa is the favourite. This smallest state of India has a bit of everything – architectural landmarks, sun-kissed beaches, water sports, bustling flea markets, lively nightlife, delicious food and laidback vibe. So, if you’re heading to India’s sunshine state for the first-time, here are a few tips.

Do not stick to the popular beaches

With a huge coastline spanning 105 kilometres (65.2 miles), Goa is blessed with a plethora of beaches. Baga, Vagator, Candolim and Calangute are the popular beaches and crowded to boot, while there are plenty of unspoilt and unexplored beaches, where you can relax in peace and solitude. Some of them include Kakolem beach, Galgibaga, Hollant beach, Velsao, Ashwem beach, Mobar beach and Butterfly beach.

Practice caution at the Goa beaches

While the beaches are the topmost attractions of Goa, they also pose a few risks. The most common are sunburn and sunstroke. So, in order to avoid these risks, apply high SPF sunscreen, do your sun bathing in small increments, and carry sunglasses and hat.

Point to remember: Goa is quite relaxed when it comes to bathing suits and it’s common to see people with bikinis on the beaches. However, it is important to note that nudity on beaches is not allowed and even punishable under the law.

Also, some of the beaches in Goa (mainly, North Goa) have strong rip currents, especially during monsoons. Such beaches are marked with red flags, which mean that swimming in these can be dangerous, as the high tide can sweep you out to sea. So, heed the warnings and signs, and do not venture into the sea without consulting the lifeguards.

Savour Goan cuisine

Through years of colonisation, many cultures have influenced the cuisine of Goa, creating a fusion of Portuguese, Brazilian, Arab, French, African, Konkan, Chinese, Malaysian and Malabar flavours to tantalise the tastebuds. So, on your trip to this enchanting beach town, do savour the Goan cuisine: Goan fish curry, pork vindaloo, bebinca (Goan dessert), sorpotel, etc. Do not leave without trying the local liqueur, Feni, a spirit made of coconut or cashew nuts. Sample this local specialty in limited quantity, as it is a strong liquor that will get you high real quick.

Explore on two-wheels

The best way to see the sights and soak up everything India’s smallest state has to offer is on a bike/scooter. The roads in the state are well-maintained and safe, so biking around won’t be a hassle. Bikes are easy and cheap to rent, at around INR 250 ($3.83) – INR 800 ($12.27) per day, depending upon the season (off-season or peak) and type of bike (Honda Activa, Bajaj Pulsar or high-end ones, like Royal Enfield). However, rates can drop considerably if you’re renting for more days. Before finalizing a bike, do take it for a test run – check if it is in good condition, brakes are functional, etc.

Point to remember: Always carry your driving permit with you. Helmets are mandatory, so make sure to get one along with your bike. And, no need to pay extra for it, as it’s already included in your daily rent.

Get active

Go scuba diving, jet skiing, kayaking, windsurfing, parasailing, banana ride, power-scooter riding, knee-wakeboarding etc, or take some yoga experiences from one of the many yoga retreats available up and down the coast. Goa is a perfect spot for trying all this stuff and do not leave without ticking a few of them off the list.

Go beyond the sea and sand

While many visitors are drawn to the beaches, this certainly doesn’t represent the state in its entirety. There’s lots more to see and do here than just that – centuries-old churches and temples, museums, forts, spice plantations, caves, wildlife sanctuaries, and more. Here’s our list of things to do and see in Goa that will help you plan your itinerary.

Also, Goa is home to a truly spectacular countryside that is worth taking time to explore. Goan villages dotted with old Portuguese-style houses, lush paddy fields, spice plantations, waterfalls and quaint environment can be found at the countryside. The best way to explore it is by bike – take a ride along the lush vegetation and the scenic Portuguese houses, and watch a typical day in the countryside unfold.

Explore both North Goa and South Goa

Both North and South Goa have their own appeal. It is highly recommended to explore both the regions as they have plenty to offer visitors. We recommend you move your way north to south. Tick off all the North Goa attractions, and then further move to the peaceful South Goa and make a trip to Vasco Da Gama and Old Goa that are home to centuries-old monuments, churches, temples, museums and islands. Check out this guide on what to expect in North Goa and South Goa.

Play the bargaining game right

Goa has some of the best flea markets and haggling is a part of the experience at these markets. The first price point offered is definitely not the last, so play the bargaining game right. You can find some real bargains here, such as handicrafts, spices, wooden artefacts, carpets, etc. which make for a perfect souvenir.

Say ‘No’ to drugs and do not drink on beaches

There’s a good chance you’ll be invited to beach parties and raves. Keep in mind that many such parties have drugs in circulation. It is worth noting that, by law, possession, consumption or trade of drugs in the state is illegal. And, if caught, you’re sure to land up in jail for nearly 10 years, along with a hefty fine. So, say NO to any such invitation and drugs. Err on the side of caution.

Also, drinking in public places in Goa, especially on the beaches is banned and may land you in jail. So, do not indulge in such an activity.

Remember some basics

Pack wisely

Yes, it’s sun, sea and sand – so pack beachwear, flip-flops, crocs, hats, shades, sunscreen and lightweight clothes. Avoid too much bling and pack some conservative clothing for your temple and church visits.

Keep an eye on personal stuff

This may seem like common sense, but it’s a tip which needs to be highlighted. While you’re relaxing on the beach or shopping, keep an eye on your items, as pickpockets lurk here.

Cash is king

Many small shacks, bars, restaurants and shops do not have credit card machines. So, always have some cash on you (but not too much, though!), or familiarise yourself with the ATMs in your area, so that you can withdraw money easily.

Book accommodation in advance

There are plenty of backpacker hostels and hotels (both budget and luxury) in Goa, it is better to book them in advance, especially during the long weekends and winter months, as things can get more crowded and expensive.

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Woman tourist taking selfie pictures on Europe travel.

Traveling with teens? Here are 10 tips and trip ideas to improve your next vacation

Things to consider before hitting the road with older kids

Traveling with teenagers can be challenging. Not because hormones and moods fluctuate by the minute (though, admittedly, chances are high) but because, at this point in life, their interests and maturity levels are changing rapidly. That’s why, as a parent to a curious 15-year-old, I took a lot into consideration when planning a recent trip to VOMO Island Resort in Fiji.

If you have a potentially surly, eye-rolling teenager, here are 10 tips and trip recommendations you may want to keep in mind when planning your next family getaway.

No. 1: Know your child and his or her interests

The first consideration – or tip, if you will – is: Plan for your child’s interests, not just your own.

“Fifteen- to 18-year-olds can be tricky,” said Justin King, general manager of VOMO, soon after we’d arrived at the island paradise. “We want to get them out and about, so we tailor activities to their preferences,” he said, noting that the resort’s manager of kid’s activities will take a deep dive with each family, either in advance or upon arrival. “It takes work,” King adds, “because it’s about really getting to know the teen. But it definitely pays off.”

There’s an impressive variety of activities for teens at VOMO, including a cool “Survivor Challenge” that develops participants’ survival skills (mimicking some of those on “Survivor,” now filmed exclusively in Fiji). The resort also organizes creative experiences such as traditional dance lessons and cooking classes.

Although my daughter’s usual vacation routine involves a lot of reading and chilling out, VOMO managed to get her out snorkeling and enthusiastically participating in tours, demonstrations and native Fijian ceremonies and traditions. I knew VOMO’s approach was paying off when she randomly blurted out “I feel like this is one of those trips that changes the course of your life.”

VOMO is just one of many resorts and destinations that will tailor activities for older kids. There are also a number of tour operators that organize trips for families with teens.

No. 2: Don’t stay too long

If your teen gets antsy or bored easily, consider booking a few short stays rather than one long trip, as an adult might prefer. For example, the four-day “WILDchild Eco-guide Challenge” with &Beyond private game reserve in South Africa is a four-day, action-packed adventure designed to challenge and educate nature-loving teens (14-18) and their parents.

Held at the &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, the challenge invites teens to join the conservation team for activities such as a rhino conservation experience and tracking the elusive pangolin. They can also enjoy bush walks, Zulu drummers, basic astronomy lessons and big five game drives. Sign us up.

No. 3: Give them some freedom

There aren’t a lot of destinations where teenagers can learn to swing on a trapeze, learn to DJ or explore film design, but Club Med offers all of these activities and much more in select locations around the world. Since the all-inclusive Club Med villages are self-contained, teens can enjoy more unstructured freedom and pick and choose what they want to do when and with whom. They’re away, but not too far away – and that’s nice for parents too.

No. 4: Variety, variety, variety

Choosing a tour or destination that provides variety can be beneficial if you have a teen who doesn’t need a lot of downtime. Adventures by Disney, a subsidiary of Disney, offers river cruises with multiple excursion options in every port. However, unlike a Disney cruise, their European river cruises, along the Rhine and Danube, go light on “Disney-fying” the experience and deep into local culture and traditions. Consider it “Disney Light” with a lot of choices at each stop.

No. 5: Curate a trip tailored to your family

If your teen is hard to please or you’re having trouble finding just the right destination for your family, consider partnering with a travel company that can curate a trip suited to your interests, if you have the means. Abercrombie & Kent, for example, will find out what you – and your teens – are most interested in and do all the planning for you. That includes choosing a destination, finding accommodations and booking memorable authentic encounters that align with their educational- and immersive-focused ethos.

No. 6: Find something that’s “food-flexible”

If you have a teen who gets “hangry” but is super picky, or one that is hungry all the time, consider a large cruise ship vacation. These ships provide an unbelievable selection of restaurants and menu options that will appeal to both finicky family members and fancy foodies alike. And, be it a blessing or a curse, there’s food available 24/7.

Given the number of ship and destination options and the breadth of activities offered, cruises are also a great option when you want to be together, but not all the time. If you’re not interested in hitting the high seas, look for other all-inclusive properties that have culinary options that will appeal to the whole family.

No. 7: Let them sleep

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to over-plan when trying to cram in as much as possible. Instead of planning early morning activities, block out time to let the teens sleep and consider booking accommodations that give them some personal space. My daughter’s favorite hotel on our recent trip to Fiji’s Vanua Levu was Savasi Island Resort where she had a separate bedroom and bathroom with its own entrance just across the porch of our villa. Knowing our villa was secure, that personal space was a gift to both of us.

No. 8: Keep them active

For active teens who need a break from sitting in class day after day, seek out a destination that offers activities that are a little different. The Resort at Paws Up is a luxury ranch in Montana with ATV tours, fly fishing, electric bike tours, sporting clays, go-karts and more. They also have wilderness programs, such as “Gettin’ Primitive,” which teaches primitive outdoor skills.

Teens who want to push themselves out of their comfort zone can navigate a ropes course that is tucked away in the forest and challenges participants to maneuver across 10 elevated platforms, complete with rickety bridges. As their website says, “You only have 18 summers with your kids, so make them count.”

No. 9: Stimulate their brains

As the parent of an intellectually active teen, it’s essential that I plan trips that involve culture and learning instead of a relaxing beach or pool vacation. A number of companies offer tours for cerebral teens, including Smithsonian Journeys. Partnering with Putney Student Travel, this tour operator arranges summer travel programs for students grades eight through twelve as part of their Student Travel division.

These immersive programs provide teens with an opportunity to explore and be inspired through unique experiences developed around a specific theme. In the past, themes have included a journey to Iceland to learn about climate change and a visit to Washington, D.C. to explore America’s history of race and social justice.

No. 10: Expose them to something they can’t find at home

Ideally, traveling with teens will expand their view of the world by exposing them to experiences they won’t find close to home. International trips are great for this, but for those without the means (or interest) to travel overseas, there are plenty of options in the U.S. too.

A visit to a dude ranch might not sound appealing to every teenager, but getting them away from their devices for some outdoor living can transform their outlook. Blackwater Creek in Wyoming not only offers horseback riding, rafting and fly fishing, but also provides a step back in time with visits to the Old Trail Town in Cody. They’ll have plenty of stories to share with friends back home after a trip to the River Saloon where Butch Cassidy and his gang planned more than one bank robbery.

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7 Tips To Make Your Travel More Enjoyable

7 Tips To Make Your Travel More Enjoyable

In a span of one day, more than 8 million people travel across the world, be it for short or long-distance flights. Today’s flights are fuller, lines are longer, and security continues to grow more stringent. At Let’s Go Travel, we understand how hectic this can all become. That’s why we are dedicated to making your holiday as stress-free as possible, by catering to your unique needs, down to the smallest detail.    

Our team helps plan your itinerary, book your flights and hotels, and can even give you advice on park fees and visas, to ensure that you are comfortable and happy throughout your trip. However, there are also a few tricks you can keep up your sleeve for an easier time while travelling.  

Here are 7 tips to help make your travel more enjoyable:  

Bring some Entertainment 

When you’re travelling to destinations such as East Africa, getting there can involve a long-haul flight, and while staying entertained for upwards of six hours may seem like a challenge, all it requires is a little forethought and creativity.  

Some of the things you may want to consider doing on your flight include:  

  • Read book or magazine  
  • Listen to a podcast or some new music  
  • Play a good old-fashioned game (make sure to bring a deck of cards with you)  
  • Catch up on last minute work so you don’t have to worry about a deadline  

Make Sure To Take a Reusable Water Bottle 

Carry your own reusable water bottle and fill it up at the airport before departure. This ensures that you don’t get thirsty while on the flight and cuts on costs, as you won’t have to purchase bottled water. This would also be a great step towards being a more sustainable tourist. Compared to plastic bottles, reusable water bottles are: 

  • Safer for your health  
  • More environmentally friendly  
  • Longer lasting and more durable  
  • Cheaper in the long run 

Don’t Forget Your Portable Charger 

There isn’t any worry that can be compared to that of a dying phone, especially when travelling to a destination that you know so little about, so don’t forget to carry your portable charger! Today, there are even seat electrical plugs that are fitted in the planes in which allow you to charge your devices.  

Carry some Disposable Wet Wipes and Deodorant 

By ensuring you have some disposable wet wipes, especially during long flights, you can stay fresh and comfortable, until you have the opportunity of taking a proper shower. In addition, carrying a top-quality deodorant will help you stay confident and perfectly protected – just make sure it’s a travel-sized one! 

Plan Your Travel Outfit(s) 

The savviest flyers understand that it takes a combination of factors to create a positive travel experience, and ultimately, comfort plays a huge part in making long-distance flights more pleasurable. That’s why you should never leave your travel clothes as a last-minute thought. Some clothing tips for a long haul flight include:  

  • Avoid long skirts or maxi-dresses 
  • Wear layers and/or things that can fold into a pillow  
  • Make sure your clothes are made of natural, breathable fabric and don’t restrict you  
  • Make sure your clothes have a couple of pockets  

In addition to clothes, some other items that you may want to consider taking along with you include noise-cancelling headphones, an eye mask, and a neck pillow, as these will ensure you get a good night’s rest.  


One item you should never forget to put in your carry-on is a packet of gum. Chewing gum as the plan ascends and descends can relieve pressure in your ears, and it also eliminates post-airplane-meal breath, and refreshes you after a nap.  


In addition to the above items, always ensure that you have all your documents in check before planning to travel. Travel documents are a crucial element when it comes to a stress-free holiday and failure to properly plan will only cause you headache, and may even result in the cancellation of your travel plans. 

Things You Must Do Before Travelling  

  1. Make sure your passport and visa are up to date. 
  2. Talk to your travel advisors, as well as check for any travel warnings. 
  3. Get the required vaccinations. 
  4. Make sure your trip is registered before going to the airport. 
  5. Ensure the choice of airline and aircraft used for travel is sustainable 
  6. Carry all the necessary documents, as well as copies. 
  7. If necessary get a travel insurance
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Passengers depart Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday

France imposes travel ban on UK – here’s what you need to know about the new rules

France is set to tighten restrictions on UK travelers with a non-essential travel ban on both vaccinated and unvaccinated arrivals from Saturday, with exemptions for French and EU citizens and residents.

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is spreading through the UK at an unprecedented rate. On Wednesday the UK recorded its highest number of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. In response to the crisis, and amid fears its own public health system could soon be overwhelmed, France is limiting travel from the UK.

Who is included in the travel ban?

From midnight on Saturday, December 18 (11pm GMT on Friday), a ban on non-essential travel from the UK will be imposed. Only returning French or EU citizens and residents and their families will be able to cross the border from the UK, but they will have to present a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within 24 hours of departure.

New testing and self-isolation rules

Anyone arriving into France from the UK who is permitted to travel, and that includes citizens and residents, must get tested for COVID-19 within 24 hours of departure and get tested again when they arrive in France. They’re also required to register their address details on an app, and they must self-isolate for seven days or at least 48 hours if they can produce a negative test result.

“People (returning to France) will have to register on an app and will have to self-isolate in a place of their choosing for seven days—controlled by the security forces—but this can be shortened to 48 hours if a negative test is carried out in France,” government spokesperson Gabrial Attal told BMF Television via Reuters.

Where can I find the app to register my details?

So far no further information has been provided on the digital app that arrivals must register their details through. However, we will update this article when more information is available.

Can British citizens return home from France?

The travel ban does not apply to those traveling in the opposite direction. Anyone who wishes to travel to the UK from France will be able to do so but as per the UK’s rules they must take either an antigen or negative test before traveling there, and they will also have to take a PCR test within 48 hours of arriving into the UK. That test must be booked in advance.

Why is the ban being introduced?

In a statement, the government said that from Saturday “people cannot travel for tourism or professional reasons,” adding that the British government had itself said that the UK would face “a tidal wave” of new Omicron-driven infections in the coming days.

“As the Omicron variant spreads extremely quickly in the United Kingdom, the French government has decided to re-implement compelling reasons for travels from and to the United Kingdom, and to reinforce mandatory tests at departures and arrivals,” it said.

The French government also asked French citizens to postpone upcoming UK travel plans.

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