The Debate on Malaria Tablets & Vaccinations...
Luggage and bags: Goa is relatively safe, but in crowded "touristy" areas such as the markets - we found it useful to have deep pockets with zippers or bags that we could hold close to our bodies. We avoided rucksacks/backpacks simply because they're too easy to open & steal the contents.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: A good pair of sneakers/walking shoes is recommended. As soon as you venture away from the beaches and the main road, the paths are rocky & bumpy.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: There's a lot of confusion, conflicting reports & split opinions about whether or not Malaria tablets are necessary when travelling to Goa. It's everyone's personal decision, all I can give you is the facts & info from personal experience:
The risk of malaria in Goa is very low compared with the rest of India. It's such a low risk because you are near the coast. The general rule stands in all tropical countries: the further inland you travel (the more "jungle" there is around you), the higher your risk of catching Malaria.
So it really depends on how high-risk the area you are visiting is.
The side effects of the Malaria tablets make many people feel very ill. Apparently, the weekly tablets make you feel worse than the daily ones (but I cannot speak from personal experience as we opted for sprays & creams, and didn't take the tablets).
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Mosquitoes are of course most active at night, but dusk is the most dangerous time as they literally "swarm" when the sun sets. We sprayed ourselves with mosquito repellent every night, and most hotels provide mosquito nets if you want to sleep with the windows open
Miscellaneous: Before we went to Goa, we got our VACCINATIONS for:
> Hepatitis A
Some also advise getting immunized against Typhoid/Cholera, but this is not compulsory. You may need to declare if you have been in a known yellow fever area prior to entering India. But the actual Yellow fever vaccination certificate is not required.
The bottom line is:
Malaria is not a disease to play around with: ask or your doctor's advice, and take it. Not taking anti-malarials where they are indicated will put you at greater risk.
Fact is: Malaria is a killer and should not be taken lightly.
The symptoms of malaria can appear many months after leaving the malarious region. Any flu like symptoms, especially within the first few months after returning from the region should result in you visiting your doctor and mentioning where you have travelled too to rule out malaria.
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Bringing things out for the children in Goa
Luggage and bags: If you need help then perhaps you can get extra luggage for your flight. If you Mention the charity then depending on which airline you are flying with you might get up to 20kg extra allowance!!!!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you have old children's clothes that are clean and in good condition and have a spare bit of room in you case then why not bring it out and take it to Being Children.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Toiletries are always required as the children play in the streets all day long. If you want we can accompany you to a local wholesaler to buy items instead of bringing them from aboard. Toothbrush are around 15rs at the moment and small toothpaste 20rs.
Miscellaneous: If you have a little more room in your case and yoou would like to make a child happy then why not bring out (small) toys and games. The ideal ones are small as they can be given out as presents at Christmas and Birthdays. We would also prefer toys that do not require batteries as we would prefer to spend money on giving children good food rather than spending it on batteries. Some ideas... Small toy cars, early learning toys, skipping ropes, balloons, spinning tops, frizbees, balls etc
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Malaria Tablets - you can buy them there
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Malaria tablets can be bought from a pharmacy when you are in Goa for a matter of a pence/pounds, rather than 17 pound from BOOTS. If there is a couple of you going to India and you are worried about Malaria, buy one box of tablets from BOOTS, and share them between you. Take them a week before you travel. There are plenty of chemists about. There must be at least 5 in calangute, and a few in Baga and Candolim. Then when you get there, just get the local tablets. If you then plan on making a second trip back to Goa within the next year ( six month tourist visa), buy some more whilst you are there, to take for your next trip.
What you need and don't need
Luggage and bags: Bring the largest hand luggage you can and pack the heavy stuff in there on the way home. We bought so much we had to buy new hand luggage bags just to fit it all in!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Girls don't take your high heels, the roads are very uneven and there is no such thing as a pavement. I lived in flips flops for the whole forntnight. Take a pair of the cheap plastic ones for daytime as the ground is the colour of chilli powder and will ruin anything nice. Then buy the fancy ones when you get there for night time. They have hundreds everywhere you look in every colour you could want. Also don't take trousers because if they touch the floor they will be stained with the red dust. Skirts and flip flops are the best bet.
Daytime whatever you wear will end up filthy, the dust from the ground coats your skin and you clothes so take things that are easy to wash. But pack light as there is so much to buy.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Wet wipes are a must, take as many as you can carry and keep some in the fridge. It gets so hot and dusty you will want to wipe your face down about 50 times a day and the result will be a very brown wet wipe when you're done.
Also take something for your stomach if you're planning on eating lots of local food and not used to the spice or the malaria tablets may upset your stomach.
Miscellaneous: Take sterling. i was advised by my travel company to take US$ which was completely wrong. You can even pay with sterling in some places and in the airport you will be bombarded for pound coins.
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Toiletries and Medical Supplies: There are mossies in Goa and YES Malaria does occur, so consult your Doctor before you travel. But, most cases of Malaria occur just after the Monsoon...ie August/September.October...and the incidence is very low. I, like others do not bother with anti-malaria drugs...but thats our choice...and a risk we take. If you are going to take drugs...buy enough to take before you arrive...and then buy the rest of your course in Goa...as its way cheaper! As an example in May 2008 20 malaria pills cost 25 rupees!
Miscellaneous: As most hotel rooms have a fridge in them with a small freezer compartment, ice bags come in handy.
Just fill them with bottled water and then you can have a nice cool drink in your room, with ice cubes, without fear of spending the next day in the bathroom!
Mossie Part 2
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you visit Goa in the main 'season' the evening climate is warm...but to avoid mossie bites don't wear t-shirts & shorts. Take a pair of lightweight trousers...and long sleeve shirt/blouses...prevention is the best cure! Avoid strong perfume/after-shave as it appears to attract the little blighters!
Think of the kiddies
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: The local Goan children (and their parents) will really appreciate any t-shirts you can bring over. So...rather than throw out stuff you no longer want...bring it with you and give out as gifts! If you have lots...and are thinking of donating them to one of the childrens homes( like www.childrenwalkingtall.com )...contact your airline...as they'll probably let you bring it over for free rather than charge you excess!
Luggage and bags: Take large case with you - you will be glad of the space when you fill it with all of your bargains...handbags, wallets, bedspreads, jewellery and lots more !!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: For daytime you will only need T.Shirts and Shorts, Swimwear, Sarongs. For evenings casual holidaywear
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: There are plenty of supermarkets selling everything that you will require ( Garnier products much cheaper than in the U.K )
Take an empty case!!!
Luggage and bags: Unfortunately, I thought too much about what to take with me this time, I didn't need to!!
You can get mozzie spray/plugs/repellant, flip flops, sun tan lotions, sunglasses, sandals, clothes made/bought, beach bag, ibuprofen, water tablets, diarhoea tablets (better than immodium plus), anti-hystamine tablets, shampoo/conditioner, need I go on. Best not to pack too much, then you can take plenty of clothes, sandals etc home and not get charged for excess baggage like I did!!! You live and learn.
Luggage and bags: I always buy a beachbag to throw over my shoulder when I arrive.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: I take 2 pairs of Flip/flops one for the beach and one for the evening (although I buy about 10 pairs from the Gucciman in Calangute High Street). Both are last seasons as they get ruined and I normally leave them, as everywhere you walk you get covered in a reddish dust, including the backs of trousers and shorts, so don't take anything too smart as it gets ruined and also you look out of place! You can easily get clothes washed and ironed out there. So don't take to much otherwise your get charged excess baggage on the way home with all the stuff you've brought.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: The pharmacies are great, they sell so much, I always stock up on stuff as its cheaper than at home.
Miscellaneous: Always take a torch and spare batteries as you will need one and keep it to hand even in the room. There are always power cuts and although most hotel rooms have a small candle and box of matches you have to find them first. Alot of cuts happen early evening so don't get caught in the shower.
Luggage and bags: OK...you have to pack the basics...but Goa has such cheap clothes & tailors...its well worth bringing say a weeks clothes...and send it to the local laundry (very cheap!) The more room you have in your bags when you arrive...the more you can buy!
Luggage and bags: If you are thinking of buying a new suitcase there are Delsey & Samsonite Outlets in panjim and they are roughly half of UK prices!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Don't bring much...stuff is way cheaper in Goa!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: You can now buy high factor sunscreen in Goa, and its cheaper than UK prices!
Miscellaneous: Electrical adaptors are much cheaper in Goa...so buy on arrival.
A pencil or small torch can be useful for pot holes at night!
Decent ciggies are about 8 pounds for 200...so don't buy in duty free in say Manchester...as they'll cost 20 pounds plus!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: one thing that i dont pack is my asthma inhalers.In england i get charged £6 for one but to buy them in goa its about £1.50 each so i buy a years supply and bring themback with me.i also bring back with me malaria tablets so next time i go i dont buy them in england as they are only 20p in goa for about ten.Themajority of medication is available in india and a lot cheaper.Also i buy mossie cream when im there as its only 50p a tube and very effective,called odomous.
Alone in the dark V - with mosquitos
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Hand sanitizer tube (optional). Not all, but many of the stomach problems are avoidable easily with simple hygieny of hands before meals. Liquid hand sanitizer tube is, umm, handy to carry along. Quite easy to find from local stores; no need to pack it in advance.
Miscellaneous: Maglite and candles. Blackouts and shortages of electricity are very common, specially in the evenings, when tourists start to use lights, televisions etc. In outdoor, Maglite is very handy; inside, candles can be decorative also.
Your credit card 4-digit PIN number. It is *much* more flexible to transact with ATMs than try to find open cashier from Calangute area.
Mosquito net (optional)
Not critical gear, but might be useful, depending where you sleep. Due to very light sewering system of Goa, mosquitos are quite common in the places, where concrete meets standing water, like baths and toilets. See also my General tips.
Mosquito electric zapper (optional)
It is an alternative to mosquito net, not in effeciency but in weight, *if* your accommodation has energy supply. Quite easy to find from local stores, starting from 20 rps; no need to pack it in advance.
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