Year-end travel: Things you should know before planning year-end holiday in Goa | Travel - Hindustan Times
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Year-end travel: Things you should know before planning a year-end holiday in Goa

By, New Delhi
Dec 16, 2023 11:24 AM IST

Goa gets into festive mood from Christmas until the beginning of the new year. Before you pack your bags, pay heed to ground rules of spending year-end in Goa.

Often touted as the party capital of India, Goa swarms with tourists during the Christmas/New Year holidays. Beaches get crowded, restaurants announce new menus, hotels hike their tariff, there is a nip in the air, a song in every heart and wait! There are cops everywhere to check hooligans and drunk drivers.

Things you should know before planning a year-end holiday in Goa. (Pexels)
Things you should know before planning a year-end holiday in Goa. (Pexels)

Before packing the bags for a year-end holiday in Goa, pay heed to the ground rules.

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Hotels: If you haven’t booked a hotel room yet, do compare the prices on various online travel platforms before booking accommodation. There could be a huge difference in price. For example, at the time of writing, Ibis Styles Goa Calangute was 11,258 a night on Skyscanner, 12,888 on Ibis official website, MakemyTrip & booking.com (all tariffs excluding taxes & fees) for 2 adults for December 30, 2023, to January 2, 2024.

When you have picked the hotel, check the price on the hotel’s official website. You might find it cheaper on the hotel website + hotels may offer perks (for example, free wifi, free breakfast, upgrade) that are not advertised/mentioned on the online platforms. Read the refund/cancellation policy carefully. If you are a hotel loyalty program member, do not forget to mention it during check-in.

Check check-in time: Several hotels in Goa now have a 3 pm check-in time. So, if you land early, you will have to wait a long time to access the room. If have already booked a flight, it would be a good idea to plan sightseeing and/or a brunch so that you do not reach the hotel much before the check-in time.

Pick the airport closer to your accommodation: Cabs (even pre-paid cabs from the airport) are very expensive. Hence, pick the airport (Dabolim or Manohar International Airport) closer to the accommodation, For example, if you are staying in South Goa, land in Dabolim because the distance between Margao & North Goa airport is around 65 kilometres. Similarly, if you are staying in Vagator, land at North Goa airport, Dabolim is more than 55 kilometres from Vagator.

Hire a car/two-wheeler: Public transport in Goa is infrequent and crowded, and private taxis are very expensive. Renting a car/two-wheeler is a much more economical and convenient option. Read the insurance fine print before signing the rent agreement.

Goa Miles: There is no Ola/Uber in Goa but you can opt for Goa Miles, a Goa government's licensed app-based taxi service. It certainly isn’t as quick and efficient as Ola/Uber but it is cheaper than private cabs. Phone: +91 9607198989; Website: goamiles.com

Follow the one-way, no-two-wheeler entry rules: From Christmas up to the New Year, cops are deployed at every corner. Carry your vehicle registration papers, and photo ID, wear a helmet and pay heed to the rules about no two-wheeler entry on a few flyovers including the Porvorim-Panjim flyover. You’ll be fined for breaking these rules.

Crowded vs peaceful beaches: If you like being in a crowd, head to Calangute, Baga, Candolim, Colva, Anjuna & Miramar beaches. If a crowded beach is not your idea of yearend fun, go to Palolem, Agenda, Arambol, or Butterfly Beach. Avoid isolated corners/nooks of the beach.

Weather: Goa does not get cold in December but mornings and evenings are can be a little nippy, especially if you are on a two-wheeler. Carry a hoodie. Remember to pack sunscreen, flip-flops and a cap/hat.

Connectivity black holes: Depending on your service provider, Goa has quite a few network black holes wherein the phone has no signals and literally, dies.

Safety at beaches: Drishti Marine provides professional lifesaving services in the coastal state of Goa. The first lifesaving agency in India to incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI) in beach safety efforts, it is in the process of raising a ‘Paw Squad’, a fleet of trained dogs to aid lifesavers in rescue efforts. It is present in several Goan beaches, for details, go to drishtimarine.com. Too-free: 1-800-833-1511

New Year's Eve hotspots (price per person): Sinq Nightclub ( 2,000 onwards), LPK Waterfront ( 2,000 onwards), Club Tito’s ( 3,500 onwards), Cafe Mambos ( 4,000 onwards), Heineken Takeover at The Westin ( 44,250 onwards, includes stay), Flow, the Superclub ( 1,000 onwards), Purple Martini at Sunset ( 8,000 onwards), Sunburn Goa Enchanted Lounge ( 59,000 onwards), The Fern Habitat ( 999 onwards). You can book on bookmyshow.com

Rent a yacht: If you want to ring in the new year in absolute luxury, hire a yacht with Universal Adventures. A private yacht that can accommodate 6 individuals starts from Panjim as well as South Goa. One-hour cruising & one-hour anchorage is priced at 17,999. Timings can be customised between 8 am and 8 pm. A photo ID is essential and you must reach the location 20 minutes prior to departure.

If your phone is lost or stolen: The Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) helps you trace and block your stolen or lost mobile phone. Go to www.ceir.gov.in to block your stolen mobile. You can block it online and unblock it on the portal once you have found your phone. The CEIR service is pan-India.

Beach Vigil App: Launched in 2002, the Beach Vigil App keeps an eye on beaches. It enables people to report violations along Goa’s beaches directly to the state’s tourism department. Users can report violations like drinking/cooking on the beach, unattended litter, sound pollution, illegal hawking, touting for services like massages, tattoos as well as illegal services.

Keep these important phone numbers handy:

Goa Tourism Helpline: 1364

Police Control Room: 112

Women’s Police Helpline: 1091

Anti-Terror & Coastal Helpline: 1093

Panaji Women’s Police Station: 0832 2428992

Margao Women’s Police Station: 0832 2710762

Senior Citizen Helpline: 1090

Child Helpline: 1098

Ambulance Helpline: 108

Cyber Fraud Helpline: 1930

Goa Medical College (Bambolim): 0832 2458727, 0832 2458049

Manipal Hospital Panaji (Emergency): 8888702222

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