Planning vacation in Goa during Covid-19 pandemic? Here’s your 3-step guide to a safe vacation

Updated: Nov 12, 2020 6:03 PM

After a slumber of months, our travel bags are finding their way out of the closet, equally excited to call a new destination their home for a couple of days.

The safest way of enjoying the tropical Goa life is to choose an all-equipped resort which becomes a destination in itself.

By Sulakshna Wadhwa   

At the cost of sounding obvious, it’s safe to say that this year has changed the definition of normal. Our routine was the first one to take on the “new normal,” and after which, it has been travel which has found a way back into our lives, the 2020 way, a much-welcomed revival.

After a slumber of months, our travel bags are finding their way out of the closet, equally excited to call a new destination their home for a couple of days. But unlike the older times, a huge gap of questions concerning safety must be bridged with the right answers. India’s favourite beach destination, Goa is becoming that fresh wind of air one needs right now. The question remains the same, is Goa tourist safe? The answer is yes, but to ensure that you have a stress-free and much needed relaxing trip, we put together a 3-step guide to a safe vacation in Goa.

Step 1: Starting on a safe note with a reliable airline 

If you are planning your trip to Goa, one of the first and foremost things to check off your to-do list should be booking your tickets with a reliable airline. It is the easiest way to ensure that you and your travel companions/family members enjoy a hassle-free trip.

We decided to fly by Vistara, India’s 5-star airline which is undertaking over a dozen measures to ensure a safe on-ground and in-flight experience for the passengers and crew members. As soon as one arrives at the airport, the self-check-in and E-Tag kiosk followed by automated baggage drop ensures minimum contact between the staff and the passenger.

The social-distancing markers at the airport get one through the security and waiting gates safely. Prior to boarding, a secondary temperature screening is conducted for all the passengers, after which PPE Kits containing a mask, face shield, sanitizer are handed over to every passenger. The protective gowns add an extra layer of safety for middle-seat passengers. Wearing a mask and face shield on the flight is mandatory.

The aspects that won our faith in travelling with Vistara were sanitization of lavatory after every use, and the intensified cleaning process after every turnaround. The use of washrooms was one of our biggest concerns on our first-trip since the pandemic hit. But the precautions undertaken by Vistara ensured that even the tiniest element on-board was thoroughly sanitized through a deep cleaning process.

While we found ourselves at ease after observing the many safety measures, our nerves were still dancing to their own tunes because it was our first flight in months, but courtesy of the soothing music while boarding, take-off and landing, our nerves found a joyous space in no time.

Make sure airlines staff are dressed in protective gowns, masks, face shields and gloves ensuring maximum personal and passenger safety. The perks like priority check-in, baggage, extra legroom are too good to pass on for the little extra bit. Mumbai-Goa flight duration is 1 hour, Vistara has regular flights to Goa from all major cities.

Step 2: Choosing a Destination Resort 

The safest way of enjoying the tropical Goa life is to choose an all-equipped resort which becomes a destination in itself. We decided to stay at Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, Goa, a luxurious property in North Goa that let us experience the perfect blend of a Goan beach and Portuguese history and overlooks Sinquerim beach and has direct access to the best of both worlds, the beach and the fort.

The view of the well-preserved 17th-century fort, the tranquil beach is a happy sight for the sore eyes from most parts here. While you are here, expect a traditional Goan song to welcome you and let the melodious sound of the ocean be your companion throughout your trip.

Each time we stepped into the hotel, our temperature was screened at the entrance. The detailing into sanitization at Taj is noteworthy; at the time of check-in, every guest is allocated a new sanitized pen which immediately after use is set aside to be sanitized. The rooms are equipped with a care package that includes a mask, sanitized wet wipes, and a sanitizer for a comfortable vacation. The staff can be spotted wearing hand gloves, masks, face shields at
every point. All their restaurants have a new addition to their table apart from cutlery, you can expect sanitized wipes to help you be extra safe before you grab a bite.

When travelling, exploring local cuisine is of utmost importance and we were happy to discover that we didn’t have to step out to try some authentic Goan cuisine. We enjoyed a vegetarian Goan lunch. It changed our impression of the local cuisine because while seafood is a speciality in Goan cuisine, the vegetarian spread is impressive.

Our quest for global cuisine took us to Banyan Tree, Goa’s first-ever Thai restaurant located at Taj Holiday Village Resort & Spa, Goa. The short walk and buggy ride from Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, Goa made it convenient for us to get to this vintage vacation destination. The architecture here is the perfect ode to the Goan way of life.

Instead of stepping out in highly crowded public places, we chose to experience it all within the two resorts. The due diligence practised by the entire staff and humongous space to maintain social distance at the sprawling properties made it easier for us to have a real vacation for the first time in months!

Step 3: Following the Protocol 

Keep in mind to follow the protocol chalked out by the Government and airport authorities and you will cover all your bases towards safe travel.

Download Aarogya Setu App: It is mandatory to download the Aarogya Setu app and indicate the “Your Are Safe” status while getting through the airport security at the entrance.

Temperature Screening: Travelling to Goa doesn’t require undergoing a mandatory COVID test, however, there are multiple temperature screenings conducted at the airport, hotels, restaurants etc.

Following Social Distancing Markers: The airport and many public places have distinct social distancing markers, following the same reduces the possibility of any close contact.

Practising Individual Safety Norms: As an individual, one must follow basic safety norms such as wearing a mask at all times in public, sanitizing their hands, and maintaining a safe distance. This would ensure personal and public safety at large.

(The author is a Mumbai-based travel writer. All images provided by the author. Views expressed are personal.)

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