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Language: Konkani | Currency: Indian Rupee | Local time: GMT +5:30 | Avg. Flight time: 14 hrs
Direct flights from London to Goa have a flight time ranging from 10 hours 25 minutes to 12 hours 30 minutes, which includes a stopover. Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways are the only two companies that offer direct flights between London and Goa – both routes run from London Gatwick (LGW) and are comparatively cheap, but they operate on a seasonal basis.
The alternative is to look at flights with a speedy connection. Jet Airways flies from London Heathrow (LHR) to Dabolim (GOI) with a short stop in Mumbai (BOM), while Oman Airways runs the same route but with a stopover in Muscat (MCT). Combined with Air India routes, cheap flights to Goa are therefore readily available.
Goa is equally accessible from Manchester (MAN), with direct routes operated by Thomas Cook, Qatar Airways and Jet Airways. Other airports offering flights to Goa with just one stopover include Edinburgh (EDI) and Birmingham (BHX). Travellers flying from other major airports such as Bristol (BRS), Glasgow (GLA) and Belfast International (BFS) are looking at two or more stops en route.
Remember that some routes only operate in high season, so factor in additional stopovers if you are flying outside of the main season. Having a stopover can allow for some extra sightseeing time exploring Mumbai, Delhi or the Omani capital Muscat.
As it’s monsoon season between June to September, flights to Goa are cheaper then than at other times of the year. Package holidays are generally cheaper than booking flights and accommodation separately, and another good money-saving option is to book months in advance.
British visitors to India need to apply for a tourist visa. This used to involve a trip to the Indian visa agency in London, but nowadays the process is far simpler – just visit this website to apply for an e-visa online. Tourist visas are valid for 30 days and cost approximately US$60 per person, and make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months after your date of arrival in India.
Please be aware you will need to show officials your return tickets and evidence of sufficient funds for your holiday. Also bear in mind that there are fraudulent sites charging over the odds for Indian visas, so be sure to use the official portal.
If the hotel does not offer an airport transfer, use a pre-paid taxi service just outside the terminal. The fare to Anjuna is about INR 1400, while Panjim will cost you approximately INR 900. Use other freelance taxi services with caution, as they may fleece you.