Diphtheria, polio and tetanus (one combined booster – phew!)
Remember to get booked in to see your GP as soon as you know you’re going – there can often be big waiting lists, so the sooner the better. You can get a brief overview from The World Health Organisation, too. And, if the thought of injections makes you grimace, knowing that they’re often free on the NHS should cheer you up. Just think, all that extra money saved = more rupees to splurge on bargains at Arpora's colour-popping night market, or cocktails at one of Cavelossim's palm-fringed beach snacks.
Your GP might also advise getting jabs for Cholera, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies. You can often discuss these on the phone with a practise nurse, if you’re unsure.
It’s likely that you’ll have to pay for private vaccinations for Hepatitis B (when not combined with Hepatitis A), Japanese encephalitis and Rabies.
There are three key things to think about, really. First up is the weather. Some diseases are more common at certain times of the year, e.g. during monsoon season, as there are more mosquitos about. Next, consider where you’re staying. Rural areas carry higher risks of disease than urban areas, as you’re more likely to encounter animals or contaminated water sources. Third, and finally, is your age and health. Speak to your GP about any existing medical conditions or treatment you’re receiving, and make sure you let them know if you’re pregnant – generally GPs will avoid giving vaccinations in this instance.
Once you’re all vaccinated, you can explore with complete peace of mind. Nobody wants to miss out on heading to the tropics and taking a dip in the pools at the tumbling Dudhsagar waterfalls, or befriending the monkeys that hang out there, do they?
You should seek advice at least eight weeks before you’re due to travel. Some jabs are needed well in advance and require a few courses, so it’s best to keep on top of them. A quick phone call to your GP will update you on whether your existing jabs are up to date, and practise nurses can provide general advice about travelling in India. After all, the sooner you’re booked in, the sooner you can start planning tuk-tuk rides through Goa’s Panjim, or taking a trip from Kovalam to explore ancient palaces in Trivandrum – Kerala’s hotspot for gold and jewels.
You should always consider taking antimalarial medicine when travelling to areas at risk. Visit your GP or local travel clinic as soon as you know when you’re going to be visiting India. Usually, you’ll be advised to take a course of antimalarial tablets before you leave, and during your stay. Don’t worry – it’s usually just one tablet a day, and you’ll be cruising down the Mandovi River trying to spot crocodiles before you know it.
Ready for India?
Now you’re all clued up on what jabs you’re likely to need, the next decision is Goa or Kerala. Goa’s a real mixed bag, offering up bustling night markets, 66 miles of coastline and ancient churches and temples. Meanwhile, laidback sister, Kerala, doesn’t disappoint either. Tea-clad hills, hush-hush backwaters and natural beauty comes as standard here. We’ll leave that decision up to you. It’s a tricky one…
Love going further afield and trying somewhere new? Watch our video on the colourful culture of Sri Lanka or have a scan of the best places to spend Christmas abroad.
Author: Lucy Perrin
Heritage Village Club is just one of the hotels you can choose to stay in after your tour. It's right next to the beach, and has a traditional Goan restaurant on-site.
Taj Exotica is set in 56 acres of lush, tropical gardens, with hammocks dotted around the grounds for the ultimate relaxation.
The in Kerala is pulled up against a palm-lined strip of sand, so practically everything comes with sea views.
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