The general advice for international travellers to Goa is pack light and leave space to bring back some bargains. Light weight cottons such as Kurtas, Sarongs, T-shirts and shorts are inexpensive and readily available in India. And less luggage allows independent travellers to get cheaper transport like auto-rickshaws and local buses.
International Driving Permit and Driving Licence - You will need both if you plan to hire a scooter or drive in India.
Spare passport photos. Needed for buying a local SIM card or internet dongles.
Photocopies of passports/visas. Needed for buying a local SIM card and internet dongles or for hiring transport.
Antimalarial tablets. These are not always needed as we discuss here.
Books. There's plenty of English books on offer, but be aware there are counterfeit books out there with missing pages.
Backpacks. For day trips.
Umbrella. There's no rain from mid December through to June, but it's handy when you need the shade too.
Pac - A - Mac. Useful from June - October.
Electricity adapters (converters). The voltage in Goa is 220 volts ac, 50 cycles.
Long USB lead for searching out internet connectivity with a dongle
Calculator. For quick currency conversions.
Sink plug. Some report these are often missing.
Fillable ice bags.
ATM card. We use a Halifax Clarity card as there are no exchange charges. Presently the cheapest way for UK travellers to get money abroad.
Clothing & Style
One of the great joys of Goa is not needing much clothing and with a balcony everything can be washed and dried quickly. You could buy everything you need there, but certainly leave your stilettos shoes and designer gear at home.
Beach towels can also be had for for Rs. 150-200 each. They're thin, but they dry quickly and don't retain the sand.
Evening wear. The main thing here is covering up to avoid the mosquito bites. It's sensible to cover your legs when eating alfresco in the evening. Also you will need to cover them for visiting some religious sites.
Swimwear and Sarongs are great for woman. Sarong sellers are everywhere. As a man I was happy with a couple of light cotton long pants and for the rest of the time had shorts and t-shirt. The local youth (and my wife) would wear jeans, but most of the time I felt these were too heavy and sticky for the climate.
There's plenty of well stocked pharmacists in Goa and if you fall ill there's well equipped hospitals in the cities of Panaji, Mapusa, Margao and Vasco-da-Gama. You are likely to be able to get most things cheaper in Goa than in the West.
Mosquito repellents. We cover this topic here, but would recommend, that if you're not used to tropical climates, that you consider a DEET product. However as locals we use Odomos (approx RS. 50 for 50 grams). On our balcony we would burn a Mosquito coil (a pack of 10 coils for Rs. 50). Inside we would use a plug in vapor product like Good Knight (new pack with plugin costing approx Rs.65) which you see in a number of hotels and Guest houses.
After Sun Care. We would buy Aloe Vera Gel at about a 10th of the price it would be in the UK.
Pain killer spray or tablets. Crocin is the well known Indian brand of paracetamol so you may hear it mentioned, but you will also find Aspirin and Ibuprofen.
Suntan lotions, antiseptic cream & baby wipes (useful in a sticky and dusty climate) can all be found locally at price similar to the UK or less.
Moisturizer and Shampoo - Most world known brands are available, but we particularly like the cheaper herbal local brands. Again plenty with Aloe Vera.
Toilet rolls - It is available, but Indians prefer water. Personally as a westerner I don't feel comfortable using a jug of water and my hand, but the bidet showers (hand-held mini showers) are great. I think this works so well because of the temperature of the water and its pressure.
our personal packing for long term stay
Filter Coffee and premium brands. We are coffee addicts and it is harder to find good coffee here and oddly given India produces it - it is more expensive. Indians also tend to add as much as 40% chicory in their own expensive brand which we don't like. Sure they have Cafe Coffee Day which is the Indian answer to Starbuck, but you pay Starbuck coffee prices for an often poorer service.
Baked Beans. Again you can get them, but at a higher price.
Large Monitor and portable speakers. With the constant power cuts a laptop with a good battery is better than a desktop computer. With a large monitor we get to watch films and TV too.
Portable battery. Occasionally, and out of the tourist season, the electricity can be off for 8 - 10 hours so this allows us to charge up our mobile phones and laptops.