There are only a few hidden gems left to travel in Europe and Georgia is one of them. A country with a rich culture, lovely quiet towns, impressive forgotten soviet monuments and landscapes not of this world, this ex-Soviet country should be on your bucket list by now and in this article I will give you some tips to make the most of this place.
1 month before your trip
WizzAir offers tickets to cities like Kutaisi and Tbilisi starting only 15 USD one way.
Planning a route in advance can be useful. A good option is to arrive in Kutaisi or Batumi, travel across the country and depart from Tbilisi (or vice versa)
The independent regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have their own border controls and the situation is very complicated if you want to travel around them. Due to a lack of consulate representation you should avoid entering these places without a valid Russian visa and a local guide or native Russian speaker.
2 weeks before your trip
Transportation is a complicated issue in Georgia. Renting a car is the best choice to save money and time. Cars4Rent rents out vehicles for all budgets.
Accommodation in Georgia can be as cheap as 4 USD per night. Get fancy for a day or two and pamper yourself in a 4-star hotel starting from only 70 USD per double room.
Georgia has amazing trekking routes. Caucasus Trekking shows you most of these routes, has tips on trekking and even helps you finding a hiking buddy.
Georgians are extremely friendly. Social platforms like Couchsurfing can connect you to locals around the area.
1 week before your trip
Georgia is the perfect country for budget traveling. Here are some typical daily expenses:
Low Budget: 20 USD/day (hostel accommodation, meals in local restaurants and local transportation)
Medium Budget: 40 USD/day (private room in a hostel, 1 meal in a good restaurant with wine, car rental)
High Budget: 80 USD/day (4-Star hotel accommodation, meals in high class restaurants, a bottle of wine for two, car rental, 1 private tour per day)
English proficiency is limited in Georgia, getting a Russian phrasebook can make some situations easier.
A Georgia travel guide is not necessary. Instead, read the information guide of the country and check your places of interest on wikitravel.
1 day before your trip
Download offline Google maps of the locations you are traveling to.
Write down important addresses of places of interest, tourist information offices and your accommodation in a separate notebook.
Deposit half of your total budget on your credit card (preferably a credit card without foreign fee for withdrawals).
During your trip
Different mobile phone providers offer prepaid sim cards starting at 5 USD with unlimited internet for a certain amount of days or data volume starting 1 GB directly at the airport.
Get free maps and very useful information at the Tourism Information Office of each location you visit.
Driving in Georgia is not as easy as in western Europe or America. Avoid driving on the highways at night.
Taste local food every day. Its variety is amazing and with top restaurants and excellent prices, there is no excuse not to try something new every day.
Georgia is a wine country by nature. Even some monks ferment wine in their monasteries (yes, we saw it!) There is no better way to finish a long day of sightseeing than with a good glass of wine.
Tbilisi can sound like a usual boring capital city, but its vibrant nightlife, great restaurants and wonderful little streets make this city one of the most charming and interesting places in Georgia. Spend more than a couple of days here and catch a weekend to get crazy in its nightclubs and alternative bars.
Most tour companies offer private transportation to the country´s main attractions and since public transportation is horrific, the best way to move around Georgia is renting a car with some friends.
Georgia is still one of these countries off the beaten path. Spend some time in the nature and get hundreds of km for yourself.
Places you can´t miss
Gergeti Trinity Church in Stepandsminda is like a scenery of The Lord of the Rings, just not so difficult and expensive to reach and in winter probably way more amazing.
Vardzia in Aspindza is a cave monastery in Southern Georgia which makes you feel part of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Katskhi pillar in central Georgia is a location not of this world, which you probably never heard about or even thought it was photoshoped.