Gergeti Trinity Church high in the Kazbek Mountains in Georgia.
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Useful tips for travelling to Georgia

Maysie Dee

Contributing writer

You’ll find the tiny, lovely country of Georgia tucked neatly between Eastern Europe and West Asia in the Southern (Lower) Caucasus Mountain region. Its desirable location contributed to a colorful, yet turbulent history of proud kings and queens who struggled to maintain dominion over their homeland.

Ancient Persian, Ottoman, Tartarean, Roman and Soviet influences are still present in Georgia today. When you visit, you’ll see why this was such a coveted land; its breathtaking natural beauty, fertile farmlands, and rich culture inspire visitors from across the world.

Georgia is quickly topping the bucket lists of savvy travellers in search of a unique destination, steeped in cultural imprints, and not yet overwhelmed with tourists.

Fascinating architecture, monasteries, churches, fortresses and castles, plus mouthwatering cuisine, are just a few bragging rights of the country. 

Add in great weather for outdoor activities and super-reasonable prices, and you’ll see that Georgia is certainly worthy of the buzz it’s getting. 

To help you get started on your Georgian adventure, here are a few things to know before you go...

Essential information

Plugging in/measurements

Georgian electrical sockets use a standard European 220V plug that has two round prong sockets. For using American appliances with flat-prongs in Georgia, you’ll need an adapter. If your appliance does not accept 110-240V, you should also bring a converter.

For travelling, you’ll find distances measured in metres and kilometres.

Note: Don’t plan on buying electronics in Georgia unless you have to – available stock may not include the latest models or gadgets; what you do find can be pricey, so try to bring what you need.

Visas and entry

Citizens of 94 countries can visit Georgia for up to one year visa-free. The list includes the EU, UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and many others. 

Next on the list are 62 countries whose citizens can obtain an e-visa, and stay in the country fpr 90 days within a180-day period.

Border control can be strict and seemingly random at times, so check carefully to make sure you have the correct visa for Georgia and all your paperwork is in order. 

Check the entry requirements for certain passports, and adjust your plans accordingly.

Money and ATMs

Georgian currency is the Georgian Lari, or the GEL, only used within Georgia. Bring another popular currency for exchange, such as USD (preferred), EUR, Turkish Lira, GBP or Russian Ruble. 

Airport taxis may accept USD, but taxis never accept cards.

Currency exchange houses offer the best commission-free rates, except at the airport, where you’ll get a better rate pulling out GEL at an ATM.

Cash is most widely used, with debit or credit cards also accepted in larger venues. Have cash on hand for small cafes, bakeries, bazaars, and street vendors who don’t accept cards.

ATMs accept most international cards (expect $1-5.00 USD usage fees) and are available in major cities and small towns, but not in remote villages.

Safety and respectful behaviour in Georgia

In general, Georgia is a very safe country for visitors. Petty street crime is not common; just keep an eye on your belongings when on crowded public transport or in touristy places. 

The majority of the Georgian population are Orthodox Christians, and the country is conservative. Solo women may want to dress accordingly, especially at night, to avoid unwanted male attention.

Liberal activities or public displays of affection between couples are not appreciated and could be met by negative reactions. 

Tiny Georgia often finds itself at the centre of political upheaval, and these last years have been trying. Therefore, it’s better to avoid political discussions unless you know a person well.

Georgians can be quite emphatic and blustery when it comes to matters of national pride, so try not to ruffle any feathers with outside opinions.


Georgia has quite a range of accommodation options, from 5-star hotels in the large cities and resort areas, to upscale boutique hotels to comfy B&B/guesthouses. Self-catering apartments and hostels are also in abundance. 

Smaller towns and villages offer family guesthouse stays and these are perfect for an authentic Georgian cultural experience. 

Georgians are famous for their hospitality, and with homestays, you get a go-to person for local insider tips and services. Especially around holidays,  you’ll experience seasonal festivities in local style, for some unforgettable memories.


Although about 30% of the adult population in Georgia smokes cigarettes, most restaurants and cafes abide by a non-smoking ban that came into effect in 2019. 


Georgia has a drinking society. With its history as the originators of wine, almost everyone (especially in villages) makes their own wine or loves to drink wine.

Beer, wine, and spirits are available in markets everywhere. It’s not uncommon to see groups of local men sitting around a park bench, conversing and sharing a 5-litre bottle of beer, each with a small plastic cup in hand.

Also popular is chacha, Georgia’s fierce home-brewed grape brandy, usually about 60 proof.


Most nice restaurants and cafes offer toilet use, but some small shops will not, or will hesitate, unless there’s an emergency. 

For the record, public toilets (outside of businesses) are often Turkish-style “hole-in-the-ground” squat toilets with little privacy.

Modern hotels and apartments allow toilet paper to be flushed, but do always ask, as it’s common that Georgian plumbing cannot accommodate paper down the toilet.

In Georgia, if you see a trash receptacle near the toilet and signage indicating to toss your toilet paper there after use, please do so! 


Georgia is not generally a tipping culture, so tipping is optional

Most restaurants add 18% tax to your bill, plus a 10% service fee. The service fee is not a tip for the server… it usually goes toward covering restaurant overhead. So, tip the server using cash directly; it will be much appreciated.


The tap water in Georgia is perfectly safe to drink. That said, the capital city’s water has a higher mineral content, and could upset sensitive stomachs. 

In outlying areas, tap water is excellent quality, often directly from springs. Markets sell delicious local bottled artesian spring water (flat or fizzy) at reasonable prices (also good for treating hangovers, according to local sources!).


WIFI is widespread in Georgia. Most hotels, apartments, and hostels are equipped with high-speed WIFI. Almost all cafes have WIFI, and larger cities offer hotspots in the downtown areas. Some cafes welcome you to open up your laptop and stay a while; others are strictly WIFI only, frowning on laptop usage. 

SIM Cards 

It’s super easy to get a local SIM card in Georgia. Most people use WhatsApp for chatting.

Bring your passport to sign up for an inexpensive SIM card – around 10 GEL ($3.80 USD). You can get minimal data for an additional 5 GEL ($1.90 USD)


  • Magti - most widespread and best coverage for the country, reliable service.

  • Silknet - service package/price point is not quite as good as Magti

When to visit

Georgia has many landscapes, with varying weather depending on the time of year. With typical to dramatic wintry climes in the mountains, there are also flat plains and seasides that see less variables.

The western coastal Black Sea area is humid and mild, while central areas receive seasonal weather. The southern and eastern areas are more extreme, with long, snowy, bitter winters and hot, dry summers.

Spring and autumn are brief, but full of colour and great weather.

Getting to Georgia

Flying into Georgia

Georgia has three international airports – Tbilisi, Batumi, and Kutaisi. Most flights into the country arrive after midnight, so you’ll want to plan ahead for transport from the airport to your accommodation. Accommodations expect that visitors can arrive in the early morning hours, so book accordingly. 

Options for airport transport include:

  • Airport bus 

  • Airport taxi 

  • Pre-arranged Uber / rideshare  

  • Pre-arranged private transfer

  • Rental car

Entering Georgia Via Car or Bus

Georgia shares land borders with:

  • Turkey (south, 3 borders)

  • Armenia (south, 3 borders) 

  • Russia (north, one border) 

  • Azerbaijan (east) 

You can enter Georgia via these borders by car or bus. 


Cargo transport ferries operate on the Black Sea from Bulgaria to the port cities of Batumi and Poti (3-day trip). From all reports, they’re sketchy at best for the few sporting passengers, as they’re impossible to pre-book and prone to cancellations, with rustic rooms, poor meals, and no WIFI. 

Plus side: Three days of possible dolphin viewing!

The disputed areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia

The Abkhazia border is still closed. South Ossetia can only be visited from the Russian side, not from the Georgian side.

Travelling around Georgia

Options for getting around within Georgia include:

  • Buses – large coaches, between city routes

  • Mini-buses (Marshrutkas) within and between cities

  • Private Car Transfer (with driver)

  • Railway

  • Car rental

  • Airlines

There is limited large coach bus service within Georgia, but to get rapidly from point A to point B, choose smaller minivans, known as marshrutkas. They’re more frequent, faster, and inexpensive. That said, they’re often crowded, and the driving can be erratic.

If you’re up for a challenge, renting a car is a wonderful way to travel within Georgia. Be mindful of local drivers who can be aggressive and devil-may-care, especially in Tbilisi, and on winding, curvy roads.   

Private car hire with a driver is not too expensive in Georgia, and is comfortable, a time-saver, and reliable. 

Georgia has a limited rail service. Most trains are older, but relatively inexpensive and comfortable enough. 

For crossing the country from Tbilisi to Batumi (via Kutaisi), or vice-versa, try the gorgeous new Stadler speed train that is superfast, comfortable and more expensive, yet still reasonably priced.

There are also limited in-country flights between the major cities.

What to pack 

If you travel to several places in Georgia, you’ll need appropriate layers of clothing to cover you for different climates. Bring rain gear and an umbrella, as weather can change quickly, and you’ll likely encounter rainy weather at some point in your stay.

When visiting mosques or churches, women should have a nice scarf to wear as a head covering, along with dresses that at least reach the knee or below. Men should avoid tank tops and shorts.

Cultural tips and customs

  • Georgians usually dine out family-style, so if the restaurant service may seem odd, it’s assumed that dishes will be shared among the party. Dishes arrive at the table as they are ready, for example, not all mains at the same time, and appetizers may arrive after the mains.

  • Georgian city and neighborhood parks, and the seaside promenades, often have an open stand of gym equipment. These mini-gyms are free for public use, so if you feel like doing a few bench presses or pull-ups, go ahead and enjoy! 

  • Georgians are very hospitable and will regularly invite visitors to their homes to wine and dine, as, culturally, a “guest” is always treated royally. We’ve even had Georgian strangers on the street go out of their way to walk us several blocks to find something we were looking for, even insisting on buying the inexpensive item for us!

  • On the other hand, some Georgians you haven’t met may seem abrupt – even pushy, in terms of queuing at shops, etc. Don’t worry, it’s not personal. 

  • Georgians love to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries with a quick round of fireworks (from their yard or balcony) at midnight… so don’t be surprised when you hear these random loud displays almost every night in the cities.

  • Customer service is not overly friendly, and store employees might follow you around as you shop. This, also, is not personal, but is motivated by the fact that any loss comes out of their (relatively meagre) salaries.

  • You might overhear two Georgians and think they’re arguing intensely, but they’re probably just talking about what to have for dinner. They’re not angry; it’s just that Georgians (by their own admission) are loud!

  • When you hear the word “Ara!” in conversations… it means “no” and you’ll hear it often. For a flat-out, big-time “NO!” you’ll hear “Ara” accompanied by arms crossed at the forearms, palms out, in front of the face and body.

Useful words

The Georgian language is one of the oldest on earth, with its own beautiful script. It’s known as Kartuli in Georgia, and sounds amazing, although the words can be real tongue-twisters for foreigners.  

Young people throughout the country generally speak English. Don’t try to count on Google, though, as the translator comes up with some very strange translations! 

Here are a few common words to get you started:

  • Hello – Gamarjoba (gah-mar-jo-ba) 

  • Goodbye/See you later – Nakhvamdis (knock-vahm-dees)

  • Thank you – Madloba (mahd-low-ba)

  • Yes – Ki (kee)

  • No – Ara (ah-rah)

  • Excuse Me  - Ukatsravad (oo-kat-sa-ra-vad) As in, to pass by someone; you can shorten it to “Uka” and they’ll move out of the way. You can also use it to get someone’s attention.

  • How much? - Ramdeni lari? (rahm-deh-nee lah-ree) as in, the price of something.

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Maysie Dee

Author - Maysie Dee

Maysie Dee is a freelance writer, content editor, and recipe creator. She and her husband have travelled across the world for decades as natural product consultants, collecting stories along the way.

Last Updated 9 March 2024

Colourful buildings and churches in Tbilisi, Georgia


Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia offers a diverse and stunning natural landscape, intriguing history and good food and wine.