Georgia is a great place to visit and over the years, more people have visited the country for several reasons. The country is safe for tourists, it embraces nature, and has some peculiar customs and traditions. The number of visitors to Georgia grew from about 100,000 tourists annually to 6.5 million within 20 years. In addition to the attractions Georgia has to offer, there was a huge political change in the nation that allowed the government to open Georgia to the world and make it a global tourist site. As a result of this, more stakeholders are willing to invest in the real estate industry and according to Area.ge, there are accurate, genuine and verified listings for properties in Georgia.
Are you traveling to Georgia any time soon or do you have it on your bucket list? This article points out some basic things you need to know before traveling to Georgia.
1. Background and History
Georgia was the last of the thirteen colonies to be founded; it was founded in 1732 and became independent in 1991. It is at the intersection of Europe and Asia with about 3.7 million residents. The history of Georgia includes the several kingdoms that were established on the land eons ago before Georgia was born.
There’s a whole lot more to learn about Georgia and this is only a brief. You don’t need to know everything about the country but it is advisable to have a little knowledge of any place you visit. This will not only add to your knowledge but also give you an insight into their tradition and culture, which could indirectly improve your travel experience.
2. Visas for Georgia
The last thing any traveler would want is to get delayed or stopped due to visa requirements. To avoid this, ensure you do proper research on visas for Georgia before you travel. Citizens of more than 90 countries do not require visas to visit Georgia, which is good news but you need to confirm if your country is one of them. If it is on the list, you will get your visa stamp at the airport. If it isn’t, you may have to work on getting your visa before getting on a flight.
3. Learn some of the Local Language
To have a better experience, it is advisable to learn some basic Georgian or Russian words. Although they speak English in the central cities, you might have a little language barrier if you travel across the country or visit remote areas. Learning a bit of the language will help you not to restrict yourself, especially if you plan to make the best of your visit.
When it comes to the central cities of Georgia, like Tbilisi, Batumi, and Kutaisi, the English language is quite widespread, and the majority of signs and announcements are also in English.
4. Food in Georgia
Georgia also has a diverse cuisine; they have delicious, filling, and cheap food. Some of their famous dishes include Khachapuri, Khinkali, and Lobia.
Food in Georgia is inexpensive. If you are mostly eating at the restaurants and cafes, you should know that tipping the waiter in Georgia is not required to be done. Most of the restaurants and cafes already include a 10% service fee on the bill, so the tipping is upon your wish.
5. Cash economy
In Georgia there aren’t many places which accept credit cards. Georgia’s currency is called the lari and you will most likely be forced to use cash. You will find numerous ATMs that accept foreign cards. There won’t be any problems with changing US Dollars, Euros, or Russian Roubles.
6. Challenging Transportation
Public transportation in the major cities of Georgia are relatively well-structured, but traveling across the country might be challenging. The bus station is kind of unorganized, and if you are on the budget, the cheapest method of transport are mini buses called marshrutkas. They usually only leave when they are full, meaning that there is a big chance that you might wait for your ride to leave. The wait can be anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes on average. It is not an uncommon thing for your car/bus/train to break down. Not everything about transportation is likely to be challenging, for example the metro in Tbilisi is pretty cheap, where each trip on it costs only 0.50 GEL ($0.20 USD), no matter the distance. But make sure you first buy a reloadable card for 2 GEL ($0.80 USD) and load some money on it.
7. Gift from guest
In Georgia, there is an unwritten rule that a guest should bring some kind of gift to any house at which he stays. People from Georgia are amazing hosts, and they will make sure that you feel comfortable at their house. A guest in this country is considered to be a “gift from God”, and Georgians will treat you like a royalty in their home. That includes a constant reminder to eat and drink.
Your gift doesn’t have to be anything spectacular, you can bring a box of chocolate, or a bottle of any alcoholic beverage, or just flowers.
Georgia is a religious country, and more than 80% of its population practices Eastern Orthodox Christianity. You will see lots of churches and monasteries of a different era and architectural style. Some churches are located on the hills, so it might be a good excuse to go on a hike in case you want to visit them.
As you may already conclude from the previous, Georgians are known for their hospitality. They will make you feel welcomed, and will be friendly and generous, even offering to help you or give you some suggestions.
These days Internet is very important to us, so you should know that Georgia is well connected and there is free Wi-Fi everywhere. You won’t have to worry about being forced to take a break from your Instagram feed, because Internet is well established.
Other things to know include accommodation and your transportation to Georgia, which depends on your budget and preference. Above all, ensure you do proper research before setting out on your adventure.