Things you should be prepared for traveling to Georgia!
When to travel and weather:
High Season (Jul–Aug)
· Locals’ holiday time; tourist accommodation is crowded.
· Visit mountain areas; the only assured snow-free months for hiking in the high Caucasus.
· Capital and other lowlands unpleasantly hot and humid.
Shoulder Seasons (May-Jun & Sep-Oct)
· May and October offer the most pleasant temperatures in the lowlands.
· Upland areas can be snowbound from late September to early June.
· May is rainy but between showers the flowers are magical.
Low Season (Nov–March)
· Winter sports January to March;
· Inland often below freezing December to February.
· Tbilisi: wet and slushy
· Wintry weather often lasts into April.
Traffic and road conditions:
As in the United States, vehicular traffic in Georgia moves along the right side of roadways. Speed limits range from 80 to 100 km/hr on highways, and from 30 to 60 km/hr on urban thoroughfares. You should exercise extreme caution when driving in Georgia, as many local drivers do not operate their vehicles in accordance with established traffic laws. Traffic signals and rules of the road are often completely ignored.
Undivided two-lane roads connect most major cities in Georgia. Outside of major highways, roads are generally in poor condition, unpaved, and often lack shoulder markings, centerlines, and lighting.
Local currency / Credit Cards:
Georgia’s currency is the Lari (GEL).
· ATMs, generally accepting MasterCard, Visa, Cirrus and Maestro cards, are plentiful in cities and towns.
· There are also plenty of banks and small money-exchange offices in most towns and cities, where you can exchange US dollars and euros
· Credit card acceptance is relatively low compared to other parts of Europe: you can use them at better hotels, restaurants and some shops in the capitals, but less frequently elsewhere.
· You can make purchases with credit cards at some hotels, restaurants, and shops, though less frequently outside Tbilisi.
· There are Western Union offices in many places in case you need to arrange a money transfer.
Power plugs and sockets:
Sockets are designed for European-style plugs with two round pins. In Georgia, the power sockets are of type C and F. The standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
Hotel star rating systems are widely recognized as the definitive way to ascertain a hotel’s overall quality, but the rankings can differ wildly from one country to another. Georgia has its way to rank hotels from one to five stars, established usually by a range of owners of the hotels / sometimes by government agencies / independent companies. So quite often the service you are looking for doesn’t fit international standards.
EU / US citizens are entitled to free public medical and some dental care in Georgia under reciprocal arrangements. However, standards of public health care in the region are very patchy and if you want to use far better but expensive Western-standard clinics in the major cities, good insurance coverage is essential. Ideally get a policy that will make payments directly to providers, rather than reimburse you later.
Public/roadside toilets are rare
· Some basic homestays and guesthouses have squat toilets in an outhouse across the yard.
· Train stations have toilets but they’re often the squat variety and typically incur a small fee to the attendant.
Tap water is generally safe to drink in most of the region. If you aren’t sure of your tap water’s quality, boil tap water for 10 minutes, use water purification tablets or use a filter.
Dangers & Annoyances:
Georgia has very low crime rates. Take normal precautions — don’t flash large amounts of cash, keep a close eye on your belongings in crowded places and transport.
· Climbing and hiking in the mountains have their potential risks. Seek local advice and go with a company or take a guide, especially if you’re heading into isolated areas.
112 — emergency phone number:
112 is the Emergency Response Center that receives emergency calls from all over Georgia via unified emergency number — 1–1–2 for 24-hours. 112 service is free of charge from all fixed-line and mobile networks even if the number is disconnected from both sides or there is no SIM-card in the mobile phone. 112 unifies three different services in Georgia, in particular, these services are patrol police, fire/rescue, and medical services. 112 Emergency Response Center ensures the processing of received calls and transferring them to the relevant services.
Author: Natia Pashurishvili