How to Travel in Georgia on a Budget

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How to Travel in Georgia on a Budget

International travel is the dream of many across the world. Visions of extravagant lands, foreign people, and fun, exciting cultural experiences are what many consider to be the perfect break from life.

This is why many people have chosen Georgia as their perfect traveling destination. However, money is often a large barrier for many would-be travelers.

What many people don’t know is that it can be incredibly inexpensive to travel within. You can get a fun cultural experience without breaking the bank.

The U.S dollar (USD) goes far in Georgia. The conversation rate is almost one USD to three Lari. In other words, 100 USD is almost 300 Lari. This makes travel accommodations and expenses relatively inexpensive for Americans and other users of the USD to afford.

With that in mind, this guide was created to help you understand the best way to budget travel when looking for places to visit in Georgia or things to do as well.

Getting the Most Bang For Your Buck

Before making your visit to Georgia, ensure that you’ve done the research and know the current currency exchange rate. This will help you fully understand just how much money you’ll need to have the time of your life.

Currently, the exchange rate is close to one 1 UDS per 3 Lari. However, the rate may change in the future.

It’s estimated that you can travel, eat, sleep, and live throughout Georgia for about 10 days with 300 USD. This makes it one of the most cost-effective vacation destinations in the world.

If you’re a college student, employed professional, or someone who simply wants to visit somewhere extraordinary, Georgia will always be a fantastic option.

Plan carefully and communicate with your accommodation hosts well in advance to ensure that your trip goes off without a hitch.

You Can’t Beat Free

If you’re looking to travel on a budget in Georgia, you can’t beat free. You’ll be happy to know that there are several free options you can consider when looking for things to do in Georgia.

You may not see it often in the U.S, but couch surfing is popular within Georgia. This is especially true within the hipster crowd of Tbilisi. They’re known to be friendly, outgoing, and will welcome you into their homes for open arms.

If you have contacts within Tbilisi or Georgia, it’s always worth it to reach out and see if they know someone that won’t mind you crashing on a couch for a few days.

If you’re from outside of Georgia, you’ll be in luck. The locals love foreigners and welcome them often. Georgians know that tourists and travelers are a large part of the economy and are thankful for them to be interested in the culture and the beautiful country. You’ll often find a free meal, drink, or shot when you go out upon the time.

While it’s plausible that you could find all the food, drink, accommodations, and activates to do without charge, you shouldn’t bank on it.

You’ll find prices in Georgia, are affordable. These expenses are referenced throughout the article

The next sections will give you the best information on how to travel on a budget in Georgia.

Food and Drink

On average, a half-liter bottle of water from a typical store within Georgia will run you about 40 cents.

Restaurant lunches come in at an average of $4.90 and dinner will come with an expense of approximately $6.60.

You’ll find many amazing options if you’re looking at Tbilisi restaurants. Local cuisine is incredibly easy to come by. In the same vein, local restaurants know that there is a large population of travelers that come and go. Because of this, many restaurants in large cities will offer a variety of cuisine options.

Georgian food, European food, and American food can all be found with ease.

If you’re looking to travel on a budget in Georgia for 10 days, you’ll want to ensure that you budget around $8 a day for plenty of food.

Tap water can be found free of charge, so consider extra drinks in your budget if you plan on drinking some Georgian wine, beer, or other beverages beyond water.

Avoid eating in areas that are crowded with tourists and other travelers. These restaurants know that the majority of their business will come from people who are willing to spend a bit more money.

Look for restaurants that locals go to. You may find the perfect ‘hole-in-the-wall’ and get the best meal of your trip without having to spend more money.

If you prefer home-cooked meals, groceries are relatively inexpensive when compared to other countries. Look for local markets where you can purchase your goods directly from the supplier. These local markets will save you the increased cost that comes with dealing with a middleman in the supply chain.

Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy the freshest ingredients possible!

If you’re going to be traveling throughout the country and making frequent stops, try to stay in smaller villages and towns that are nearby large cities that hold the adventures you’re looking for.

This way, you’ll get to experience two unique sides to Georgian culture. At the same time, these small towns and villages are known to be less expensive when compared to major cities. You’ll find cheaper food that tastes just as delicious.

Attractions

Throughout Georgia, you’ll find hundreds of different attractions and destinations that will catch your eye.

But, what are the best attractions when you’re traveling on a budget? Lucky for you, Georgia offers plenty of opportunities for those who are restricted to the money.

Museums are going to be one of the cheapest attractions, but carry some of the best cultural experiences we have to offer. Generally, you can expect to pay $2.00 at most for admission. However, some tickets may be as low as under $1.00. Plus, those are just the ones that charge. Free museums are plentiful and easily accessed as well.

If you’re a student, of any age, with an ID, you’ll be eligible for tons of discounts as well. Student IDs are accepted at most museums. Those who are old enough will also qualify for age discounts which can reduce the cost even more.

Budget Destinations

Finding destinations that are inexpensive and easy to visit when traveling on a budget in Georgia is easy.

There are many places you can visit where the main attraction won’t cost you too many pretty pennies.

Here they are

Historical and Religious Sites

You’ll find that there is a wide variety of options when it comes to

Historic and religious sites can make for a great day trip on a budget. Throughout Georgia, there are many historical sites. Georgia has a deep and rich history that has overcome many wondrous tales, travesties, and challenges.

You’ll find sites from the age of the Soviet Union, remnants of the homes of kings and queens, and more.

If you’re near Tbilisi, consider making a day trip to Gori. It’s located 86 kilometers from the city and is home to the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. You’ll be able to see his house and what it looked like. Other things shown include important documents and several facts about his life throughout your time there.

Religious sites are scattered throughout the country as well. Most of them are from the period when Christianity first came to Georgia.

These sites can be cathedrals, ruins, or even monasteries. They’re filled with unique stories and engaging history.

If you plan your trip accordingly, visiting a number of these historical and religious sites is entirely possible. They’re relatively inexpensive to visit and Georgia travel guides recommend them frequently.

Try checking out the Bagrati Cathedral, the Svetitskhoveli CathedralTushetiUjarma Fortress, or Mtskheta.

National Parks

You’ll quickly realize that Georgia is home to one of the most beautiful places on Earth. From the mountains to the sea, to the parks throughout the land, it’s easy to see why Georgians pride themselves in the land.

One of the cheapest things you can do when looking for an activity is to visit some of the national parks Georgia has to offer.

For example, the Tbilisi National Park is located just north of Tbilisi and easily within traveling distances if you’re within the city.

It also borders Mtskheta if you’re looking to do two things in a day. It’s listed as one of 15 amazing places to visit in Georgia, so you can’t miss the opportunity.

It’s a forested nature reserve and is meant to preserve the true aspect of nature from the hustle and bustle of human life. You’ll find a vast variety of wildlife to view and enjoy at your leisure.

There are also multiple hiking trails that you can experience. Regardless if you’re a beginner, intermediate, or veteran, there will be a hiking trail for you.

It’s one of nine national parks that Georgia has to offer.

Other national parks include:

  • Algeti National Park
  • Mtirala National Park
  • Kolkheti National Park
  • Borjomi & Kharagauli National Park
  • Kintrishi Nature Reserve
  • Bichvinta-Miusera Nature Reserve
  • Sataplia Nature Reserve
  • Forest Sabaduri

Getting Around

On average, a metro ride in Tbilisi will run you $0.20, a tax ride within Tbilisi will cost between $2.00 and $7.00, and, of course, hitchhiking is free.

If you’re in Tbilisi or another large city, this makes traveling via taxi or private guide services the most expensive option. You’ll likely want to avoid these.

For the cheapest travel, try hitchhiking. Or, a better year, try the cheap public transportation that larger cities offer.

City buses, marshrutkas (minibusses), and metro are all available within Tbilisi. These will run you next to nothing when compared to the costs of taxis and other private services.

If you’re looking to travel between long distances, you won’t have to worry much. Trains are a prominent service within Georgia. It’s a favorite among many locals when they travel a long way.

These trains will be your best bet if you’re looking to travel around more.

Accommodations

Where you’ll want to be staying depends on what activities you’ll want to do.

Here are the options you’ll have available as far as accommodations go:

  • Camping
  • Airbnb
  • Hotels
  • Guesthouses
  • Hostels

If you plan on visiting some of the national parks found around the country, you should give camping a try. This experience will not only be inexpensive, but it will allow you to immerse yourself within Georgia’s nature.

If you’re interested in having more outdoor experience in Georgia, one of the cheapest vacations you could have would be to backpack and hike within a national park for several days.

If you’re planning on staying with Tbilisi or another large city for the majority of your trip, avoid hotels and guesthouses unless necessary. While these are still relatively inexpensive, they’re not going to be your best bang for your buck.

Hostel prices come in at approximately $7.00 and will give you a comfortable space to sleep in. However, be prepared to have to deal with other travelers as well.

If you’re stuck on staying in a hotel or guesthouse, you can expect to pay between $15.00 and $20.00 per night.

Hotels and guesthouses are fairly common, but it can be easy to find them all booked up if you’re visiting a popular, yet smaller, destination.

Those who want to travel to popular, smaller destinations, should consider AirBnBs as a viable way to find accommodation while staying on budget. These typically run at $10.00 for a shared house, and a little bit higher for a private area.

Gifts

Gifts and souvenirs will be easily found for cheap, especially if you’re in an urban area such as Tbilisi. Popular items include handmade jewelry, pottery, or other items that you can’t find anywhere else. These are often made by the locals themselves.

If you’re wanting to bring something back for yourself, plus others, you likely won’t need to spend more than $20. If you find some local markets in smaller towns and villages, this number may be even lower.

Throughout the country, you can find gifts almost everywhere at affordable prices. However, don’t wait until you get to the airport. You’ll end up spending more than double on items found there.

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