3 Useful Tips You Need to Check Before Travelling To Georgia
Last Edit: Feb 06, 2020
Before travelling to Georgia, you might need to check our 3 useful tips concerning currency, transportation, and connectivity.
Georgian LARI is the official currency of Georgia.
According to the currency ranking most popular exchange rate is GEL to USD rate, than comes EURO, Turkish Lira, Pound sterling, and Russian Ruble.
You can exchange your money in banks, but we would suggest that you look for exchange points located in the main streets of the city. A. Kazbegi Street in Saburtalo district in Tbilisi is overloaded with such points and rates are always better than in banks. Currency code for Lari is GEL and the symbol is ₾. To see the official exchange rate of Lari against foreign currencies, please visit the official site of National Bank of Georgia.
The singular of Lari is Tetri. We have both: coins and Banknotes. Current coins are: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 Tetri and 1 and 2 Lari; Current Banknotes are: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Lari; Lari is the only legal means of payment on the entire territory of Georgia. In Tbilisi and other cities, hotels, markets, restaurants and points of sales accept payment in cash or by debit and credit cards. Please, keep your cash with you in the country-side, where there might be no banking services and ATMs. Moreover, keep in mind that taxis never accept cards.
Newly designed Georgian Money Banknotes Photo Source: cbw.ge
Public transport in Tbilisi is really affordable. You will find several means of transportation:
TAXI – everywhere you look, you see a taxi! It is one of the cheapest services in Georgia. You can call a taxi service company, or catch a car in the streets. Another option is to order a taxi by an App. We would suggest a Bolt App (formerly Taxify) – android, iOS, but note that it will be by around 1 USD more expensive, depending on the distance. However, drivers are polite, silent, neat and the cars are in descent condition. The cheapest option is to wave a hand in the street. The prices start from 1.5 USD. Almost all central districts cost 1.5 to 3 USD. Please negotiate the price in advance. Please also note, that the taxi that is waiting for the customer at the parking lot will charge much more than a taxi that is on the go. If you order a taxi by phone, it should arrive in 10-15 minutes.
Taxi from the airport to the city center costs from 10 to 15 USD depending on the car model, time of departure and sometimes even the mood of the driver. Try to pick a taxi that has just delivered a customer. They will tend to agree on the lower prices than those that are waiting at the entrance.
Most taxi drivers do not speak your language, so be prepared to use any means of communication. Here are contacts of several taxi companies:
Taxi in Tbilisi Photo Source: yogurttales.blogspot
MINI BUS – locals call it Marshrutka. They are yellow in Tbilisi and have numbers on the front glass. Each number is assigned to a specific rout. Note that schedules are never accurate, some delays are inevitable. Transportation per person costs less than 0.30 USD in most of Georgian cities. If you plan to stay for several days, you can get a travel card – Metromoney – in any metro station for just 1 USD. With this card the first trip will cost 0.30 USD, but all the following trips will be discounted to 0.25 USD. You can catch a Marshutka by waving your hand.
Marshutkas Photo Source: liberali.ge
BUS – Tbilisi yellow buses also have their own routes. They cost 0.2 USD. You can pay using your charged Metromoney, or by coins (you must have 5, 10, 20 or 50 Tetri coins). If you want to control your time and plan your journey, you can use a mobile application, but again, do not expect precise accuracy.
Yellow Buses in Tbilisi Photo Source: liberali.ge
METRO is the fastest source of public transport in Tbilisi, but unfortunately there are only 22 metro stations in the city, so you might have to walk a bit to arrive to the final destination. Transportation costs 0.20 USD per person. You are not able to travel without Metromoney. It is a fast and comfortable way of transportation.
Tbilisi Metro Photo Source: wikipedia.org
If you want to drive yourself, you can rent a car, pricing starts from around 45 USD per day. You must carry your driving license, fasten your seat belt and most importantly, be ready for the extreme experience. Traffic in Tbilisi is overloaded and chaotic. Parking is also a problem. For more on transportation means in Georgia click here.
Stay Online in Georgia
There are three operators in Georgia: Magti, Geocell & Beeline. All of them have 4G networks and good coverage. All cities are covered with high speed 4G networks, the coverage is a bit worse in rural areas and quite poor in high mountains. Magti even offers a 4,5G network.
All three have service centers on the central street – Rustaveli avenue in Tbilisi. Visiting them here is probably the easiest way to purchase a SIM cards. Other than that, mobile operators have service centers almost in every district of Tbilisi and in all major cities in Georgia. Magti is more expensive, but with the best network performance. Geocell has very interesting buckets for mobile data and Beeline has the cheapest prices, but somewhat poor coverage in rural areas. In general, approximately 10 USD per month will let you receive unlimited minutes and SMS, and quite a lot of internet data.
Photo Source: Iare Pekhit
We have “Tbilisi Loves You” free Wi-Fi in Tbilisi central areas. However, Tbilisi dwellers joke that it resembles a Georgian girl – saying she loves you but refusing to have sex with you. So, it could be useful in tough times, but usually it has a poor performance.
Almost all hotels, hostels and Airbnb places, restaurants and cafes in major cities have free Wi-Fi.
But to be on the safe side you can buy a 3G or 4G Mobile Wi-Fi modems with a SIM card and get a rule data as a gift. Just activate internet, connect any of your devices, put modem in your backpack and enjoy Georgia while being connected. You can ask for modems in any of the mobile operator’s service centers.