Written by Mountain Leon
Located at the edge of Europe and Asia, Georgia is a fantastic place for backpackers to explore. As well as plenty of activities like trekking, climbing, horse riding, and skiing in some of the cheapest ski resorts in Europe, you can also enjoy class beach resorts and areas of outstanding natural beauty.
And the best part? Georgia has some of the cheapest quality accommodation you can find. So whether you’re a solo traveler searching for your next adventure, a couple looking for a new destination explore, or a group of friends eager to experience a country which has something for everyone, read on to find out how much it costs to travel around Georgia.
There are plenty of hostels and budget hotels across Georgia. Booking.com is a great resource, as you’ll have access to the best deals and it will probably be easier than trying to book directly in English.
The average price for a room with a shared kitchen and bathroom is 20 to 25 GEL ($8 to $10). If you’re looking for something even cheaper, there are also many hostels with dorm rooms if you’re happy sharing your sleeping area.
It’s easy to find quality, cheap accommodation in bigger cities like Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, and Rustavi. It’s worth reading other traveler reviews and splashing out slightly more on accommodation that has better reviews. During the peak season between July and early September, it’s usual for prices to be slightly higher, especially in popular beach destinations like Batumi.
Public transport is a great way to get around when you’re backpacking through Georgia. Inner city buses usually cost 0.5 GEL ($0.20) for a one-way ticket, and there are good connections between major cities too. For instance, the five hour trip from Tbilisi to Batumi costs around 20 GEL ($8.20), and the two hour trip from Kutaisi to Batumi costs 10 GEL ($4.10).
When traveling between major cities, you could also fly or hop on a train, but buses are often the easiest (and cheapest) way of moving around.
There are three international airports in Georgia. If you’re flying from Europe, Wizzair offers good prices and fly into Kutaisi. There are plenty of buses into the city center and connections to other places like Tbilisi and Batumi.
If you’re flying from Russia, Turkey, or other Eastern Europe countries, you can often find cheap flights into Batumi and Tbilisi.
English isn’t widely spoken, so if you fancy a slightly easier journey from the airport, you can book a taxi or contact your hostel to arrange for a pickup. It’s always best to have some back-up taxi numbers on you, as they aren’t always reliable. And of course, this is a more expensive option than using public transport; you can expect to pay between 25 and 50 GEL ($10.25 and $21), depending on the driver.
Eating and Drinking
If you’re on a budget, you’ll be pleased to know restaurants across Georgia offer similar dishes at reasonable prices. If it’s meat you’re after, try a local dumpling with a spicy meat filling called khinkali. Vegetarian khinkali are also available, typically filled with a mozzarella-like cheese or vegetables. They usually cost 0.7 GEL ($0.30) a piece, and you can fill up with 6 or 7. Bear in mind that most restaurants add a 10% surcharge for service.
Bakeries are also very common and a cheaper alternative to eating out. Khachapuri, a traditional pie filled with local cheese, is a tasty option for breakfast (or any time of day), but won’t be great for your waistline as they’re filled with plenty of butter. You can expect to pay 2 GEL ($0.80) per piece in bakeries and 6 – 8 GEL ($2.5 to $3.30) in restaurants.
If you’re visiting Georgia between June and October, make the most of the fresh fruit and vegetables available in markets and make your own meals (if where you’re staying has a kitchen). You can buy a kilo of tomatoes, cucumbers, and a variety of fruit for as little as 2 to 2.5 GEL ($0.80 to $1).
Water (0.33L bottle) = 0.5 GEL ($0.20)
Soda = 1.3 GEL ($0.50)
Cappuccino or Latte = 3.9 GEL ($1.60)
Local draught beer (0.5L) = 2.3 GEL ($0.95)
Imported bottled beer (0.33L) = 4 GEL ($1.65)
Meal for 1 in a local restaurant = 15 GEL ($6)
3 course meal for 2 in a mid-range restaurant = 50 GEL ($21)
Loaf of bread = 0.9 GEL ($0.40)
Local cheese (1Kg) = 9 GEL ($3.70)
Seasonal fruit (1Kg) = 2.5 GEL ($1)
Water (1.5L) = 1 GEL ($0.40)
Local beer (0.5L bottle) = 2 GEL ($0.80)
Imported beer (0.33L bottle) = 3 GEL ($1.20)
Bottle of wine = 12 GEL ($4.95)
Depending on the type of traveler you are and what you enjoy doing when you’re in a new destination, other expenses will include entrance fees for museums and other attractions, beach clubs, or exploring the culinary and bar scene, so I’ll leave that up to you.
If you’re interested in buying a local SIM card with a data plan, Geocell offers good service even in the remotest of places. For 7 GEL ($2.90) you can get a monthly plan which includes internet access.
Georgia has a lot of to offer, and you can easily get by on 40 GEL ($16.40) per day by booking a room with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities, preparing a few meals yourself as well as eating out in restaurants, and using public transport for getting around.
If you’d like to make your money go even further, go for a shared dorm, make most of your meals yourself, and avoid splashing out on coffees and alcohol.
About The Author: Cal Bailey runs Mountain Leon – a travel blog he started after two years on backpacking around the world. If you want to learn more about life on the road or tips for travelling, you can read his latest post about choosing the right sleeping bag.
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