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Now's the time to start planning our trip to the Republic of Georgia. And that means reading a lot of blog posts and trip reports for information and - not less important - inspiration. This list curates the best and most useful online content I could find about visiting the Republic of Georgia. I will definitely be returning to these resources in the future, and I hope others will find it useful as well.
The Republic of Georgia is on our list of travel destinations for 2018. That means now is the time to start learning everything I can about this country and everything that it offers travelers. What is there to see and do? Where should we go to? Should we rent a car or use public transportation? How long should we spend in the Republic of Georgia? Should this be a single-country trip? Should we stay at hotels or vacation rentals? Or maybe couchsurf our way through the country? How do we keep ourselves - kids included - safe? And yes, there are even more questions!
And being the anxious traveler that I am, it's not just about getting the information. I need to be inspired in order to get over my fears and worries and actually pack up the kids and husband and leave our safe little hole in the ground in Middle-Earth (or, Middle East in our case!) Fortunately, travel blogs can help with that!
These eleven blogs really helped me get a better sense of what traveling in the Republic of Georgia might be like. They offer advice - from safety issues to which foods to try - and detailed trip reports. And photos! Lots of awesome photos! So, here goes -
Blog: A Little Adrift by Shannon O'donnell
Travel blogger and digital nomad Shannon shares tons of super useful information in her post about Traveling Georgia. She covers all the basics - what currency do they use? what vaccinations are necessary? and do you need a visa? - and moves on to a list of things to do in and around the capital Tbilisi.
For sheer inspiration, I really enjoyed her other post about Uncovering the Charms of Tbilisi, Georgia - a fantastic compilation of photos and Shannon's impressions of the city she confesses to have become a fan of.
The fact that Shannon - a solo female traveler - felt so safe in Tbilisi, made me feel better about choosing the Republic of Georgia as a destination for family travel.
Blog: Go Travel Your Way by Josh Cahill
Josh is another uber traveller with a knack for visiting off-the-beaten-track countries. We probably may not be able to follow in his footsteps and visit Iran and Afghanistan, so it's extra cool to learn that he's really enjoyed Georgia!
His post about 8 reasons to travel to Georgia and Tbilisi has some good tips about visiting Tbilisi, Kazbegi and Batumi, along the shores of the Black Sea.
Blog: Beyond Toxicity @ DocGelo.com by Doc Gelo
Doc Gelo (yes, he's actually a physician!) shares a spectacular trip he's made to Georgia last winter. This excellent trip report has it all. From information about the country to a detailed - step-by-step and photo-by-photo - description of the good doctor's excursions.
And food. This post is about the culinary experience as much as it is about the winterland adventures in the mountains of Georgia and in Tbilisi itself. To quote Doc Gelo: Khinkali and Khachapuri. Enough said.
Site: IndependentTraveler.com. Trip review by Marinel de Jesus.
This trip report by Marinel de Jesus adds a lot of information about hiking in the mountains of Georgia. We love hiking as a family and while we may choose shorter trails - it's definitely we'd like to try there.
Marinel's trip was in September and boy, does Georgia looks beautiful that time of year! I have my sights on June for our own trip, but looks like there's a lot of flexibility, so that's encouraging!
Blog: Reinis Fischer by Reinis Fischer
What a treasure trove of information about traveling in the Republic of Georgia this blog is! Originally from Latvia, Reinis Fischer came to live and work in Tbilisi. When this digital nomad isn't busy coding for a living, he travels and writes about it in his blog.
He carefully documents specific places in Georgia, including museums, lakes, monuments and lots more. Everything is neatly available through a database you can search by region or type of attraction. This is one resource that I will definitely be going back to before we travel. Multiple times.
Blog: That Backpacker by Audrey Bergner
As far as I can tell, this is a guest blog post by Zach Murphy, a traveling photographer according to his bio. This post is unique in describing a self-drive road trip from Tbilisi to Batumi.
Road tripping is our favorite mode of travel, so for me, this post contains priceless information. Zach covers everything from renting a car through a detailed road trip itinerary, with beautiful photos to boot.
Blog: The Thrift Trip by Jhoysi
Jhoysi also traveled from Dubai to the Republic of Georgia during the winter of 2016. Although she claims her trip was "unlucky" in more ways than one, she did write several very useful blog posts about it.
Ther post titled The Essentials - Georgia Budget Travel Must Haves is a keeper. Full of the most practical things you can think of, from currency & budget advice to which socket adapters you should bring. Her other posts about the visit are useful too, each one depicting a certain region in Georgia which she traveled to during that trip.
Blog: Travel The World by Katherine & Romeo
Traveling couple, Katherine and Romeo, share their Georgia adventures in six blog posts, covering the Kakheti province and Tbilisi itself. And food! I really enjoyed their post about 30 Traditional Foods to Try in Georgia! Talk about thoroughly researching a country's cuisine! Each of the 30(!) dishes comes with its name in Georgian, both phonetically transcribed and printed in the local alphabet. The description gives you the rundown on the food's history and the traditional serving methods. How else would you know that the handle of a khinkali is not meant to be eaten? A practice that the Soviets apparently really didn't like.
The other posts are just as practical and just as beautifully illustrated!
9. Blog: Not Here by Tom O'hara
British blogger Tom O'hara offers a unique angle on traveling in the Republic of Georgia. With an evident interest in history, culture and even politics, he traveled other former-soviet countries as well, including the Balkans and Uzbekistan, giving him a unique perspective on the situation in Georgia.
I find his descriptions refreshingly sincere and sometimes even poignant, going beyond the usual "fun" vibe most bloggers stick to. His three posts about Georgia combine useful tidbits and travel suggestions with insights that go deeper than most travel blog posts usually do.
Blog: Nomadasaurus by Alesha and Jarryd
I think you can say Alesha and Jarryd - digital nomads and travel bloggers - were accidental tourists in the Republic of Georgia. Their post begins by stating just how unprepared they were for this spontaneous excursion, added to their visit to Azerbaijan.
Their post is - as the title suggests - all about the atmosphere of the Old City of Tbilisi. It's appropriately illustrated with heaps of photos, showcasing the charm of old - and sometimes dilapidated - buildings.
Blog: Picnic at The Cathedral by Wife of Bath
This travel blogger from Chicago brings a cultural flavor to traveling but her writing style is anything but "stuffy". I really enjoyed reading her posts about traveling in the The Republic of Georgia. They offered a LOT of advice and were down-to-earth and fun! This post about advice for independent travelers in Georgia is one of the most useful ones I've read so far.
Alas, there seems to be an issue with the images on her blog. It really is a shame and I can only hope it's a temporary problem that will be fixed soon. The descriptions of the photos really make me want to see them!
So, what am I taking from these blogs?
The one thing all of the bloggers agreed on is that Georgians are extremely hospitable. Guests are considered a gift from heaven and treated accordingly (and who wouldn't want to be considered a gift from heaven, I ask you?)
These blog posts described various methods of traveling outside of Tbilisi, including a self-drive road trip, trains, Marshrutkas (a form of ad-hoc fare-share taxi), organized guided tours and even hiking. They certainly left me with food for thought regarding our own method of transportation in the Republic of Georgia.
Speaking of food, I can see how a trip to Georgia would be a culinary adventure for us parents and a potential issue for my finicky teenagers. For now, I'm going to try and focus on the positive and hope that like most other places in the world, either cooked white rice or french fries will be available in most places.
Perhaps most importantly, I am relieved to see that all of the bloggers felt safe in Georgia. In fact, very much so. And not just in Tbilisi either. As with all less-traveled destinations, that is an issue, especially when traveling with kids.
So, overall? I can't wait to get to the Republic of Georgia! Granted, we have at least two trips to go through before that one (Paris & Berlin this spring, followed by Alaska in the summer) but I am more confident than ever that a trip to the Republic of Georgia is going to happen in 2018!
Let me know what you think of this blog post roundup, and what your thoughts on visiting the Republic of Georgia are. Is the country on your Bucket List yet?