Last updated on November 2nd, 2019 at 05:34 am
Are you planning a trip to the Caucasus region and wondering Is Georgia safe to visit right now? Is solo female travel in Russia doable? Is it dangerous to travel to Russia? Are Russian’s friendly to “Brown” people?
I recently returned from my first trip to Georgia and whenever I tell people about my experience as a female solo traveler in Georgia, the first question I get is: Is Georgia safe for tourists? Were you not scared to travel in Georgia alone?
Most people don’t know much about this beautiful county bordered by Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, and Turkey.
Why visit Georgia?
Georgia has one of the world’s richest and oldest histories.
Archeological excavations provide clear evidence that Georgian tribes formed their statehood as early as the second millennium BC.
The remains of the flourishing Georgian states of Colchis and Iberia can be seen while traveling in the ancient cities of Vani, Kutaisi, and Mtskheta.
Best time to visit Georgia
One of the most important things to know before visiting Georgia is when to actually visit!
|Best Month to visit Georgia||Season||Crowds||Vacation in Georgia Cost|
|Visiting Georgia in January||Snow is not uncommon. It's cold AF||High - Ski Season||High|
|Traveling to Georgia in February||Often dipping below 0 degrees||Moderate||Moderate|
|Visiting Georgia in March||Not too hot, nor too cold.||Low||Low|
|Visiting Georgia in April||Warm weather with frequent rainfall||Low||Low|
|Visiting Georgia in May||Warmer days, humidity kicks in||Moderate||Moderate|
|Visiting Georgia in June||Summer in Georgia||High||High|
|Visiting Georgia in July||Avg temperatures are 20 to 30 degree celsius.||High||High|
|Visiting Georgia in August||Warm days and cooler evenings||High||High|
|Visiting Georgia in September||Beginning of Autumn and Wet Season (fall season)||High||High|
|Visiting Georgia in October||Frequent rainfalls and multi-colored trees.||Moderate||Moderate|
|Traveling to Georgia in November||Rain and frost-covered grounds.||Moderate||Moderate|
|Visiting Georgia in December||Beginning of Winter. Avg temperature is 2 to 6 degree celsius||High - Start of Ski Season||Moderate|
Is Georgia safe for tourists
So, is Georgia safe for tourists to visit?
The answer is Yes! Georgia is one of the safest counties in Eurasia.
In fact, Tbilisi in Georgia is considered one of the safest cities in Europe as it has some of the lowest rates of violent crime in the world.
Is Georgian homemade wine safe to drink
Winemaking in Georgia is common and popular. It’s their way of life and Georgian wine is safe to drink.
As a solo female though, one thing to keep in mind when visiting Georgia is your alcohol intake. In the birthplace of wine, it can be easy to overdo it. The last thing you want though is to be stumbling alone back to your hotel a little too drunk.
Are Georgian taxis safe
There are various ways to get around in Georgia. You can rent a car, use trains, buses, use the Bolt Taxi App (operates like UBER) or travel with the locals on a marshrutka (minibus).
I’m South African and I’m used to all these transport methods including shared minibusses (Marshtutka) so this wasn’t a culture shock for me.
I found public transport in Georgia safe and easy to use. However, if you are going out at night, I recommend only using Bolt Taxis.
Road Safety in Georgia
Georgians are aggressive drivers and the roads in the capital city of Tbilisi were good but traffic was insane.
I wouldn’t recommend renting a car in Georgia unless you are cind=fident in your driving skills.
Can I drink tap water in Georgia
Tap water in Georgia is safe to drink.
Political Safety between Georgia and Russia
Georgia and Russia have an interesting history!
In the past, the USSR consisted of the following present-day countries: Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan. Durkadurkastan.
The Soviet Union was one of the strongest unions in the world and they proved this when they defeated Hitler under the leadership of Joseph Stalin.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics later dissolved into fifteen independent countries in 1991.
Although the Republic of Georgia is independent, you will find many Russian influences across the country.
The countries were generally getting along and Georgia even offered visa-free travel (they only need a national ID) for its neighbors in Russia and Turkey.
In June 2019, Russia accused Georgia’s opposition of stirring up anti-Russian demonstrations in its capital Tbilisi. This led to Putin signing a decree temporarily banning all flights between the countries in order “to provide security for the Russian citizens”.
The flight ban is already affecting Georgia’s tourism industry and Black Sea resorts where thousands of Russians flock annually. A week after the ban, the head of the Georgian Hotel and Restaurant Federation told news agency Tass Monday that 80% of the hotel bookings made by Russians had been canceled.
Georgia’s National Tourism Administration also believes that the probable loss for the country’s economy from a reduced tourism flow from Russia will stand at about $710 million.
Is Georgia safe to visit for Solo Female Travelers
If you follow me on social media, you might have seen my posts about my ordeal in Georgia.
I traveled from Moscow to Tbilisi where I landed at 2 am and went through passport control with no issues.
After collecting my bag, I was walking towards the airport exit when a female officer stopped me. I was taken into an office where they searched my bags, strip-searched me and took away my phone and I had to wait in a locked room with no information for an hour.
I was released and told I can go, there was no explanation as to what I did wrong and the officer also refused to tell me her name. This was probably the scariest experience I’ve ever had when arriving in another country.
When I arrived at my hotel, I told the receptionist and she said I’m lucky the police didn’t take all my money and belongings as they tend to do this to tourists.
What made matters worse was when I was leaving the country, I was subjected to a similar treatment this time from a male officer at the border of Turkey and Georgia.
I have pulled aside, searched and questioned for two hours. The officer kept asking why I was in America and I explained that I worked there and he became aggressive and I started crying.
Eventually, after two hours, he let me go and I walked over to the Turkish border control and my passport was stamped and no one asked any questions.
I was relieved to be in Turkey. I felt safer, I understood the legal system because I lived there for a year and I also understood the language.
I felt like I was home and I could relax but I had so many questions. Was I interrogated because I am a female solo traveler, or was it because I am black? Was I dressed inappropriately (I was wearing jeans and a T-shirt on both occasions)?
Also, both officers were asking why I was in the United States? I am a South African citizen who has been to 30+ countries so why was I being questioned about one (USA)?
Although I had a crazy airport experience in Georgia, I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable while exploring the country. There was a high police presence especially in Tbilisi at night and Georgia is one of the few countries where I felt safe walking alone in the day and at night.
Tips to survive an interrogation in a foreign country
Heres what I learned from being strip-searched and interrogated TWICE in Georgia.
- Take a deep breath.
- Always remember that every country has different laws and as a visitor you need to be respectful. Going to jail especially in a foreign country is one thing you should avoid at all costs.
- Before you visit any country. Google and find out where your nearest embassy is. I always write down the address and contact number for the South African embassy in every country I go to. I write this on a piece of paper and I place the paper inside my passport sleeve.
- Always print out your flight details, hotel details, itinerary (tour confirmations) and travel insurance, etc. I think this was one of the things that helped me because I had everything written and printed out.
- Don’t raise your voice or be aggressive. This will aggravate the officer.
- Don’t trust the officers, I know this is a bad thing to say but not everyone is honest. Not everyone has good intentions. Just trust your gut.
- Don’t allow the officers to take your belongings (luggage) or search it unless you are present.
- Don’t leave your handbag behind. When they were taking me into another room to strip search me and when they put me inside a body scanner machine, I took my handbag with me. The officer kept saying leave the bag but I declined. I later learned that police take everything (including money) from tourists all the time so this was a wise decision.
- Always answers all the questions truthfully and make eye contact. If you have nothing to hide you will be fine.
- Always get travel insurance Incase you need to be evacuated. Some countries like South Africa will always be willing to assist you if you have issues abroad but you and your family will have to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees to the government. With a good travel insurance policy, this will be covered.
Female Personal Safety Gadgets for Georgia
Don’t you wish we lived in a world where the possibility of being assaulted, violated or even murdered wasn’t one of the things to take into consideration when traveling or even just living in your own country?
Personal safety gadgets for solo female travelers in Georgia
- Phone Lanyard: A phone sling where I can attach it to my belt/waist/bag so that I don’t drop/lose it (I’d die if anything happens to my phone!) Buy the black one. The elastic is stronger!
- Not your typical money belt: I chose this one and agree with the reviews that the material feels stronger. It’s also moisture-wicking and comfortable to wear! I know some similar products already have zippers but this one feels like it holds better but has no zippers. and acts like Spanx!
- The double-ended S-biner lock: With thousands of claims filed annually for lost items, you need a lock that can turn most handbags into thief-proof!
- Pacsafe Bra Pouch: Ideal to keep your money, IDs and credit cards safe from pickpockets and thieves. The turn-and-snap connector clasp design is different from comparable products, easy to use and prevents the pouch from unsnapping accidentally.
- Pacsafe Cash Belt: It’s metal-free-ish so you can wear it through security without setting off alarms! It holds cash AND your pants up. I love mine!
Hotel room security gadgets for females in Georgia
- Portable Door Jammer: Use for a door barricade in an Airbnb or hotel to be able to lock yourself in a room.
Will I return to Georgia?
Honestly, I’m not in a rush to go back to Georgia. I will go back one day but not right now as I have other countries I’d like to visit first.
More Georgia (country) Travel Guides
- Road Trip stops from Tbilisi to Istanbul
- 15 STUNNING Places to visit in Georgia
- Best day trips from Tbilisi in Georgia
Travel Insurance for Georgia
Use travel insurance while visiting Georgia so you are covered for theft and medical expenses. There are a lot of adventurous activities to do in Tbilisi and surrounding areas, and it’s best to have peace of mind while driving, hiking and trying some of the best food in the world.
Find out why I recommend World Nomads, check out my World Nomads Insurance review.
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