If the route will run only along major highways, such as Borjomi, Kutaisi, Batumi or Kakheti, you can rent an ordinary passenger car. To get along the Georgian Military Road to Kazbegi or Svaneti, it is better to rent a four-wheel drive SUV. There will be serpentines in either direction, and the approaches to temples and monasteries are often on gravel roads.
I have rented a car twice in Georgia and I will tell you how to do it. There are different options for renting a car, each has pros and cons.
Aggregators are sites that collect offers from a large number of companies. These services can be local or international.
They unite all international rental companies represented in Georgia and several large local companies. The largest are two services that have established themselves on the car rental market all over the world: Rentalcars and Economybookings
The offerings are similar in terms of machine selection and prices, it’s worth checking the information on both sites in parallel.
- Price per day: mini from 41 $, classic sedan from 52 $, SUV from 59 $
Usually, the sites of international aggregators offer fresh cars not older than 3 years. They have strict requirements for rental companies, so they provide a high level of service. All companies have counters at the airport.
It is convenient to use international aggregators: a large selection on one site and Russian-speaking support service. This convenience is offset by higher prices than when renting directly.
There are a few nuances on charge cards:
- Most companies require a credit card and won’t accept a debit card.
- The card must be registered to the tenant-driver.
- The deposit (if provided) is frozen on the card.
- Price per day: mini from 25 $, classic sedan from 29 $, SUV from 30 $
A local aggregator may offer lower prices, but the service will also be simpler:
- in case of difficulties, all issues should be resolved with the service, not with the rental company;
- most cars are not new, especially SUVs (3 to 17 years old);
- no racks at the airport, delivery must be negotiated additionally;
- less control over the level of customer service of rental companies, so cases of low-quality service are not uncommon.
If you have time, you can explore the offers on your own and without intermediaries. Below is a list of all international and large Georgian offices, plus a few local ones.
Prices can be 5—15% lower than those of international aggregators. Dollar, Alamo, Thrifty and Enterprise do not have Russian-language websites and support services.
If a deposit is provided, it is frozen on the card. In Georgian companies it is possible to make a deposit in cash.
The most pleasant prices are at the latter, but the service may not be top-notch either. A small office where the manager or owner does not speak Russian or English well is common.
Prices at small rental companies can be 5—15% lower than at local aggregators. Not all companies accept cards. If you have any questions, you should solve them directly with the office and be prepared for low service.
I rented a car twice to explore the regions neighboring Tbilisi: Kakheti, Kazbegi and Borjomi. From the first glance at the aggregators, it was clear that renting in Georgia is more expensive than in Europe. I needed an SUV, and I didn’t want to get involved with small companies, so I chose the Myrentalcar aggregator.
The rental and prepayment process was standard. I was assigned to Carex and Geocar. In both companies the process of obtaining the car went smoothly, except for some language difficulties. The cars were ten years old, with nuances on the body and interior. But the year of manufacture was indicated on the website during the search, and I understood what I was renting.
You need a passport and a Russian international license to rent a car. When the car was handed over, a contract and an inspection report were drawn up as usual. Payment and deposit were made by card in one case, in the other case only in cash.
What you need to know about roads and cars in Georgia
Costs more than in Russia. 92 — 60 rubles per liter, 95 — 65 rubles. It is recommended to refuel only at network gas stations: Lukoil, Gulf, Socar, Wissol or Rompetrol, otherwise there is a chance of filling up with low-quality fuel.
Traffic rules and fines in Georgia
Be extremely careful on the roads: locals drive aggressively, often break the rules and overtake through solid lines.
- Speed limits are identical to the Russian ones: 60 km/h in populated areas and 90 km/h outside them. The fine for exceeding the limit is 20 $. Exceeding up to 14 km/h is free of charge.
- The legal blood alcohol content is 0.3 ppm. The fine for drunk driving is over $400.
- You cannot travel to Armenia in a rental car. You are welcome to use your own car.
Road traffic rules are similar to Russian ones, but there are nuances. Basic information and the amount of fines can be found here.
Every day there are more and more modern cameras for speed control and other violations, in the central region there are already several thousand of them. If you have received a fine (according to the information from the hirer), it is worth checking its existence and amount on the official website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia.
Roads and navigation
The main highways have good pavement, while the periphery can have potholes and gravel.
An indispensable assistant on the roads will be offline navigators in Russian: Maps.me or Google know Georgian maps and road conditions well. In both options, you need to download a map of Georgia beforehand.
Good luck on the roads!