If you’ve already figured out how to become a digital nomad, then we need to find out whether Tbilisi is a good location for you or not?
Traveling around the globe, living among different nations, and having a great paying job is the dream of thousands of young people, including my very own daughter. Maybe because of the age difference, or simply the personality, I’ve always preferred living in a new place a bit longer than just passing through. I believe in building meaningful relationships with people, getting to know the culture, customs, etc.
While you may see a lot of things and meet a lot of cool people as you keep moving from one place to another, that may contribute to burning out very quickly. Also, constantly thinking about travel plans and accommodation, may be counterproductive and you could lose your source of income.
✱ Roofs of old houses in Tbilisi, Georgia
Tbilisi, widely known for the booming fashion industry, quality cheap booze, and nightclubs, is slowly gaining a reputation of digital nomad heaven. People from over 90 countries do not require a visa to travel to Georgia, and they can actually stay for a whole year.
So what makes Tbilisi a great spot for a Digital Nomad?
- Cost of Living
The weather in Tbilisi is pleasant in general.
While Georgia has many different climate zones due to having a mountainous terrain, most places that aren’t at too high of an elevation have hot and long summers and mild winters.
In Tbilisi, it isn’t unusual to see temperatures as high as 35 degrees Celsius during the summer months (June to September) and during the winter, the temperature rarely falls below freezing.
Springs and autumns are also quite nice and pleasant, and the average yearly rainfall in Tbilisi is just 500mm, making it a fairly dry place (compared to Batumi, which gets nearly 5 times as much rain!)
Tbilisi is not only one of the safest cities in Europe, but it is also one of the most diverse and multinational cities in the Caucasus. Some of the ethnic minorities living in Tbilisi are Russians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Ukrainians, Greeks, etc.
You might still come across some people screaming “Georgia for Georgians” once in a while, but don’t let that discourage you. Just like anywhere else on the planet there are different types of people living in Georgia, some are hospitable and some aren’t.
Nowadays, there is so much going on in Georgia. It is known as a major travel destination for citizens of post-Soviet republics, Middle Easterners and Europeans: wine, food, history, and nature are what attract people to Georgia.
While some local hospitals and health centers occasionally lack equipment, healthcare reform is high on the agenda, and 1993 saw the Ministry of Health implement this reform just as the country was transitioning to a market economy. Nowadays, local healthcare is improving, like most things in Tbilisi, and can boast to be of a comparably high standard.
To cover the costs of any treatments or doctor visits, expatriates are advised to obtain a private health insurance policy before arriving in Tbilisi.
The main areas of Tbilisi are connected by a fairly extensive metro network, with fine marble architecture giving the underground stations a stylish feel. Station announcements are made in Georgian and English. Mini-buses can also be encountered on a regular basis around Tbilisi, and this form of transport is an extremely easy way of seeing the sights.
Those wishing to jump in a taxi can do so for no more than a few US dollars, but be sure to agree on the cost of the journey before getting into the taxi as many drivers will try to take advantage of tourists — 0.30 USD per km is the going rate.
Finally, Tbilisi has recently introduced a number of Western-style yellow buses. Although the destinations are in Georgian, a translated list of the stops can be obtained from a number of places, including hotels. These buses are safe and clean, with a price of 0.5 GEL (0.22 USD) per journey. Hop on at the back and pay the driver as you leave the bus.
A rechargeable Metromoney card can also be purchased for 2 GEL (0.88 USD), allowing the user to switch between bus and metro for 90 minutes for the price of a single ticket. This card is also required for any rides on the sky tramway, as cash payments are not accepted here.
Culture and Leisure
The culture is quite laid back. Things get done, but people don’t like to rush anywhere or anything they do. The cost of living is very low compared to European cities. And you get to enjoy amazing food, great wine, fresh fruits and vegetables grown by local farmers and much more.
Tbilisi is not a major hub for international airlines but traveling to Europe for a short vacation can be super affordable if planned ahead of time. Also, Kutaisi, a city just three hours away from Tbilisi, offers great airfare for European destinations with Wizz Air.
A lot of young people in their 30’s and under speak English. And those who don’t are seriously considering to learn it. If you are a Native English speaker, you can start teaching English right away, without needing any additional skills. That’ll give you some extra income and an opportunity to meet new people.
If you learn where to shop while avoiding the big shopping malls, you can find some cheap but great clothing stores. Also, some of the old ladies selling clothing in underground crossings might have interesting finds. It’s worth checking out if you’ve got some time to kill.
Are you all set and ready to move to Tbilisi?
Keep in mind that fixing electronics, especially laptops or photography gear might be a challenge. So, use your equipment and technology with extra care.
Sending mail outside the country or receiving it in Tbilisi might be a challenge and it may take a while. Gzavnili or PostalON are considered one of the most dependable ones.
Everything else is country-specific, just like everywhere else. But, the good things are way more than the annoying ones.
Just beware, the longer you live in Tbilisi, you fall in love deeper every day.