Georgia & Armenia Adventure
from $3185
Duration: 11 Days
Head deep in the Caucasus on an 11-day extravaganza around the sights of Georgia and Armenia. Discover the religious significance of Yerevan and the ancient stone-carved monasteries dotted around the countryside, visit the historic and cultural hub of Tbilisi, head to the highlands in Gudauri, dabble in Georgia’s acclaimed wine scene in Telavi and get a masterclass in traditional cuisine. With home-cooked meals, local guided walks and free time aplenty, you’d be hard pressed to find a pair of countries so rich with things to see, yet so far from the usual tourist map. Time to put it on yours.
  • Check out the amazing religious monuments of Armenia – the first country in the world that adopted Christianity as a state religion.
  • Learn the art of tolma – spiced meat wrapped in vine leaves – at a special lunch masterclass in Armenian cuisine.
  • Walk through the old city of the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, on a guided tour. You’ll see modern structures and an urban café scene mashed with medieval architecture and cobbled lanes.
  • Enjoy a glass or two of the locally produced wine and learn about the unique Qvevri tradition of using clay pots used to create delicious, unfiltered and organic drop.
  • Take a hike in the striking Caucasus mountains to perhaps one of the best positioned Churches in Europe – Gergeti Trinity Church. If the altitude does not leave you gasping, the views will!
  • Complimentary airport arrival transfer
  • Yerevan - City Tour with Local Guide
  • Yerevan - Ethnographic House Tour with Lunch
  • Armenia - Khor Virap - Monastery
  • Vagharshapat - Zvartnots Temple
  • Yerevan - Tolma Cooking Class with Lunch
  • Yerevan- Carpet Educational
  • Garni - Temple of Garni
  • Lake Sevan - Sevanavank Monastery
  • Geghard - Geghard Monastery
  • Fioletovo - Molokan Village
  • Dilijan - Walking Tour
  • Haghpat - Haghpat Monastery
  • Tbilisi - Old Town Walking Tour with Local Guide
  • Tbilisi - Aerial Cable Car
  • Tbilisi - Anchiskhati Church
  • Mtskheta - Jvari Church & Svetitskhoveli Cathedral
  • Uplistsikhe - Cave Complex Visit with Local Guide
  • Stepantsminda - Gergeti Trinity Church Hike
  • Stepantsminda - Cheese making process with Local Family (Kazbegi)
  • Day 1 Location: Yerevan
    Barheev! Welcome to Armenia. This evening, there will be an important welcome meeting, usually at 6 pm, where you’ll meet your group leader and fellow travellers. After the meeting, why not ask your leader where you can find some traditional Armenian food, like khoravat (Armenian barbecue) or basturma (cured beef).
    Day 2 Location: Yerevan
    Today, head with your group leader on a city tour of Yerevan. Armenia’s vibrant capital has a great mix of ancient culture and tradition with the contemporary feel. Begin at Republic Square, and then head to the Cafesjian Center – an open-air museum of modern art. Here you’ll also get a great view of downtown after climbing the stairs to Victory Park. Continue on to Freedom Square – a lively city hub with its ornate Opera House sitting at the centre. You’ll have lunch at a traditional museum-café built by Lusik Aguleci – a lover of Armenian antiques and all things local and handmade. Enjoy a traditional meal here and take a look around to see exhibits of national costumes, carpets and rugs and other traditional Armenian wares. Afterwards, return to the hotel for a relaxing afternoon.
    Day 3 Location: Yerevan - Khor-Virap - Yerevan
    After breakfast, make tracks for the south of Armenia. You’ll first head to the Khor-Virap monastery, which is of great religious importance in Armenia, having been adopted to Christianity in AD301, and is near the site of where Noah cast the anchor for his Ark. In clear weather, you may be lucky to take a great shot of the snow-capped Ararat Mountain. Continue on to the seventh century Zvartnots Ruins, which is listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. Stop for lunch at a local home owned by Mrs Zara – a former TV host, who will share her secrets of traditional Armenian cooking, preparing the traditional tolma (similar to dolmades). On your way driving back to Yerevan for a free evening, check out a handmade rug factory – the designs are beautifully intricate.
    Day 4 Location: Dilijan
    This morning, head to the Geghard Monastery, a magnificent and unique structure partially carved out of rock. Interestingly, Armenia was the first to adopt Christianity as a state religion, and these medieval churches and monasteries have stood the test of time to show the country’s deep religious history. If you’re lucky, you’ll enjoy a live choir performance of Armenian spiritual songs inside the monastery. Today, you will also visit the Hellenistic Garni Temple and the medieval Sevanavank Monastery, set on the banks of the pristine Lake Sevan. In the afternoon, head north to Dilijan, considered the ‘little Switzerland’ of Armenia because of its lush green fields and crisp air. Enjoy a chilled-out evening in your guesthouse.
    Day 5 Location: Tbilisi
    Take a short city tour with your group leader around Dilijan, passing the artisan workshops in Sharambeyan Street. Continue to Fioletovo village not far away and be treated with some ‘perozhki’ (traditional savoury buns) while listening to your host talk about their daily life and the unique cultures and traditions of this region. Drive on to the humble stone structure of the Haghpat Monastery, which was used as an educational centre for Armenian scientists and scholars in the Middle Ages. Afterwards, you’ll head to the Armenia–Georgia border on your way to Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi.
    Day 6 Location: Tbilisi
    Stock up on brekky and embark on a sightseeing tour of Tbilisi. Tbilisi is a city of colour, of old and new, and your tour this morning will give you a glance of its history from the early centuries AD to now, through its sights and diverse architecture. You’ll also pass by the renowned 19th century houses of multicoloured balconies, synonymous with the Tbilisian skyline. Take a panoramic cable car ride from Rike Park up to the Narikala Fortress, then wander down to the sulfur baths, which are set on the thermal springs that give the Georgian capital its name. After your guided tour, have a free afternoon to relax, perhaps with a spa treatment!
    Day 7 Location: Guadauri
    This morning, visit the ancient capital and religious centre of Mtskheta and its historical sites, including the sixth century Jvari Monastery 11th-century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Continue on to the town of Gori in the heart of Kartli region. Visit the ancient Uplistsikhe Cave Town – a rock-hewn dwelling where the Great Silk Road used to pass. You’ll spend the night at the ski resort town of Gudauri.
    Day 8 Location: Gudauri - Stepantsminda -Gudauri
    Embark on a stunning drive from Gudauri along the Tergi River to Stepantsminda. Here you’ll take a leisurely two-hour walk through the beautiful valleys and woodlands to the Gergeti Trinity Church, located at 2170 metres above sea level. Depending on the weather, you may even catch a glimpse of one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus – Mt Kazbegi. Head back down to Gudauri, and enjoy lunch with a local family, watching how cheese is made. Enjoy a night to relax and catch up with your travel friends with an included dinner.
    Day 9 Location: Telavi
    Travel on to the Kakheti region, renowned for its wine-making and welcoming hospitality. Your drive today is quite scenic, so soak up all of the Georgian countryside and its myriad of greens, reds and browns. Arrive in the regional centre of Telavi, where you’ll take a visit to the historic Tsinandali – an old estate and vineyard-turned-museum welcoming guests to walk in the gardens and see the quaint house. Tonight, you’ll stay nearby in a guesthouse, with a group dinner provided.
    Day 10 Location: Tbilisi
    This morning check out the local farmers market in Telavi before driving to the hilltop fortified town of Sighnaghi, which has been preserved to its original image and now offers visitors stunning views of the surrounding Caucasus Mountains. Visit the fourth century Bodbe Monastery, before making your way back to Tbilisi for some free time this afternoon. As you didn’t have much time previously, perhaps you’d like to book yourself in for a visit to the sulfur baths in town and learn what all the fuss is about with this ancient ritual. Otherwise, take a wander down the Mtkvari River, past the modern Pike Concert Hall and Public Service Hall. Tonight, why not get your travel crew together for a celebratory dinner – your group leader will know of some good spots to head to.
    Day 11 Location: Tbilisi
    With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    25APR2022
    Return Date:
    05MAY2022
    3185NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    09MAY2022
    Return Date:
    19MAY2022
    3310NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    23MAY2022
    Return Date:
    02JUN2022
    3310NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    06JUN2022
    Return Date:
    16JUN2022
    3570NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    13JUN2022
    Return Date:
    23JUN2022
    3440NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    20JUN2022
    Return Date:
    30JUN2022
    3310NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    27JUN2022
    Return Date:
    07JUL2022
    3310NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    11JUL2022
    Return Date:
    21JUL2022
    3185NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    25JUL2022
    Return Date:
    04AUG2022
    3185NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    08AUG2022
    Return Date:
    18AUG2022
    3185NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    08 Sep 2021

    Trip title

    Georgia & Armenia Adventure

    Trip code

    KFKE

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2022

    Introduction

    Head deep in the Caucasus on an 11-day extravaganza around the sights of Georgia and Armenia. Discover the religious significance of Yerevan and the ancient stone-carved monasteries dotted around the countryside, visit the historic and cultural hub of Tbilisi, head to the highlands in Gudauri, dabble in Georgia’s acclaimed wine scene in Telavi and get a masterclass in traditional cuisine. With home-cooked meals, local guided walks and free time aplenty, you’d be hard pressed to find a pair of countries so rich with things to see, yet so far from the usual tourist map. Time to put it on yours.

    Style

    Comfort

    Transport

    Private Bus

    Physical Rating

    3

    Joining point

    Ani Central Inn Hotel

    20 Tigran Mets Avenue

    Yerevan

    ARMENIA

    Phone: +374 10540708

    Fax: +374 10545000

    Joining point description

    Ani Central Inn Hotel (previously known as Hotel Silachi) is located around 10 minutes walk from Republic Square. Facilities at the hotel include an indoor swimming pool, sauna, free WiFi, restaurant, bar and 24 hour front desk. Each room is fitted with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and safe, as well as a private bathroom with a hairdryer and free toiletries. Breakfast is included.

    Finish point

    KMM Hotel

    10 Mefsalmune David King street Metekhi Turn

    Tbilisi

    GEORGIA

    Phone: +995 32 2 74 71 85

    Finish point description

    Located in the Avlabari district in the historic Old Town of Tbilisi, the hotel has modern, comfortable rooms with en suite bathrooms, minibars and cable TV. There is free WiFi on site. The Avlabari Metro Station is 250 m from the property. A buffet breakfast is included. Avlabari is a great choice for travellers interested in city walks, old town exploring and local food.

    Finish point instructions

    The most convenient way to reach Tbilisi International Airport from the Hotel is by Taxi, this service should take about twenty minutes and cost between 15-20USD. You can reach the airport from the city center by bus number 37. Working hours: 07.00 - 23.00 (with 12 minute intervals) the nearest stop for this service would be Avlabari Metro. If you have reserved a departure transfer with Intrepid please confirm your pick up time with your Georgia Tour Leader or ask the hotel to confirm on this number +995 598 25 27 23 OR +995 599 55 89 98

    Important information

    1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information. 2. This trip starts in Armenia, and finishes in Georgia, you will need to consider this when booking airfares. Road transfers between Yerevan and Tbilisi are available for booking and take approximately 4 hours. 3. Please note there is a chance of potential changes to the itinerary due to weather at higher altitudes, which often affect roads and bridges, making travel difficult or impossible (particularly in remote areas). 4. Day 8 of this trip can involve a lot of walking. Please ensure you bring sturdy walking shoes and comfortable clothes. You'll need a good level of fitness for this hike. The distances may not be long, but the altitude makes it much harder than your average uphill hike. The going will be slow as your body adjusts. Alternative 4WD transport can be organised on this day if you don't want to hike 5. Altitudes experienced during this trip are up to 2200m above sea level.

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    Visas

    PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. COVID-19 Entry and Exit Requirements Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for the most up to date information.You may also refer to our travel alert page for more info https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/travel-alerts Make sure you are familiar with the current border measures and entry requirements as these are quite complex and changing frequently without notice. Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers your travels as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country. RETURN TRAVEL Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour. We are able to help facilitate taking a COVID-19 test while on trip. Please ensure you have funds available to cover the cost of this test which will be payable directly to the testing site. Your Intrepid Tour Leader will provide more details at the group meeting as well as assist with booking appointments for all travellers who need to be tested. ARMENIA VISA: Many countries including Australia, New Zealand, UK and the USA are no longer required to obtain a visa for visits to Armenia up to 180 days in duration. Nationalities requiring a visa to enter Armenia are listed in the drop down menu on the following link and subsequent application for  E-Visas are available.  https://evisa.mfa.am/check-eligibility Please use the address of your finishing point hotel for the Contact Information in Armenia. You will need to upload a scanned passport sized photo and a passport copy to complete your application. In the case that the website is down, it may be possible to obtain a visa on arrival at the land border. Please check http://www.mfa.am/en/visa/ for the list of nationalities that are allowed to apply visa on arrival. GEORGIA VISA: Most nationalities do not currently require a visa for Georgia, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK, USA & all EU member states for stays of up to 30 days. The full list of countries and terms can be found on the official Ministry of Foreign Affairs website - https://www.geoconsul.gov.ge/en/visaInformation

    Why we love it

    Check out the amazing religious monuments of Armenia – the first country in the world that adopted Christianity as a state religion.

    Learn the art of tolma – spiced meat wrapped in vine leaves – at a special lunch masterclass in Armenian cuisine.

    Walk through the old city of the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, on a guided tour. You’ll see modern structures and an urban café scene mashed with medieval architecture and cobbled lanes.

    Enjoy a glass or two of the locally produced wine and learn about the unique Qvevri tradition of using clay pots used to create delicious, unfiltered and organic drop.

    Take a hike in the striking Caucasus mountains to perhaps one of the best positioned Churches in Europe – Gergeti Trinity Church. If the altitude does not leave you gasping, the views will!

    Is this trip right for you

    This trip starts in Yerevan, Armenia and finishes is in Tbilisi, Georgia. Please consider the itinerary when arriving and booking an onward journey, with airfares or other travel arrangements. This trip can involve a reasonable amount of walking. Please ensure you bring sturdy walking shoes and comfortable clothes. To make the most of the trip, it's best if you have at least a moderate level of fitness. If you would prefer to sit out the hike in the Caucasus mountains, you can rent a 4WD taxi at your own expense. The diversity of the seasons here makes for incredible scenery, but the weather in this region can be unpredictable. It’s best to wear layers at all times of the year in case conditions change during the day. At night the temperature can really drop, so bring your warm clothes. Weather in the Caucasus does vary and there may occasionally be itinerary changes due to road closures. Some of the roads in Armenia and Georgia, particularly when visiting villages, can be a little rough. This may mean that some of the journeys could take a little longer than expected.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. COVID-19 The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels HEALTH SCREENING If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. TESTING & VACCINATION POLICY From 1st May 2021 we introduced new safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia and New Zealand. On trips departing before 1st September 2021, you will need to show one of the below to your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or - Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip, or - Proof of recovery documentation In addition, if you’re aged 70+ or have an existing health condition that puts you at a higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, you are also required to provide proof of vaccination before you can join a trip. MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY From 1st of September 2021 we have introduced enhanced safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. You will need to show your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline. For more information, including a detailed FAQ about this policy, please visit https://www.intrepidtravel.com/covid19 DRINKING WATER: As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about three litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies. ALTITUDE SICKNESS: Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary! Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor. During your trip. While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/altitude-sickness

    Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. Vegetarians might find the menu selection less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and choices may be limited to soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans will find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.

    Money matters

    SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. TIPPING Tipping can be an appropriate way to recognise great service when travelling. While it may not be customary in your home country, it is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many of our destinations and is greatly appreciated by the people who take care of you during your travels. It is always best to avoid tipping with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes, as this can be regarded as an insult rather than the goodwill gesture it is intended to be. OPTIONAL TIPPING KITTY On Day 1 of your trip, your tour leader may discuss with you the idea of operating a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and your tour leader distributes tips for drivers, local guides, hotel staff and other services included on your trip. This excludes restaurant tips for meals not included in your itinerary. The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent which can be checked at any time, and any funds remaining at the end of the tour will be returned to group members. We have found that this is easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty is at your own discretion, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader. YOUR LEADER You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$3-6 per person (in a currency relevant for your destination), per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length and involvement of your leader on your trip. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs. The Armenian national currency is the dram.  Paper notes are issued in denominations of 500, 1.000, 5.000, 10.000, 20.000 and 50000 Dram.  Coins replace all banknotes less than 500 dram (10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500). Georgian Lari is the official currency of Georgia. 100 tetri = 1 lari. Coins are issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 & 50 tetri, as well as 1 & 2 lari.

    What to take

    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg. Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps). If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

    WATER BOTTLE Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination, if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg. Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller suitcases or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps or handles. If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. A lockable bag or small padlock will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip. Essential: - Clothing: a mixture of lightweight and dry fast clothing and warm layers are recommended essential for travelling in this region. Long shirts, pants, scarves are useful for covering shoulders & knees when visiting religious sites. - Shoes: sturdy and comfortable shoes for walking long distances are essential. - Personal travel documents inc. your passport (visa), travel insurance, flight tickets and trip notes. Photocopies of your passport and visa, passport size photos and travel insurance will be handy. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. - small first aid kit including items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent, and essential medicine depending on your doctors advice. - Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card and money belt - Sun protection like a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Recommended: - Refillable water bottle (1.5-litre capacity suggested): The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1-litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. - Cell phone, camera with spare batteries, charger, and adapter plug - Hand wash, travel wipes, toiletries and a small towel - Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries) - Torch or flashlight esp. for stay at local guesthouses or homestays Optional: - Sleeping bag. Useful for camping, overnight trains and poorly heated hotels, particularly during the winter months of Dec - Feb when temperatures are low. - Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather. - Earplugs to guard against street noise and snorers. - A good book, a journal and music player for overnight train rides and longer drives. Other things to consider: - Check weather in destinations you are travelling to online a few days before you go to make sure you pack appropriate clothing - Laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes to tide you over until your next chance to wash

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage

    Feedback

    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below: Intrepid's Local Operator: +7 918 6151572

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation. Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

    Accommodation

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