It’s getting easier and easier to plan a trip to Georgia. But intercity transport can still be tricky to figure out. With no coach buses and limited train services, most travellers choose to get around the country by marshrutka (routed minivan taxis).
Marshrutka vans serve their purpose – however, they’re not always comfortable nor convenient. Shared taxis are easy to organise for popular routes such as Tbilisi to Sighnaghi, but it can be a complicated and confusing process to hire a taxi to take you elsewhere, especially if you don’t speak Georgian or Russian.
Sadly, a lot of travellers get taken advantage of and overcharged for private transfers.
Hiring your own car is always an option – but with road conditions and ‘driving styles’ the way they are, self-driving is reserved for the most adventurous.
GoTrip Georgia, a local start up, is offering a unique solution. Their platform makes it easy for travellers to hire a private car and driver for intercity transfers and multi-stop itineraries.
You get all the perks of a road trip (including unlimited stops) without the hassle of having to navigate the roads yourself. Other advantages include the ability to book online, and fixed prices that are calculated in advance.
After hearing so many positive reports from other travellers, I decided to try GoTrip Georgia for myself and put together a review based on my personal experience. I hope you find this a useful resource when deciding how to move around Georgia on your next trip.
This review was created in partnership with GoTrip who hosted my transfer from Tbilisi to Kazbegi. As always, all opinions and recommendations are 100% my own.
Please note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). Learn more.
What is GoTrip, and how does it work?
GoTrip.ge is essentially a ride sharing platform for intercity trips. It’s designed for tourists, and perfect for travelling long distances between Tbilisi and Kazbegi, Batumi or Kutaisi, for example. It works all over the country, and you can even get a car for the international border crossing to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia.
GoTrip is an intermediary that works by linking passengers and freelance drivers. Much like Uber, Bolt and other ride hailing apps, there is an extra layer of security that comes from using a third-party agent.
Everything is done online through their easy-to-use website, and fares are fixed in advance so you know exactly how much to pay.
What’s so good about GoTrip?
The best thing about GoTrip is the ability to plan an affordable private transfer without having to negotiate a taxi fare. Comfortable vehicles, friendly drivers and better road safety are all major pluses.
Here are some of the benefits of using GoTrip to get around Georgia.
Plan your route in advance
GoTrip is great for straightforward A-to-B routes and day trips, but you can also use it for multi-stop itineraries. When booking, you just add in any cities, towns, villages or nature spots you’re interested in seeing along the way.
If you’re unsure about where to stop, GoTrip offers a few pre-designed itineraries that start and finish in Tbilisi.
Transfers can be one-way or round-trip depending on your needs. You don’t have to start in Tbilisi, either – GoTrip works all over the country. The pick up address you enter at the time of booking can be wherever you like (a hotel, an airport, a train station, etc.). At the end of the trip, you can get dropped off directly at your next hotel or wherever you need to be.
Drivers are available 24 hours and pick up times are totally flexible. Some friends of ours recently used GoTrip when their flight arrived in Tbilisi at 3am.
Unlimited stops along the way
Spot a great photo opportunity on the side of the highway? Need to stretch your legs or use the bathroom? Peckish for a churchkhela? No problem, just ask your driver to pull over.
With GoTrip, you can make unlimited stops (for as long as you like) as part of the trip for no extra charge. The only condition is that you have to complete your route within 24 hours of the pick up time.
Flat fares and cash payment
GoTrip is similar to a taxi in that you pay per vehicle, not per person. The price of the journey is displayed on the website at the time of booking and it will never change – so you know exactly what you owe before you get in the car.
On average, fares are 40% lower when booked through GoTrip compared to organising a car and driver elsewhere.
You pay the driver directly in cash after the trip is completed. If you don’t have lari on you, your driver will take you to the nearest ATM or exchange desk.
GoTrip works exclusively with local drivers, most of whom have years of experience under their belts. This is a boost of confidence for road safety (more on that later) – but it also means a unique opportunity to meet a local and pick their brains.
GoTrip drivers aren’t tour guides, but most will naturally offer commentary along the way. If you have questions, your driver is there to answer them. Or you could just chat about everyday stuff.
GoTrip doesn’t automatically match you to a driver; instead, you can choose whoever you want to travel with from the list of available staff. This means you can request a driver who speaks your language.
Another bonus is that all GoTrip drivers are reviewed and rated by other travellers, so you can ‘vet’ them in advance. In our experience, drivers are extremely professional, polite, and punctual.
Quality cars and high road safety standards
As well as seeing a profile of the driver, you can also view a picture of the car before you book. All vehicles are required to be clean and comfortable.
Depending on the size of your group, GoTrip offers sedans and minivans. For winter, there are off-road cars available for travelling in the mountains (e.g. to Mestia). Lots of drivers use fuel efficient vehicles so if this is something that’s important to you, you can choose to travel by hybrid car.
Unlike marshrutka vans where luggage space is limited, with GoTrip, you have the whole car to yourself. This makes it so much easier to travel with large bags and bulky items (such as skis). If you have heavy luggage, there’s an option to notify your driver in advance and they will help you carry your things to the car.
Drivers are required to abide by road rules and observe the highest standards of road safety – a welcome change from freewheeling marshrutka drivers! GoTrip provides some training for its drivers in this area.
There’s strictly no smoking in the cars, all vehicles are fitted with seat belts, and they even provide child safety seats free of charge.
Short lead time and free cancellation
If you decide to do some travelling on the sput of the moment, you can book a GoTrip driver for the same day. Most require just a few hours advance notice.
Similarly, if plans change, you can cancel at any point (even the day of) with no penalty.
Areas where GoTrip could improve
Compared to other forms of transport in Georgia, GoTrip wins out in terms of safety, comfort, convenience and price. There are a couple of areas where I think the service could improve.
Because GoTrip is just an intermediary, once you’ve connected with a driver, it’s up to you to stay in touch. This means that the driver will usually make direct contact (over email or phone). While this wasn’t at all a problem for me, a solo female traveller, for example, might feel more comfortable communicating via the platform. An app with messaging capability would be a great future addition.
An option to pay online in advance would also be good for anyone who doesn’t want to carry cash.
Our experience using GoTrip to travel to Kazbegi
Eager to try GoTrip for myself, I organised a car to take Ross and I from Tbilisi to Kazbegi.
A week before our trip, we planned our route with several stopovers along the Georgian Military Highway. We chose a restaurant for lunch, but in the end, our driver, Otari, suggested a much better alternative. It was great to have his expertise on-hand along the way. We even made a few extra stops based on his recommendations.
Seconds after I confirmed my booking, I received a booking confirmation from GoTrip and a personal email from the driver to re-confirm. He gave me his phone number, and we then connected over WhatsApp.
The day before the drive, I received a travel reminder from GoTrip. On the day of our transfer, Otari arrived at our place in his Toyota Prius 30 minutes ahead of schedule. We were ready, so we headed off early.
On the way out of Tbilisi we discussed our itinerary again and made a plan. On the way to our first stop, we chatted about life, Georgian history and culture – a soundtrack of traditional music playing in the background. Otari provided bottled water for us in the car – a very nice touch.
Whenever we made a stop, he always locked the car so we felt comfortable leaving our luggage in the boot. We felt very safe throughout the trip – it was a nice change to be with a driver who actually observes the speed limit and stops for pedestrians.
Throughout the day, Otari acted as our unofficial tour guide, accompanying us into monasteries and explaining everything in great detail. We felt very lucky to have such a kind and knowledgeable travel companion.
We ate lunch together (our shout) and chatted some more before arriving at our final destination in Kazbegi. We went straight to our hotel and bid Otari farewell and a safe trip for his drive back to the city.
Gratuities are not mandatory with GoTrip, but they do recommend tipping 10% if you’re happy with the service.
GoTrip Georgia: Final thoughts
If you’re looking for a way to get around Georgia that’s fast, affordable and reliable, GoTrip really is the best choice. I’ve travelled all over the country using every means of transport imaginable and can honestly say I’ve never had a more comfortable or enjoyable transit experience.
There will always be a place in my heart for intrepid marshrutka rides and slow travelling by train! But I do plan to use GoTrip in the future, and I’ll definitely be recommending it to friends who visit the region.