"Hey, we almost hit them! Careful, please!"
"Don´t worry. Vasil - Schumacher!"
our drive to Truso valley, summer 2016
Not directly related to hiking but I still think it belongs here. Because, paradoxically, one of the most threatening things about hiking in Georgia is reaching the actual mountains. Many Georgian drivers rely way too much on the saints on their dashboards - they drive fast and overtake other cars at blind turns or over hilltops. Together with bad state of many roads and the widespread alcohol consumption, these are the main causes of road accidents in Georgia.
Most of the time, you will reach your destination safely and you can entertain your friends with stories how your taxi overtook the ambulance on lights and sirens. Or how it was, to sit on the front seat of marshrutka rushing on the narrow road at the 70 mph, narrowly passing lying cows and then noticing that your driver didn´t even hold the wheel since he has to readjust his sunglasses, play with his chest hair or do something equally important.
Unfortunately, not all these rides have a happy ending. According to the statistics, a risk of gettings into the car accident is about twice as high compared to European countries, a little higher than in the USA and much lower than most of the Asian countries.
OK, but right now you are probably asking - what can be done to minimize the risk? That depends on the type of transport you are using. If you have a private driver or use a shared taxi, you should be fine. Just tell him to slow down and be vehement enough. He may grumble and the mood may be spoiled, but that´s still much better option than to risk an accident.
If you are using a marshrutka, there is not much you can do. There are no seatbelts and you can´t bribe the driver (but you can try :)), so you can pray that nothing bad happens. So, even after reading the whole article, you didn´t get any meaningful advice - but at least you know what to expect :)
One of our more "exciting" drivers
My travel insurance
As you can see above, trekking in Georgia is not particularly risky compared to the rest of the world. Still, it would be reckless to travel without an insurance (I think you already see where is this going - I would be a very lousy travel blogger if I didn't try to sell you some travel insurance ). During the last 10 years I spent hiking and trekking, I used two insurances.
When I was younger, I used to have more time and could make several long trekking trips a year. My main priority was to protect myself and my relatives from unexpected costs. Because of this, I used to be a member of Austrian Alpine Club (Alpenverein). After paying the yearly membership fee of about 60 EUR, I got an insurance tailored for mountains which covered rescue costs, medical treatment as well as the repatriation costs (tho my parents didn´t look too relieved when I stressed this fact before travelling abroad).
Then my priorities shifted. Since I have a family now, I spend less time hiking and need an insurance which not only covers everything mentioned above but will also provide for them in case that something happens to me. Because of this, I started to look for more general insurance for specific dates. For my summer trekking trips, I use SafetyWing travel insurance since I am very satisfied with the coverage it offers for its cost.
SafetyWing also offers Remote Health - a more robust, full-fledged health insurance which, unlike their travel insurance covers also home country and pre-existing conditions and illnesses.
Disclaimer: Those SafetyWing links are the affiliates. That means that if you click it and buy some insurance from them, I will get a small comission. But that's not why I am promoting them, they simply look the best to me (compared it with local insurance companies as well as global ones such as World Nomads).