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Armenia and Georgia

Armenia and Georgia may sound like unconventional destinations, but trust us, they ought to be tops on your list of places to visit. Our 10-day trip is a wonderful showcase of the cultural and natural highlights this region has to offer, with a huge helping of beautiful architecture and delicious cuisine to boot. Stroll the narrow streets of Tbilisi, tour ancient monasteries, be in awe of massive mountain ranges, visit with friendly locals, and soak up all the exotic culture of this under-explored region.


Itinerary

July 24 : Yerevan

Arrive at any time

July 25 : Yerevan (1B)

Drive to Echmiadzin. Visit the famous cathedral then continue on to Khor Virap through villages and vineyards. Visit the monastery with fantastic views of Mt Ararat.

July 26 : Yerevan (1B, 1L)

Enjoy an excursion to the Roman temple of Garni. Visit Garni Gorge, enjoy lunch in a local home and watch how lavash bread is made. Visit the Geghard Monastery and return to Yerevan with time to stroll the café-lined streets of the city.

July 27 : Yerevan/Tbilisi (1B)

Drive to Lake Sevan, stopping by monasteries, before continuing north to the UNESCO-listed monastic complex of Sanahin. Cross into Georgia and continue to Tbilisi.

July 28 : Tbilisi (1B)

Enjoy a city tour of Georgia's capital including a visit to the Old Town, Metekhi Temple, the Abanotubani 'bath district' and the Narikala, the main fortress in Tbilisi. Use free time in the afternoon to continue exploring the Old Town, visit the Georgian National Museum or take a cable car to view the city from above.

July 29 : Tbilisi/Gudauri (1B, 1D)

Drive the famous Georgian Military Road to Mtskheta, ancient capital of Georgia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Continue to Uplistsikhe cave town and on through the dramatic Aragvi River Valley. Drive into the Caucasus Mountains to Gudauri.

July 30 : Gudauri/Telavi (1B, 1D)

Cross the Jvari Pass to reach Stepantsiminda. Walk up to Sameba Church for gorgeous views of Mt Kazbek. Continue on to Telavi to a family-run hotel, visiting Ananuri architectural complex en route.

July 31 : Telavi (1B, 1D)

Experience a full day in the Kakheti Province, dotted with churches and vineyards. Enjoy a morning visit to the Alaverdi Cathedral and the Gremi architectural complex. Head to the town of Kvareli for a wine tasting at a local winery.

August 1 : Telavi/Tbilisi (1B, 1L, 1D)

After breakfast, visit the gardens of Tsinandali Park. Continue to the beautiful hill-top town of Sighnaghi, and enjoy a local lunch at a family home in one of the surrounding villages. Continue to Tbilisi for one more night in Georgia.

August 2 : Tbilisi (1B)

Depart Tbilisi at any time.

Detailed Itinerary

July 24 : Yerevan

Our program will begin tonight in Yerevan and we typically have a group meeting at the hotel around 6 PM. Upon arrival at the hotel please check the notice board for information about the group meeting. During the group meeting the leader will outline the trip itinerary and answer questions.

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is marked by grand Soviet-era architecture. The basalt Matenadaran library, housing thousands of ancient Greek and Armenian manuscripts, dominates its main avenue. Republic Square is the city's core, with musical water fountains and colonnaded government buildings. The 1920's History Museum of Armenia on the square's eastern side contains archaeological objects like a circa-3500-B.C. leather shoe.

July 25 : Yerevan (1B)

Today we have a day trip based out of Yerevan. We begin by driving to Echmiadzin, Armenia's ancient capital city. We will stop at the famous cathedral, one of the world's first Christian churches (built in 301 AD). Learn about the cathedral’s history and change in architectural style after it was damaged in the late 400s.

We then continue on to Khor Virap through villages and vineyards. Visit the pilgrimage site and monastery built in 1662 that’s still used for services today. The structure is built around a pit, used to imprison Saint Gregory the Illuminator who was confined for 14 years by his pagan King for preaching Christianity. Explore the grounds and enjoy the fantastic views of Mt Ararat.

We then head back to Yerevan for the night.

Estimated Travel time: 2 hours by private vehicle.

July 26 : Yerevan (1B, 1L)

Today we will have another day trip from Yerevan. We will enjoy an excursion to the Roman temple of Garni, dedicated to the God of the sun, Mithra. The temple is one of the last standing pagan structures left in Armenia. The Temple grounds have other standing ruins such as a bathhouse, a church, and a cemetery. An earthquake destroyed the temple in 1679, but under the guidance of the architectural historian Alexander Sahinian, the temple was rebuilt by 1974. Visit Garni Gorge to admire the formations of basalt columns known as the ‘Symphony of the Stones.’

We then will enjoy lunch in a local home and watch how lavash bread is made.

Afterwards, we visit the Gerghard Monastery, a unique building, partially carved into the surrounding mountains. The complex was constructed in the 4th century at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave, though the main chapel wasn't built until 1215. In 2000 the monastery and the nearby entrance to the Azat Valley were added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.

The scenery is part of what makes this sight so special, with mountains and cliffs surrounding the place. Many of the buildings here are entirely caves within the mountain or dug out of the cliff face.

We then have the rest of the afternoon for free time exploring Yerevan.

Estimated Travel time: 2 hours by private vehicle.

July 27 : Yerevan/Tbilisi (1B)

We leave Yerevan behind and visit the shores of beautiful Lake Sevan, the largest lake in the Caucasus Region. Stop by monasteries on the peninsula to learn more about the region's history.

We then visit the Sanahin Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the Byzantine era. The monastery is made up of several buildings including the main church, the Cathedral of the Redeemer. Admire this beautiful example of medieval Armenian architecture and the view of the surrounding hills.

We then cross into Georgia and continue to Tbilisi for the night.

Estimated Travel time: 6 hours by private vehicle.

July 28 : Tbilisi (1B)

Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia. Its mazelike, cobblestoned old town reflects a long, complicated history, with periods under Persian and Russian rule. Its diverse architecture encompasses Eastern Orthodox churches, art nouveau buildings with ornate balconies and Soviet Modernist structures. Looming over it all are Narikala Fortress, a reconstructed 4th-century citadel, and Kartlis Deda, an iconic statue of Mother Georgia.

Enjoy a city tour of Georgia's capital including a visit to the Old Town, Metekhi Temple, the Abanotubani 'bath district' and the Narikala fortress. We recommend you use your free time in the afternoon to continue exploring the Old Town, visit the Georgian National Museum or take a cable car to view the city from above.

July 29 : Tbilisi/Gudauri (1B, 1D)

Today we drive the famous Georgian Military Road to Mtskheta, ancient capital of Georgia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we visit the Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, both showcase examples of medieval architecture on ancient trade routes.

We then continue to the ancient Uplistsikhe cave town, which dates back to the 7th century BC. The name translates into ‘the lord’s fortress’ and the town continued to be a religious and political stronghold until the 14th century before being attacked by the Mongols. While many travelers have never heard of this ancient city before visiting, after a few hours climbing around the rocks and caves Uplistsikhe quickly becomes a highlight of any trip to Georgia.

We then continue our drive through the dramatic Aragvi River Valley into the Caucasus Mountains and finally arriving at our stop for the night, Gudauri.

Estimated Travel time: 4.5 hours by private vehicle.

July 30 : Gudauri/Telavi (1B, 1D)

Cross the Jvari Pass to visit Stepantsiminda (1700m), a picturesque town and stretch out those legs. Walk up (2.5 hrs return) to the Sameba Church and enjoy the gorgeous view of Mt Kazbek, a massive 5000m+ peak!

Then we will explore the castle, grounds, and churches of Ananuri and enjoy the spectacular view of rolling green hills and the blue Zhinvali reservoir. This castle from the 13th century has two churches, within the Church of the Assumption are some frescoes from the 1600s. The complex was submitted for consideration to UNESCO in 2007 to be added to the World Heritage Site list.

Continue on to Telavi to a family-run hotel where we will spend the next two nights.

Estimated Travel time: 4 hours by private vehicle.

July 31 : Telavi (1B, 1D)

Experience a full day in the Kakheti Province, dotted with churches and vineyards.

Enjoy a morning visit to the Alaverdi, a Georgian Eastern Orthodox monastery. Some sections of the monastery are as old as the 6th century, the main cathedral was built in the 11th century and is open for the public to tour when not in use by the resident monks. Take a walk around the grounds where there’s a great view of the Caucasus Mountains, rolling fields, and vineyards where the monks grow grapes for the wine they produce.

Next we visit historical Gremi town. This settlement was the capital of the kingdom in the 16th and 17th centuries as well as an important stop on the Silk Road. After being destroyed by the Persian Shah in 1615, the architectural complex is all that survived. The Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel is located on a hill along with a castle, bell tower, and wine cellar. Learn a little about the history of the area, stretch your legs and take in the view.

Finally we head to Kvareli to check out a local winery with an included wine tasting. Georgian wines are under the radar but of excellent quality, definitely well-worth a taste or two.

We will spend the night in Telavi.

Estimated Travel time: 2 hours by private vehicle.

August 1 : Telavi/Tbilisi (1B, 1L, 1D)

After breakfast, stop at Tsinandali, known for the estate and historic winery that once belonged to Alexandre Chavchavadze. The house is a museum you can walk through and learn more about the military man and poet who owned the grounds. Opt to visit the winery and park and learn more about life in Georgia during the 19th century.

Afterwards we head into the Kakheti Province, dotted with churches and vineyards, and to the town of Sighnaghi. As one of Georgia's trading centers, the ancient houses make for a charming atmosphere. With a focus on spectacular Georgian wine, this town has become a hub for travelers. We enjoy a local lunch at a family home in one of the surrounding villages.

Continue to Tbilisi for one more night in Georgia.

Estimated Travel time: 3.5 hours by private vehicle.

August 2 : Tbilisi (1B)

Depart Tbilisi at any time.

Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs). Find out which programs pair well with this trip by clicking here.

If you don’t see a program that interests you that pairs with this trip, but still would like to extend your time abroad, let us know. We will work with you to find a non-teacher trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Even better, if you are an educator we can offer still offer you a discounted price on the trip you choose!

Stuff You Need to Know

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

We want to emphasize the cancellation policy:

All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to jesse@geeo.org. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.

* Cancellation 60 days or more prior to departure = Deposit is kept on file for future use and all other program fee payments are refunded

* Cancellation between 30 and 59 days prior to departure = 50% refund and your deposit is kept on file for future use

* Cancellation within 30 days of departure = No refund, but your deposit is kept on file for future use

Trip Notes

Please note, most museums in Yerevan are closed on Monday's. Plan your free time/pre-nights in Yerevan accordingly.

Service Level

Standard:

Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading

2:

2: Light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program is guaranteed to run and will have a maximum of 16 participants.

Group Leader Description

All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They 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. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.

While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Packing List

We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as you are expected to handle your own luggage. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20 mins walking) and up and down stairs. Luggage space is limited so again, smaller is better.

Most travelers carry a large multi-day backpack or rolling suitcase of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!). In general you want a bag that has a capacity of around 40 to 65 liters. If you are asking us for our suggestion, we would recommend a backpack over a rolling suitcase. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like smartphones.

Suggested Checklist

•Clothes for Churches – (shorts that go below the knees, shirts that cover shoulders)
•Light windproof/waterproof jacket
•Small towel and swimwear
•Sun hat
•Personal clothing for mild to hot weather (We recommend packing 8 days of outfits so you only have to do laundry once.)
•Day pack
•Sturdy walking shoes (Running shoes are fine too)
•Sport sandals
•Sunblock
•Sunglasses
•Toiletries (biodegradable)
•Watch or alarm clock
•Water bottle
•Flashlight or headlamp
•Money belt
•Camera
•First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine,
Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, insect
repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Optional Checklist

•Travel pillow (This one is great)
•Phone/Tablet for internet (Most hotels have WiFi)
•Chargers for electronics as well converters/adaptors if needed (See FAQ)
•Light fleece top for your flight and when in the mountains.
•Packing cubes (These are awesome)
•Flip-flops/Sandals
•Ear Plugs (Hearos Xtreme Protection 33 decibel ear plugs are a life-saver if you have a snoring roommate)
•Snacks (Packing a few granola bars is a good idea. You can buy snacks when you get there too, so don't go crazy here.)
•Reading/writing material
•Hand Sanitizer/Baby wipes
•Probiotics (Good for avoiding stomach issues)

Document Checklist

•Passport (with photocopies)
•Visa (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•EUR/USD cash
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
•GEEO Classroom action plans for your group (This is sent 10-30 days before departure)

Single Travellers

Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. Most of our trips have a "My Own Room" option, also known as a "Single Supplement" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email jesse@geeo.org. To see the price for the "My Own Room" option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.

Money

Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, and tipping. Please look at our “Costs” tab when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

A mix of cash (USD or EUR to exchange), credit cards and debit cards are the best way to ensure you have enough money at all times. The currency in Armenia is the Armenian Dram (ARD) and in Georgia you'll use the Georgian Lari (GEL).

In a quick pinch, some banks can arrange a cash advance off of a credit card, but you'll lose time trying to find a bank that will do it. The other problem is that they'll dispense cash at the official exchange rate, which is well below the black market rate; you'll lose buying power because most merchants who calculate costs in dollars do so at the black market rate.

Travelers checks are not recommended, as only limited amount of banks work with them.

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information

Optional Activities

Please note: All optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance which activities you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.

Gori

Gori Visit, 15GEL per person- Stop and visit the hometown of Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until 1953. See the house where he was born, and visit the 'Stalin Museum' that is dedicated to him.

Costs

Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Just breakfasts and a few dinners are included in this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Tour Company Fee

$1899 USD

Non-Educator Fee

GEEO program fee for Non-Educators: $100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)

Optional Activities

$100 USD

International Airfare from USA

Roughly $1200-$2000 USD
If you require assistance in booking your international airfare we would be happy to assist you. Just email air@gadventures.com for more information. Also see our FAQ for flight advice.

Insurance

$25-$200 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.

See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.

Tipping

$40-$50 USD for your G Adventures Tour leader. Another $50 should cover guides and drivers on other activities.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

$310-$450 USD

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

Make sure you budget for these types of expenses

Airport and Departure Taxes

This is usually included in your flight price.

Vaccines

(It all depends on what you don’t have already/what your insurance covers.)

Souvenirs

$0-????

FAQ

What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on traveling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventurous.

• The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe, well-located place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury as we are trying to keep these trips as inexpensive as possible. Sometimes the accommodation is not air conditioned.

• The same goes for transportation. We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. Sometimes you will have full days and nights of transportation as our trips tend to cover a lot of ground. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.

• Many of our programs occur in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometime include day hikes with your daypacks.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.

• Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.

• We try to set up a school visit on each program, but these sometimes fall through due to complications. Please understand they are not a guaranteed part of the program.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Many countries require that your passport not expire within six months of your arrival in that country. Please take the time to look up the passport validity requirements for the country/countries you are visiting on this trip by clicking here.

If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 6 months of trip departure, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.

As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.

Americans do NOT need a visa for Armenia and Georgia.

Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.

From the airport you can take a taxi to the hotel. We recommend the taxi company Aerotaxi and the cost should be about 10-12 USD.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. Most of our trips have a "My Own Room" option, also known as a "Single Supplement" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email jesse@geeo.org. To see the price for the "My Own Room" option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.

What is group travel like?

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of traveling in a group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travelers 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.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Each educator who participates in our programs is permitted to bring along up to three friends or family members who are not teachers. Each participant must be of adequate fitness level for their chosen trip. If you wish to bring a guest under the age of 18 GEEO will consider your request, but typically we only allow participants over the age of 18.

How long have we been running this program?

GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. 2017 will be the first year that we offer the Aremenia and Georgia program. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip have been running trips in the region for several years so you can have faith that your trip will be safe and well run.

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 1600 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?

Please double check our itinerary for the date on which you must arrive in Yerevan by, which would usually mean departing the USA two days prior. You can arrive at any time you choose. You can depart Tbilisi anytime you want on the final day of the program.

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. Regular health insurance plans almost never include emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance, so you will need to purchase a separate TRAVEL health insurance plan.

You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you like. You must bring some proof of this insurance to your introduction meeting on the first day of the trip. If you do not have travel health insurance at that time, you will be forced to purchase insurance on the spot, which will be pricier than purchasing it in advance.

The least expensive travel health insurance plan that we have found is the International Teacher Identity Card, better known as the ITIC Card. They have a $25 card that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits. The card will also get you discounts and benefits in over 125,000 locations, including many museums and hotels. Another great thing about the ITIC Card is that it covers you for an entire year and can be used for all your travel during that period, including domestic travel.

GEEO has reached an agreement with the makers of this card to pre-approve all GEEO travelers, so you do not need to submit paperwork proving that you are a teacher. Also, non-teachers who are traveling with GEEO can get this same card, which normally is only for teachers.

To sign up for the card please follow this link:

www.myisic.com/orders/GEEO

While not required, we also highly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance! The $199 Explorer ITIC Card comes with $3000 of cancellation insurance, which is also valid for multiple trips (domestic and international) within a one year period. Even if you don't use the cancellation insurance on your GEEO trip, you might end up needing it for travel expenses relating to a conference!

Please note: The ITIC card is for American residents. If you are not American or are an American living abroad, please email us and we can go over your options.

Where can I purchase flights?

We recommend using www.kayak.com to see what is out there in terms of flights. G Adventures also has a wonderful air department, which can be reached at 1-800-708-7761.

You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations and are sometimes higher than tickets found on Kayak, Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.

Is it OK if I arrive a few days early or stay a few days late?

You may want to arrive a few days early at the start of the trip or stay a few days extra at the end of trip. Please feel free to do so.

We will send out an email to all participants in April with information on which hotels we will be using for the start and end of the trip as well how to go about booking them.

When should I purchase my flights?

This program is confirmed to run so you may purchase your flights whenever you wish.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip?

We legally cannot give you any medical advice. However, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, infectious hepatitis and polio. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously!

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local G Adventures office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

Ms. Astghik Hakobyan (Armenia)
Tel: +374 10 541463
Mob: +374 95/96 419312

If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office they have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travelers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Other than the first hotel, our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.

The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at any time your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.

Georgia and Armenia primarily use a type C plug, which is the same two circular prong plug you find in most of Europe. Their voltage is 220 Volts in Georgia and 230 Volts in Armenia.

U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an "Input" line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, "Input: 100 - 240V" means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can't handle the different voltage, you'll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.

Is the water safe to drink?

Unless your tour leader tells you differently, only bottled water should be drunk, and this is readily available for purchase. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled, washed in boiled water and in the case of the latter, well cooked. Meat and fish should also be fresh, well-cooked and hot, to avoid possible infection.

What should I expect in terms of school visits?

GEEO tries to include a school visit on each of our programs; however these visits are never a guaranteed part of our programming. School visits can be very tricky.

• In many of the countries we visit, schools will be closed for vacation over the summer. In that case we try to arrange an informal meeting with local teachers or a visit to a summer school.

• Some of our shorter programs are so packed with activities and places to see that we feel a school visit would mean the group would have to miss out on something important. In that case a school visit may not be scheduled.

• Many times we spend hours setting up a visit only for the school to cancel on us at the last minute.

• Often arranging school visits is easier if done in person with short notice. Your tour leader will try to schedule ad hoc school visits for your group when possible.

• Each school visit is different. We aim for you to get a tour of the school, sit in on a class and have a Q and A session with some of the staff.

• If we do schedule a school visit it is important that the entire group attend.

• Over time we try to establish long term relationships with schools so we can have more predictable, immersive visits that are rewarding for both our guests and the schools themselves.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

Many of the hotels we use have WiFi (often free, sometime not). There are internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/tablet/smart phone if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of your valued items.

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?

We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.

What is the transportation like?

We use an air-conditioned private vehicle throughout this trip with a driver.

How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?

A mix of cash (USD or EUR to exchange), credit cards and debit cards are the best way to ensure you have enough money at all times. The currency in Armenia is the Armenian Dram (ARD) and in Georgia you'll use the Georgian Lari (GEL).

We think it is critical for you to bring along $250 USD in cash for emergencies. This is what GEEO's executive director Jesse does in regards to money while traveling:

"I do not exchange any money before traveling to a country but instead bring somewhere between $200-300 USD in cash. I go to a bank before I leave the US and take out the cash there rather than an ATM. I make sure each bill is in great condition with no rips or tears. I like to have mostly 20's, but in some countries you are better off with 50's and 100's. In some countries, it is also good to have about 20 singles for when you have no small bills in local currency. I divide this money between a money belt, my main backpack, and my daypack.

I also bring an ATM card and a credit card. Before I leave the country I call the bank and credit card companies to let them know I am traveling abroad so they don't think the foreign transactions are fraudulent and cancel my cards when I am most reliant on them. Having a second bank account and bank card is pretty handy so that just in case one card doesn't work at an ATM or is lost, you always have a backup account. It's also important to check with your credit card to see if there is an international transaction fee. Some cards charge up to 4% extra for any transactions made out of the US. My Capital One visa card doesn't have any international transaction fee. I just use this card for traveling so if it gets stolen and I have to cancel it I won't have to worry about recurring automated payments. I like to split up my cards between my money belt, wallet, and one emergency one hidden in my main bag.

When I arrive at the airport I make sure to go to an ATM before leaving the airport and typically take out the equivalent of $150 USD in the local currency. I find that ATMs give the best exchange rate so throughout the trip I will use the ATM card to draw out my spending cash. I will ask our tour leader for an estimate on how much I will need if I am close to leaving a country so this way I do not draw out too much money.

I try not to use the US cash I brought with me so that I can use it in an emergency. Typically I will come back to the US with most of that US cash unspent. On a recent trip, I lost my ATM card and was able to get cash by paying for our group dinners with my credit card and having people pay me their share in local currency. I NEVER take cash advances on my credit card as they charge you an arm and a leg."

Do you have advice on tipping?

Although not compulsory, tipping is expected and is an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you throughout your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There will be several occasions during this trip where there is the opportunity to tip the local guides that we use. You may do this individually, or your tour leader will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping local guides range from 3-5 USD/EUR per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service. Ask your tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.

Also, at the end of your trip if you felt your G Adventures Tour Leader did an outstanding job, tipping is also expected and appreciated. The precise amount is entirely a personal preference, however $20-25 USD per person per week can be used as a general guideline.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.

Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?

The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.

We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, www.fundforteachers.org. These grants can be used on GEEO trips. If you want advice on applying for an FFT grant, please email us and we will send you a document that you will find helpful.

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent 501c3 non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO has chosen to work with the tour operator G Adventures. We discount their prices for our participants so they are even more affordable for teachers. GEEO also is able to get our participants humanitarian rate airfare and discounted travel health insurance. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teachers' experience into the classroom. GEEO provides each participant with a Professional Development Certificate. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 25 years, G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics, and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

1899.00 USD

International Airfare not included

Availability: 3

Book now

This program is guaranteed to run and will have a maximum of 16 participants.

What's Included

  • Echmiadzin visit
    Khor Virap visit
    Garni Roman temple and gorge visit
    Geghard Monastery visit
    Lake Sevan stop with visit to monasteries
    Sanahin visit
    City tour of Tbilisi
    Georgian Military Road drive
    Mtskheta's UNESCO-listed churches visit
    Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral visit
    Kazbegi visit
    Hike to Sameba Church
    Ananuri architectural complex visit
    Tsinandali Park visit
    Alaverdi Cathedral and Gremi architectural complex visit
    Winery visit with wine tasting (Kvareli)
    Local lunches in Garni and Sighnaghi

  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities by private van.

  • Standard hotels (9 nts)

  • 9 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 4 Dinners (Allow USD $300-$425 for meals not included.)

  • G Adventures Tour Leader throughout, local guides

What's Not Included

  • International air

  • Incidentals

  • Travel Health Insurance

  • Applicable visas

  • Airport Taxes

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Beverages

  • Meals not mentioned above

  • Optional Tours or optional admissions

  • Airport Transfers, unless otherwise mentioned in inclusions.

  • Cancellation Insurance