Peace Corps Ukraine | A Peace Corps Travel Overview
As this post goes live I am currently on my very first PEACE CORPS VACATION!! I had a lot of questions concerning travel before I came and was really worried about it before I joined the Peace Corps. I asked google, reddit and any other source I could find if travel was possible. So here for your inquiring minds, is my brief overview of our travel policy.
I assume this is the same in every Peace Corps Country (Peace Corps Staff if it isn't let me know).
Personal Vacation Time
We accrue 2 vacation days each month starting the month we swear in. You accrue no vacation days during training. I asked at our transition to service meeting when we were briefed on this when exactly during the month they accrue and it was every two weeks. So one day is accrued on the 15th and one on the 30th.
In country travel
You are allowed to travel in country after 1 month at your permanent site. You can't travel during training unless your host family is taking you to a dacha or something and you get express permission from the Peace Corps.
In country weekend travel after 5pm on Friday and ending at 8/9 am ( the start of your work day) on Monday does not count as vacation time.
In country weekday travel for personal trips does count as vacation time.
If you leave your site for the weekend you need to email your regional manager informing them of where you are going before 5pm on Friday if possible.
I know the Peace Corps sounds very helicopter mom but it is just for our safety that should something happen to us or if the country needs to be evacuated they know how to get to us.
You can't start traveling internationally until 3 months after swearing in and all trips have to be approved by the country director. If you are traveling to another Peace Corps country you also need approval from their Country Director.
The list of countries we can not visit changes all the time. If you are ever unsure about a country you just need to ask your RM or the safety and security manager.
Any day you are out of the country counts as a vacation day...even weekends. Which is a tad bit unfortunate. If you are super close to a boarder ( I'm like 20 mins from Romania) You can take day trips on the weekend but those need approval as well. Basically if you are sleeping outside of the country, you need permission and a vacation day.
One thing I found really generous in the policy was that your vacation days are officially country when you leave the country. So traveling in Ukraine ( in good faith) to get out of the country doesn't have to count as a vacation day. For example. I have to take a 12 hour train to Kyiv where the main airport is and if my flight is early in the morning I would have to take the train the day before and that day wouldn't be counted against me.
You also can't travel internationally during your last 3 months of service. So backdating 3 months from your COS date ( close of service) you can not use your vacation time internationally but you can travel within the country.
You are allowed to travel home to America. It is the same policy as traveling anywhere else internationally.
Other kinds of travel
There are other types of travel that do not come out of your personal leave time. Those would be official Peace Corps Business, Work Travel, and Camp Travel.
They do this exercise with you during on of the in service trainings that gives you the total number of days ( should you use them all) that you are can possibly be away from site.
A lot of volunteers, especially YD and TEFL will host camps that other Peace Corps Volunteers assist with. You just check the box on the absent from site form for camp travel.
The same thing applies if you have a business trip with your site. You have to get them approved to make sure they are appropriate but they also are not your personal vacation time.
The last one is official Peace Corps Travel. This is for things like in service training, medical appointments, and committee meetings should you be on one.
There are so many amazing places in Ukraine to visit, and I am sure all the other Peace Corps countries are the same. There are some amazing places to visit and volunteers to visit them with in almost every city!!