ATTENTION: Kids to Adopt has CLOSED effective Oct 31, 2013.

Ukraine Travel Info

Airline Reservations to and from Kiev
In Country Travel
Hotel and/or apartment reservations
Food
Weather
Packing and Travel Tips
Friends and Family Traveling
Important Tips on Behavior, What to Wear, etc.
Gifts and Donations
Visa Information
Miscellaneous Tips

Airline Reservations to and from Kiev

  • You usually receive several weeks of notice before travel.
  • When calling airlines, make sure you ask if they have special fares for adopting parents – some offer discounted rates.
  • Kids To Adopt recommends purchasing air tickets so you arrive in Kiev at least one day before your SDA appointment.  If you miss this appointment, you must start over from scratch and the whole trip would have been in vain.  They do not make exceptions for flight cancellation or airplane problems.
  • You are responsible for your flight arrangements from home to Kiev and from Kiev to home.
  • You are responsible for purchasing a return ticket for your child from Kiev to home.
  • Purchase tickets to and from the Borispol (Boryspil) airport in Kiev.
  • Do not purchase non-refundable tickets, as your travel dates could be postponed or rescheduled.  We cannot be responsible for change fees as the travel dates are out of our control and related to the availability of the officials involved in the adoption process.
  • Please send Kids To Adopt your itinerary as soon as you have it.

In-Country Travel

  • Parents are responsible for arranging transportation from Kiev to the child’s region.  Our coordinator can assist with this but you may be able to locate less expensive options.
  • Parents are responsible for arranging transportation from the child’s region to Kiev – don’t forget that on the way back you should have custody of the child, so include them in the reservations!
  • Parents can arrange transportation in advance (if the region/city is known), as the date of travel to the child’s region is usually the day after the SDA appointment.
  • Many regions are accessible by train, and some have airports.  Parents are advised to purchase first class tickets when traveling by train.
  • For travel by train, go to http://travel-2-ukraine.com/.  There you can find information on train schedules and train reservations.
  • One family is using a train booking website located at http://www.poezda.net/en/index .  The website has train schedules and first class tickets are available.  Prices vary upon season.
  • For travel by airplane, it’s usually easier to purchase tickets while in Ukraine.  However, airline tickets can be bought on major websites such as through Expedia.  Or through the local flight companies website, http://www.aerosvit.ua/eng.
  • We suggest exploring the internet and finding out all you can before arranging for travel.
  • Travel can be arranged through our coordinator, however, parents must be warned that the coordinator may charge additional fees and may not give receipts.
  • Please let Kids To Adopt know how you are traveling and the travel details as soon as possible.

Hotel and/or Apartment Reservations

  • Parents usually reserve a couple nights at a hotel in Kiev and then rent an apartment for around a month in the child’s region.
  • You usually can find apartments to rent online, just search on the city name and apartment.
  • We suggest surfing the internet to find affordable hotels.  For Kiev, hotels can be found at www.hotels.com – just search under “Kiev, Ukraine.”
  • Another website to look into is www.kievhotelservice.com or www.hotels-ua.com for apartments and hotels.
  • Parents should note that hotels that charge under $150 usually are European-style hotels.  Many parents find it more comfortable to stay in Western-style hotels which are usually a bit more expensive.

Food

  • In Kiev, we suggest budgeting $30 – $50 per day, per person, depending on food preferences.
  • In outside regions, we suggest budgeting $15 – $30 per day, per person, depending on food preferences.

Weather

  • Be sure to dress for the weather – check the 10 day forecast on www.weather.com (type in Kiev, Ukraine).
  • Make sure to bring weather-appropriate clothing for your child on the return trip in case what they own isn’t sufficient (for example, a winter coat if it is cold).

Packing and Travel Tips

  • Airlines have strict weight limitations per bag!  International flights allow two (2) carry on pieces per person (ex. Purse and diaper bag) and two check-in bags with a weight restriction of 50 lbs per bag.  Please check your airline website prior to travel to confirm the weight and dimension restrictions.
  • Domestic flights (within Ukraine) allow approximately 40 lbs. per bag with a $2-$5 per lb. penalty for overage.  Many domestic flights only allow one carry-on and one checked bag per person.
  • Pack lightly but efficiently.  There is no one to carry bags but you!  Remember that taxis there are very small!!
  • Hotel rooms may be very hot in the winter (no temp regulating in the rooms – using steam heat), so you may want to pack a t-shirt and shorts just in case.
  • You may want to bring an electrical converter and plug adapter that will allow you to use small, electric appliances (ex. hairdryer, electric razor) in Ukraine.  In Ukraine, the voltage is 220V and the frequency is 50Hz.  You can buy electrical converters and plug adapters at most travel stores as well as major discount retailers such as WalMart and KMart. Simply ask store personnel what plug type will best work in Ukraine.
  • Calling cards may not work in Ukraine even when they say that they do! Check in advance! Also, be cautious when using calling cards from your hotel. Some hotels require that you use a phone in the lobby, or you will be charged for minutes used, even with your calling card. (While some calling cards don’t even work on the hotel room phone).
  • Global phones can be purchased or leased and mailed to you by ICS (International Cellular Services) at www.internationalcellular.com or call 800.897.5788.
  • Due to heightened credit card security, you may want to call your credit card company in advance and inform them that you will be traveling in Ukraine. This way, they will not flag your card for possible fraudulent activity.

Friends and Family Traveling

  • If anybody is traveling with you – other than the adoptive parents – please let Kids To Adopt know right away.  The individual will need to sign a Travel Waiver, and may need to complete additional paperwork.

Important Tips on Behavior, What to Wear, etc.

  • Don’t wear jeans when at SDA appointment, court, or the orphanage.  Business casual dress. Khakis are fine.
  • Don’t act like an arrogant and demanding American!!!
  • Be kind, thoughtful, pleasant, and most of all “thankful”
  • Remember to thank the orphanage director for allowing you to visit your child and for talking with you.
  • Leave them with a good impression of Americans.
  • If you are interested in donating something, talk to the orphanage director about what things the orphanage could use.
  • Be polite.  The polite and squeaky wheel gets oiled but the obnoxious one gets ignored.
  • Take a few small inexpensive toys and goodies for your child.  It is a good way to get to know your child.  If you are visiting for more than one day, don’t bring everything in on the first day.
  • Remember while you are at the orphanage you are being watched.  They are looking to make sure that you are getting along with the child and that it is a good match.  View this as an important job interview!  You are interviewing for the job of parent!  The orphanage director and ministry official do talk and they will go to court so you want them to say wonderful things about you and your experience with the child at the orphanage!

Gifts and Donations

  • You should purchase gifts for the coordinator, orphanage directors, and court officials before you leave the U.S.
  • Some gift giving ideas for adults:  costume jewelry, scarves, stationary sets, towel sets, Bath and Body products (not soaps though – that would be considered offensive), silk ties, souvenirs from your home state/area, trinkets, picture frames, pen and pencil sets, desk items.  Be creative!  Things unique to your state are always appreciated.
  • Inappropriate gifts:  hotel shampoo products, fresh fruits and vegetable, homemade baked good, or cash.
  • Do not wrap your gifts.  You may want to bring gift bags.  Dollar stores are a great source for gift wrapping ideas that are inexpensive.
  • Your coordinator will look through them and distribute them as appropriate
  • You may also want to bring a bag of individually wrapped candies to hand out to the older children in the orphanage as a treat (you will be a HIT!)
  • Offer to host a going away party for your child and his or her friends.  It won’t cost a lot and the children will greatly appreciate the celebration!

Visa Information

  • Parents are not required to acquire visas to travel to Ukraine unless they plan to stay over ninety days.
  • The coordinator should help parents arrange for an Immigrant Visa for their child – usually costs around $380 per child.

Miscellaneous Tips

  • Carry your visa and passport in a safe but convenient spot as you will be taking it out frequently
  • Take small packets of Kleenex as there is not always toilet paper available in public restrooms.  Also take paper toilet seat covers for sanitary use.
  • Take a small bottle of hand sanitizer as there is not always soap and paper towels in the public restrooms
  • Take shower shoes, slippers, or flip-flops to wear in the hotel
  • Take your favorite cold remedies, and vitamins
  • Take some of your favorite snacks in case you are busy and don’t get to eat a meal when you are hungry
  • Many families use Air-borne when they are traveling on the airplane or going to the orphanage.  Both places are full of germs and you will be tired and stressed out and may be more susceptible to catching something.  Remember that germs in Ukraine are different from germs in the US!!
  • Talk to your doctor about immunizations that he or she thinks you may need before your trip.
  • Don’t drink tap water and bring Immodium just in case!
  • Remember ice cubes are made from tap water!!
  • Make sure to pack a couple bottles of water in your checked bag (for brushing your teeth, etc. when you arrive), as some hotels will charge around $6.00 for one small 8 oz bottle of water.