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Author Topic: Cash in lieu not always a good idea  (Read 6495 times)

Offline Marion

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Cash in lieu not always a good idea
« on: October 27, 2013, 01:05:12 PM »
A few months before our close-of-service (COS) conference we started thinking about coming home.  One decision was to let the Peace Corps make our travel arrangements or take "cash in lieu" and make our own arrangements. 

We heard from a lot of other volunteers during our service who said we should take cash-in-lieu because, they said, you can get cheaper air fares on your own that what the government provides. 

So at our COS conference we opted for cash-in-lieu and started looking for air fairs online.  As it turns out we received cash-in-lieu of the exact same amount that we paid.  NO SAVINGS.   

No savings... but no loss either.  Just a wash.  Some people do save a lot of money, but we did not.

Then we got word that my wife's mother had a severe health problem and we had to ask if we could return two weeks early.  Our request was granted and we now we had to change our airline tickets.  The tickets for the changed date were $1,000 more, which we had to pay.  The Peace Corps could not help us out with this because we had opted to do it ourselves and take the cash.   It would have been even worse if the tickets we purchased had not been refundable.

Had we opted to let the Peace Corps make our travel arrangements we would have avoided the hassle and any changes in travel dates would have been paid for and handled by them as well.

Something to think about at your COS conference.
Marion
RPCV, Botswana (2011-2013)

Offline shawn

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Re: Cash in lieu not always a good idea
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2013, 09:24:41 AM »
Every now and then, some people make out like a bandit by taking cash in lieu and flying home, but I feel it's rarer than people thinking and with smaller profit margins. Most people that I know took their cash in lieu so that they can use the money for a trip or an indirect flight home.

That's what I'm doing. Rwanda, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, San Francisco, Minneapolis. All for not much more than a flight straight home.
PCVL - Rwanda 2010-2013
NPCA Serving Volunteer Advisory Council

Offline Mwalimu

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Re: Cash in lieu not always a good idea
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2014, 11:18:06 AM »
I second what shawn said.

I know that most of my PCV friends took the cash in lieu, myself included, and 80% of us got cheaper flights home. One friend actually made out real well as she saved over a thousand dollars by booking her own flights and having a lay over for a few days in Europe.

It really boils down to checking for yourself and making sure you have current information about the cost of flights on your time line as well as how much Peace Corps would give you in lieu of the ticket.
Daniel
RPCV Kenya 2009 - 2012

Offline RPCVro

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Re: Cash in lieu not always a good idea
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2014, 11:13:48 PM »
It should be considered that there was a policy change in 2013 regarding the flights Peace Corps books for COSing volunteers. Prior to 2013, PC was required to use American carriers. Due to budget issues, this policy was eased to permit non-US carriers. As American carriers tend to charge more for international flights, those who chose cash-in-lieu were able to book flights on cheaper carriers. In 2013, booking agents were allowed to pursue the cheapest option. I chose to take the ticket because I would not be taking a COS trip, and I didn't want to lose out on the 2nd bag allowance and other fees covered by the ticket option.

Offline Joyce Emery

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Re: Cash in lieu not always a good idea
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 04:39:45 PM »
Think by not travelling at least for a month, you miss a great opportunity
to see the world through PC eyes.
JEJ

Offline PeaceCorps1

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Re: Cash in lieu not always a good idea
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2014, 03:11:15 AM »
I did not want the hassle of booking my flight. I let them do it.
"If it were not for the reporters, I'd tell you the truth"', President Chester A. Arthur

Offline PeaceCorps1

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Re: Cash in lieu not always a good idea
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2016, 07:53:21 AM »
The key is to buy a ticket as soon as the CD approves the COS date and buy the refundable ticket for a few more dollars.
"If it were not for the reporters, I'd tell you the truth"', President Chester A. Arthur