cost to visit my child in the dominican republic

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I was looking on the site for a custom visit with my child that lives in the Dominican republic I know it has extra cost for the center travel things like that so I was wondering if I can get an estimate of these things before I submita request form as I don't have a date yet but am trying to plan/budget ahead so I would know what the cost would look like ahead of time as the guidelines are vast on the site which says any where from under 100 to thousands
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Debra Gonzalez

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Posted 1 year ago

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Caroline Bates

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My child lives in Tanzania, but I went to visit her last year. She and her mom traveled to meet me in a city, and we went to the market. The costs will most likely be different, but I've attached my cost breakdown that Compassion emailed me before my trip. I want to say the money you pay to Compassion (for translator fees, your child's transportation, etc) is less than $250, but I don't have a firm basis for that.
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Debra Gonzalez

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Thank you very much
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Jenny Kim

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Thank you for sharing. What is the accomodation fee about? Is this for yourself or for your child? How long did you spend with your child and what else did you do other than going to the restaurant and the market ?
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Caroline Bates

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Jenny, 
The accommodation fee was for my child. She and her mom arrived in the city the night before we met. I spent a few hours with my child, but I don't know exactly how long (my mom says 2-3 hours). Not long enough :). We met at my hotel and went through the gifts I brought her, then we took pictures with a fish statue. Most of our time together was shopping for food in the market and a few stores, as well as going to clothing stores to find a dress for my child. We actually didn't eat a restaurant together.
Before the day I met my child, my mom and I went on a safari. That was cool, because we got to see a lot of wildlife. We also visited a Masai village and picked up supplies at a grocery store at the start of the safari. The safari and the couple hotels my mom and I stayed in gave us more insight into Tanzania, and its people, food, and animals. If you're interested in visiting your child, I'd recommend doing some touristy thing while you're in the country, both so that you can see more of the country for yourself and so that you're not just spending 1 day visiting your child and then flying home. It also gives you more information for future letters, because you can write your child and tell them how awesome their country is.
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Jenny Kim

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It must have been a fun shopping day! I see that meals costed $50. Was it 3 meals a day for you and your mother ?

I know that individual custom visit can be up to 6 hours. Do you get to choose how many hours you can spend with your child?

Was it your first time going to Tanzania? Did you go all the way there with your mother to just to visit your spononsored child? Was it safe to visit Africa for 2 women by themselves?

Sorry I have a lot of questions! ;) I am planning to visit Ethiopia next year to meet my children and also planning to do indivisual custom trip!
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Caroline Bates

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I believe the meal charge was for meals for my sponsor child and her mom during the trip. Since this was an individual (not group) visit, when my mom and I ate at restaurants, we just paid the restaurant like normal. I didn't get to choose how long the visit was. My sponsor child and her mom had to catch a bus back to their home, so that determined when our visit ended. For the individual visit, I paid $25 before the trip, and then $51 once I got home. The $51 covered things like my child's transportation and meal costs. For the shopping trip, I just paid each vendor/store owner, so I'm not sure how much that part cost.
This was my first time in Tanzania. I had a couple months off of school, and so we spent about a month in Europe, and then visited Tanzania for a week since we were already on that side of the Atlantic. My mom insisted on the safari so that we weren't just in Tanzania for 1 day. I thought Tanzania was pretty safe. We did spent most of it with our safari tour guide doing the safari, so most of our time was in close proximity to other tourists. I'm in the military, so I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and get approval to go on this trip. The military requires traveling with a buddy in Africa. My paperwork for this trip did get approved, so the military was fine with me traveling to Tanzania with my civilian mom. US Africa Command has put out a map of Africa with Force Protection and general travel restriction information (you can find it by googling AFRICOM FPCON and it should come up). Both Tanzania and Ethiopia are in FPCON BRAVO, which is the same security level that the US is at, so I don't think Ethiopia would be terribly dangerous. You can also check the State Department's website for any travel warnings. The State Department also has a Smart Traveler Enrollment Program which I recommend you sign up for. This is just in case anything goes wrong while you're in Ethiopia, so that the State Department knows you're there. In Tanzania the hotels where we stayed were gated, and you had to be let in by a gate guard. There were also bars on the windows of some of the buildings. A woman who was on the same safari circuit as us had lived in Tanzania for a while before moving back to North America. She said that at first when she was back in America she actually felt less safe, because there were no bars on the windows. I'd recommend travelling with a buddy, just because of strength in numbers, but I never felt unsafe in Tanzania. 
As an aside, Qatar Airlines did not like that we did not have roundtrip tickets into and out of Africa. They really wanted to make sure we had tickets to leave the continent. If you're flying roundtrip it shouldn't be an issue, but just a heads up.
Ask away :). I'm happy to help in any way I can.

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