Providing proof of onward travel frustrates many backpackers and frequent travelers alike. Luckily, there are several easy ways to get get a return ticket to “prove” that you plan to leave your destination.
What is onward travel and why do I need it?
On onward travel means that you have documentation showing that you do not intend to “live” in a country.
Countries such as Thailand, Colombia, and the USA need visitors to have a return ticket.
Having some form of onward travel tells immigration officials that you don’t “plan” to stay.
Most of the times, where the ticket leads to is not important. So long as it is out of the host country.
These days, government officials pass off the burden of proof to airlines. Most airline agents question travelers during check in. Passengers not in possession of a return ticket have to buy one on the spot.
Some lucky travelers slip through the cracks. But, get caught by immigration, and the airline has to foot the bill for your “deportation.”
Not only that but they also risk having to pay hefty fines and other repercussions.
Denial of service
Some airlines do not allow travelers to travel without first buying a return ticket.
So, always be sure to have one beforehand using any of the 4 methods to show proof of onward travel.
How to show proof of onward travel
Traveling on a one-way ticket is cheaper but risky. Having proof of onward travel safeguards both you, the airline, and host country.
Here are the 4 best ways that you can use to get proof of return travel without buying a round trip ticket.
Refundable tickets are tickets that you buy and refund after you get to your destination. They are 10 times more expensive that normal tickets.
Once you enter the country, cancel the return leg of the ticket and wait for the refund to go through to your account.
Although, it takes quite a while for the refund to process. Not an issue if you have time. But there’s an easier and faster way.
Some flights on Expedia allow you to cancel within 24 hours for a full refund.
Buy a cheap ticket and make sure that it says that you can cancel within 24 hours for free.
It’s easy to buy the ticket the day before you travel and then cancel the ticket after you get into the country.
This way is easier because once you cancel, you get a full refund for the ticket price in less than 24 hours (most cases).
Buy a cheap ticket
Another way to get a round trip ticket is to buy a cheap ticket and not use it.
In the end, you lose money but at least you have proof and increase your chance of getting on your flight and to vacation.
It’s easy to get ticket prices on a site like Google Flights. You get price information and dates from several airlines this way.
Forge a ticket
The least recommended method is to forge a ticket. Not only is it unethical, but it is also a crime.
Yes! Lying to immigration personnel is a crime that could get you arrested.
Don’t be a risk taker and use sites like returnflights.net to forge travel documentation.
Which option is best?
I use the Expedia method without issue. If you do not find a ticket that you cancel, then buy a refundable ticket or a cheap ticket and not use it.
- Expedia – Free cancellation & refundable tickets in 24 hours.
- Buy a cheap ticket that you do not plan on using.
- Refundable one-way or return airfare via airline website.
Lastly, never try to forge a ticket or travel information. Don’t be a risk taker.
Be on the safe side and plan ahead. Happy traveling!