If you are planning an intercontinental trip on a one-way flight, you may have problems. This is because some countries and most airlines require a return airline ticket as proof of having left the country.
I first discovered this when at the border between Costa Rica and Panama some guys could not cross the border precisely because they did not have a return ticket.
In this guide we look at how to leave without a return ticket safely and without having to plan each trip in advance.
Leaving with a one-way flight: is it possible?
Often, when organizing a trip, especially for long periods, it is preferable to create a flexible itinerary and not set the return date immediately to decide the various stages of the trip.
Perhaps you are thinking of traveling to Asia and visiting more countries but you do not yet know when to return and do not want to buy a return ticket . Or you simply know the departure date but not the return date.
However, the problem is that by doing so you risk not going at all, because as I said it is mandatory to have an outbound airline ticket.
I have read contradictory opinions in several forums, who say that it is not mandatory, that they do not ask you, but the reality is that there are laws to respect and if you show up at the airport without a return ticket they do not let you leave .
I have been going to Thailand on a one way flight for a few years now, they have always asked me to show them a ticket out of the country.
So, if like me you buy a one way flight it is mandatory to have the "proof of departure".
Leaving without a return ticket: What is the proof of departure?
Governments of different states are asking all travelers for one to make sure that you will not stay in the country beyond the expiration of the visa. "Proof of departure" or a return flight ticket or to other destinations showing that you will leave the country within the visa expiration.
Proof of departure is required whether you need to apply for a visa prior to departure online or at embassies, or whether you will obtain the free visa directly upon arrival.
It is one way to try to prevent illegal immigration, but it could hinder your travel plans!
Who applies for proof of exit?
Generally, proof of departure is requested at the check-in counter. In fact, airlines are responsible for the government of the destination country and must ensure that the traveler is in possession of all required documents, so that there are no problems once they arrive at the border.
That is why most airlines are very demanding and strict, which means that without a return ticket, you will not board the plane!
At best, they may force you to buy a return ticket directly from them at very high costs!
Usually on arrival they do not check if you have the return flight, but they may ask you during passport control, it always depends on the immigration offices of each country.
Fortunately, it is possible to travel long term without plans and without planning the whole trip right away. This is possible thanks to some simple and completely legal ways.
How to obtain proof of departure
If you are not traveling with a return airline ticket, to avoid problems and leave safely, you have some alternatives.
1. Refundable ticket
You can purchase a return ticket or flight to any destination that is fully refundable.
Once you have arrived at your destination, cancel your ticket. The problem is that these tickets are usually very expensive, you have to advance the money and wait for a refund. The important thing is to accept that there are no cancellation fees and that the refund is not a voucher or a shopping voucher.
2. Airfare rental.
This is your best bet, a 48-hour airfare! The service I use is called OnwardTicket.com.
I'll explain in a few words how it works, in practice it is possible to buy a real airline ticket that after 48 hours is automatically canceled, for only $ 12.
Simply enter the departure date which must be before the visa expires. Then enter the point of departure, i.e. any airport in the country you are going to and the arrival airport of your choice. Then enter the first and last name of the passengers, pay and that's it!
You will receive your airline ticket in 2 minutes.
Calculating that the ticket has a duration of 48 hours, you have to buy it the day before departure or a few hours before depending on how long the journey takes, the important thing is that you arrive at your destination within 48 hours.
With only $ 1 more, you can receive a link by email and activate your reservation whenever you want.
I'll give you a simple example: you have to go to Thailand on August 10 without a return ticket.
- Buy the departure voucher with departure from any airport in Thailand: Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi, etc.
- Choose a departure date within the visa expiration date: e.g. September 2nd;
- Select a destination of your choice: Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, etc.
Important: this is a real ticket with a verifiable confirmation code on the airline's website.
VIDEO TUTORIAL ENTRY ONWARDS
3. Buy a low cost ticket
You can also buy a cheap ticket to any destination. In our example above, we could buy a ticket from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, but it would always cost you more than $ 12, at least € 50 or € 100.
4. Buy a bus or train ticket.
Many suggest buying a bus, train or ferry ticket, which is certainly cheaper than a flight. The problem is that not all airlines accept this solution, I honestly would not risk it.
5. Fake tickets
I absolutely do not recommend making fake tickets, in this case it is an illegal procedure and you could risk a lot.
Which countries require proof?
There are many countries that require the obligatory round trip ticket, among these for sure are: Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Peru, Panama, Mexico, etc. However, depending on the airline, you may still be asked for proof of departure regardless of the destination. Therefore, I recommend that you do some research on the country you are going to. If you have any doubts, comment on the article I will try to provide answers to all your doubts.
If you prefer to travel for free, without having to decide first the return date or future trips, if you are a backpacker or digital nomad, remember that now there is a solution. Don't risk getting stuck at the check-in counter and miss your flight!