Proof Of Onward Travel
How to provide proof of onward travel when travelling on a one-way ticket.
Last Updated: November 2022
“Can I please see Proof of Onward Travel?”
For someone travelling on a one-way ticket, this sweat-inducing request can come anytime, from either an airline employee during check-in, or an immigration officer, when entering a country.
The need to provide proof of onward travel, when journeying to a country, is the curse of the modern, nomadic traveller who travels with no fixed plan or schedule.
Whilst most countries are happy to welcome visitors, none are happy if you overstay your welcome and, increasingly, airlines and immigration officials want to know you have a confirmed departure date.
If, when asked, you are unable to show proof of onward travel, airlines can refuse to board you and immigration officers can refuse to admit you into their country.
For almost all conventional travellers, who travel with return tickets or have onward flights, this requirement presents no problems.
However, for the tiny percentage of nomadic, meandering souls (especially backpackers), who wish to remain free from the constraints of a planned itinerary and hop around the planet using one-way tickets, this requirement can be onerous.
How to remain flexible, with a fluid itinerary, while satisfying a requirement which forces you to commit to a firm departure date?
Onward Travel Hack
One travel hack is provided by Priceline.com, and other Expedia companies, who offer a free 23-hour cancellation window on certain tickets.
If, for example, you’re flying into Thailand on a one-way ticket and need to provide proof of onward travel you could purchase a cheap one-way flight to nearby Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) with the free cancel option.
Such a ticket should be purchased just before you depart for the airport, as you will have just 23-hours to cancel the ticket from the time of purchase.
You can then use this legitimate ticket as proof of onward travel!
Once you reach your destination, you then simply login to your booking and select the ’Cancel Your Flight’ option.
The full cost of the flight will be refunded to the credit card which was used to book the flight.
You are now free to continue your travels and organise your departure at a later date.
Of course, this hack only works provided you will have entered your destination within 23 hours of ticket purchase – beyond that, you will be penalised for any changes or cancellation.
That’s the end of this post. I hope it has provided you with some useful information which can be used next time you need to show proof of an onward flight.
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Author: Darren McLean
Darren McLean is an Australian full-time digital nomad who has spent 36 years on a slow meander around the globe, visiting all seven continents and 229 UN+ countries and territories.
He founded taste2travel to pique one’s curiosity and inspire wanderlust.