What do you do if the country you’re flying to requires an onward ticket and you’ve somehow forgotten to get one?
A common theme during my past couple of years of traveling has been the onward ticket challenge. My preference is to fly one way to a destination and work out my next city at some later date. But what do you do when the place you’re traveling to requires proof of onward travel? Being denied entry without an onward ticket wouldn’t be much fun.
The first time I remember facing this was flying to Bangkok in 2015. I hadn’t been to Thailand for about 10 years and can’t ever recall thinking about onward tickets back then. I’d read that Thailand’s immigration rules had tightened the previous few years and that an onward ticket was recommended, though plenty of people in forums said they were never actually asked for one. To be on the safe side I bought a cheap one way flight from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur. Neither airline staff of Thai immigration asked for it.
Since then, I’ve bought plenty of cheap, throw-away onward tickets. And not just plane tickets, bus and train tickets are also acceptable, cheaper options if an overland exit is possible, such as traveling between Thailand and Malaysia. The only times I can remember being asked to show an onward ticket have been by immigration on arrival in Ho Chi Minh and by check-in staff at Macau Airport before flying to Taipei.
Generally, if you plan enough in advance, it’s easy to find a cheap one way ticket. And they aren’t always a waste of money as I’ve often ended up using them. But what if you’ve left it until the last minute – as I did before my recent flight to Taipei – and even budget airline flight prices are through the roof?
Introducing my new best friend, Flyonward.com. This is a brilliant site that allows you to rent an onward ticket for 24 hours for $9.99 or 48 hours for $16.99. You just tell them where you’re flying from and they pick a random destination. You pay, they send you the ticket confirmation and you’re good to go. Sound too good to be true?
I was skeptical at first but their site states it’s all legitimate and legal. They book and pay for the tickets and then cancel them after the rental period expires. They say they are doing the hard work for those of us who don’t want to go through the hassles of booking expensive flights, canceling them and chasing up the refund.
My flight to Taipei was in less than 24 hours so I decided to take the plunge and rent a ticket. It was all really easy. I chose the 24 hour rental period, paid my $9.99 (you need a PayPal account with balance or buy with a credit card through PayPal) and in about 20 minutes I received an email with my flight confirmation.
To verify the booking was real I went to the China Airlines website and looked up the flight details using my booking reference. It was all there under my name.
All I had left to do was print the confirmation email and have it ready for inspection. And lucky I had it when they asked at Macau Airport check-in. It was a nice feeling – and a relief – to have pulled it off! I would just recommend you study the flight details beforehand, especially if it involves a connecting flight like mine did – incase the check-in clerk asks you anything specific.
I’m pretty sure I will continue my habit of booking actual onward tickets if I do it far enough in advance to be as cheap as possible. As I said, I’ve often ended up using the tickets anyway. But it’s good to know, that if I’ve ever left it too late or just can’t find the right ticket, the Flyonward hack works.
***Update 26/6/17 – I recently used Flyonward a second time to rent an onward ticket out of Seoul with no problems, wasn’t even asked for an onward ticket by airline staff in Taipei or Seoul immigration.
Thanks for reading. Have you used Flyonward or a similar service before? If you’ve any experiences to share I’d love if you could drop a comment below!