By Nick Wharton |
1. Book a 24 hour Refundable Flight on Expedia.com This is the absolute best way to provide proof of onward travel for any flight journey. If, like us, you choose to book with Expedia, you’ll have to use Expedia.com (not .co, .uk, .ca etc.) because Expedia.com is the only version of the site that has the 24-hour refund policy.
In our experience, about 95% of flights on Expedia.com offer free cancellation for 24 hours.
There are some airlines that refuse to offer these refunds (like AirAsia) but seeing as you’re not actually taking the flight and you get 100% of your money back, there’s no point worrying about the price, or what airline you’re flying with.
2. Use an Onward Flight Booking Company There are plenty of services out there that allow you to rent a ticket, but not all are created equal.
After writing this post we had a few comments (see below) telling tales of poor services that didn’t deliver on their promise for a proper onward ticket. It’s definitely best to check reviews and make sure you’re getting a legitimate company. We’ve had hundreds of our readers successfully use Onward Ticket Visa : https://onwardticketvisa.com
3. Book & Sacrifice a Cheap Flight If you can’t find a refundable flight on Expedia, renting a ticket, or you aren’t comfortable booking and cancelling a ticket, you can simply pay for the cheapest onward flight you can find.
Before we knew about the Expedia policies, we were forced to book flights out of countries and one time we had to sacrifice the money.
On a backpacker’s budget at the time, this was pretty detrimental to our bank accounts and was a complete waste of money.
4. Book & Cancel With Points Oftentimes, rewards flights have better cancellation policies than normally booked flights and you can usually get a refund of your points instantly. You can often call your reward credit card provider to book a refundable ticket for you.
For example, we use the TD Canada Trust First Class Infinite Visa which has a partnership with Expedia. This means that I can redeem my credit card points through Expedia.
If you wanted to, you could simply call Expedia for TD (or your own points provider) and ask them to book you a refundable ticket with your points. You could then easily cancel that flight within the given timeframe (sometimes longer than 24 hours) to receive a full refund of your points, immediately.
This method works very much the same as booking a normal refundable ticket on Expedia. You’ll have to book the flight, print out the confirmation e-ticket and then cancel the flight (preferably after landing in the destination country and making it through immigration).
5. Talk To Your Travel Agent For those old-schoolers who still love their travel agents (nothing wrong with that), you can still request they send you a pre-booked itinerary as proof of onward travel.
When booking your entire trip with an agent, they may offer the service for free, but in most cases, you’ll have to pay a fee for the print-out.
As I mentioned earlier, what they are giving you is very much the same as the refundable flight I explained at the start of this post, but if you feel more comfortable with your travel agent, then all you have to do is tell them that you need proof of an onward ticket and they can help you out.
6. Just Wing it (No Pun Intended) The riskiest method of manoeuvring the onward travel regulation (aside from the last item in this post) is to arrive at the airport and try to get on the flight, despite not having an onward ticket.
7. Sign-Off and Hope As a last-ditch effort, if you’re at the airport without proof of an onward flight and the airline check-in staff won’t let you board the flight, you can tell them that you have means to leave the country and plan to do so by land.
Ask them if they have a liability waiver you can sign in order to board the flight without valid proof of onward travel.
In some cases, the airline will be able to print out a contract for you at the check-in desk that basically says you do have means to leave and they are not liable for you or your travel should you be turned away by immigration at your destination airport.
In Conclusion However you choose to show proof of onward travel, it’s important that you have it in your hand whenever entering ANY country, regardless of their onward travel laws. Think of it as an essential travel item to pack, just like your passport and your wallet.
Avoid “winging it” and never lie to immigration officers or forge an itinerary, it’s simply not worth the risk. With so many legitimate ways to provide the proper documentation, there’s no reason to cheat the system.
Some might argue that booking and cancelling flights, or renting a ticket is cheating the system, but that is false. Travel agents have been doing this for years and there have been real companies offering legal solutions for this problem since the first country legislated the law.
We’ve been asked the (very good) question of onward travel so many times that we thought it was important that we write this article to help travellers navigate these laws legally and safely.
We hope that this article has helped to relieve some of the headaches that come with long travel days and grumpy airport staff! If you did find the article useful, please share it so that others can book their onward flights with ease. Thanks for reading.
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