Insider tips in GlobetrotterGirls at Pepo - Aug 2 2017, 10.12.44 PM UTC
Travel Tip: Proof of onward travel

I just traveled to Europe on a one-way ticket, which means I couldn't prove I'd be leaving again. On this flight, it wasn't a problem, because I've got a European passport, but there were several times when I was not allowed to board a plane because I didn't have proof of onward travel‼️

It happened to me when I flew from Panama to Chile (I was able to talk my way onto the plane back then), when I flew from Denmark to the U.S. (my flight left without me because I wasn’t able to purchase a refundable ticket before the gate closed), and this past January, when I was checking in for my flight to Colombia at JFK, I also was told I couldn’t board the plane without proof of onward travel. Luckily, there was enough time to still buy a return ticket before the gates closed, and I was allowed to board the plane. Of course I bought a refundable ticket which I canceled as soon as I arrived in Colombia. Why? Because I had no idea when I'd be leaving Colombia, or if I'd fly back to the US from there. Most long-term travelers are familiar with this problem: we don't know how long we'll be in a place or where we'll go to next. So buying a return ticket is usually not an option. And imagine I had bought a non-refundable return ticket - I wouldn't have been able to spontaneously add Mexico to my itinerary like I did, or would've lost the money I paid for the ticket.

Since airlines seem to be getting much stricter about proof of onward travel, it's time to explore your options if you find yourself in a situation like me:

1) Use FlyOnward.com. This service was created by fellow nomads who were tired of dealing with the issue of having to purchase refundable tickets. They are pricey, and sometimes you might not have the funds to purchase one, especially if you are trying to enter a destination like Australia, which is expensive to get to. Enter FlyOnward: You simply use their service and 'rent' an onward ticket for $9.99. That way you can avoid charges of hundreds of dollars on your credit card.

2) Buy a refundable ticket. That's what I've been doing when I was asked to present a return ticket: I purchased a refundable ticket, either straight with an airline, or with Expedia, where you can cancel a flight free of charge within 24 hours. Just don't forget to cancel your ticket when you reach your destination!

3) This is something I probably shouldn't recommend but I know several people present their onward tickets every time this way: they simply amend an old flight confirmation, convert it into a PDF and present the 'ticket' at the check-in counter. Have I done this? I'd rather not comment on this ;-) And if you are going to give this method a try, I won't take any responsibility if you get caught!!
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