Proof of onward travel: 5 ways to prevent problems with a one-way ticket

Are you planning to travel the world on a one-way ticket? Great idea! This might seem like the best way to travel if you’re a little flexible and like your freedom. But here’s the deal: you might be at risk of not even leaving your airport of origin because you’re not able to show proof of onward travel. Do you want to book a one-way ticket without any issues? Read along for our onward ticket solutions!

Let’s say you want to travel the world and because you want to experience ultimate freedom, you decide to just buy a one-way ticket to your first destination and you’ll decide what to do next once you feel like leaving… Sounds like a dream, right? Unfortunately, this way of traveling is getting harder and harder these days. Luckily, it is NOT impossible (we did it too!), if you take the right precautions.

Why do I need proof of onward travel?

A lot of people don’t understand why they need an onward ticket to even leave their country of origin. And I get it. You’re finally going on a big trip and you want to be able to spend your time any way you want it. Am I right?

Fact is, the airline could refuse to board you without an onward ticket. They have several reasons why they could do that. Most importantly: the country you’re visiting could deny you access, which means they’re not going to let you into their country. If that happens, it’s the airlines’ responsibility to fly you back to wherever you came from without charging you for it. Besides that, they can get a pretty hefty fine for not screening you properly.

That’s why the person behind the check-in desk could ask for proof of onward travel and give you a hard time for traveling without a flight out of the country. They don’t always ask for an onward ticket, but if they do and you cannot provide any, it will be you who suffers the consequences.

How to get proof of onward travel

A very simple option: get a visa

Before you’re freaking out, there’s a very easy fix that will make it far less likely you’ll get banned from your flight: just get a visa for your destination before leaving!

When we left on our world trip with just a one-way ticket to Nepal, the woman behind the check-in desk did ask for our proof of onward travel. The fact that we already had a 90-day visa for Nepal in our passport saved us a lot of trouble and she checked us in without further questions asked.

If you cannot get a visa beforehand or for some reason don’t want to, there are some other options to provide proof of onward travel, without limiting yourself to a certain travel plan.

1. Book an extra one-way ticket and cancel it

One of the safest ways to prevent problems at check-in, is by actually buying a ticket out of the country you’re visiting. If you have no intention of actually getting on that flight, make sure you book this extra ticket somewhere that lets you cancel it without cost. It goes without saying that you only cancel the flight once you’re past

Which airlines let me cancel my onward ticket?

There’re a number of airlines that will let you cancel a ticket within a certain amount of time from booking it (usually 24 or 48 hours). Like Lufthansa, KLM, WOW-air, British Airways, EasyJet, Emirates, Thai Airways, etc. Make sure to check their terms, because sometimes you’ll have to purchase a more expensive ticket or you can’t get a refund for their booking fee.

Pro tip: Thai Airways has a great option that will cancel your tickets automatically after 24 hours. Just select the option ‘Pay later’, and just don’t pay.

Another option is to look for refundable flights on (this only works on the .com version of their website!). Use the settings in the screenshot below to only see flights that are refundable within 24 hours. On this blog, you’ll find a very comprehensive manual on how to use this.

Expedia flight cancellation

2. ‘Rent’ a ticket

A save and secure way is ‘renting’ a plane ticket. You’ll pay a small amount of money for this, often somewhere between ten to twenty dollar and in return, you’ll get a real ticket. You don’t have to do anything, as the company where you rented the ticket will make sure it gets canceled in time.

With this option, there’re no risks for you and you actually get a real proof of onward travel. There are multiple websites offering this service, but I’d recommend using or The last one offers tickets that are valid for 14 days. Which is perfect if you have a flight that takes more than 24 hours. Their tickets are a bit more expensive though.

3. Create a fake flight ticket

First of all: this isn’t the most legal option in this blog. But there are plenty of people who create their own return ticket. Be warned: if you get caught, you could get into some serious trouble. Especially if you show your fake flight ticket to the customs staff at your destination. This is illegal and could even mean time in prison if you get caught.

If you fancy taking your chances, you can create your own fake flight ticket using this website. Again: I strongly advise against doing this.

Tips for using a fake flight generator

If you’re set on using this method, take these tips into account when creating your ticket with a fake flight generator:

  • Never use the same airline for your fake flight ticket. They can easily check it’s validity at the check-in counter.
  • Always use actual flight data. Go check out Skyscanner, Kayak or any other tool to make sure you use correct information.
  • Never fly back to the country you came from. This will raise suspicion as it is often cheaper to book a return ticket with the same airline.

If you’re dead set on using a fake flight ticket, be my guest. But do take these tips into account.

4. Buy a plane ticket

Another very safe option is to just book a very cheap plane ticket out of the country. Especially if you’re traveling in Asia, it is very cheap to just buy a ticket to a neighboring country. It’s up to you if you actually want to use that ticket once the time has come. Who knows, you might even fancy a trip to another country!

Can’t I just buy a bus or a train ticket?

Sometimes, a bus or a train ticket can serve as proof of onward travel. And as they’re often much cheaper than a plane ticket it’s not the worst idea. But do keep in mind: some airlines only accept plane tickets out of the country. How eco-friendly of them…

Met de trein op wereldreis

5. Do nothing

Wait, what? Yes, you could just wait and see if you’re asked about anything when you check-in or drop your luggage. It may seem like a risk, but the truth is, they don’t always ask you to show your proof of onward flight. If you plan on doing this, do make sure you’re at the airport well before your flight leaves. In case you do run into problems, you have some time to try one of the other options in this blog and make sure you actually have an onward or return ticket.

For which countries do I need proof of onward travel?

This is a hard question because this rule actually applies to all countries. But that doesn’t mean every country is as strict about it. But there are some countries that will pretty much always ask you for an onward ticket:

  • New Zealand
  • United States
  • Indonesia
  • Costa Rica
  • Philipines
  • Brazil
  • Peru

If you travel to one of these countries, make sure you’re able to show your proof of onward travel as you’re pretty much guaranteed they will ask you about it.

Did you ever have any troubles with a one-way plane ticket? What were your onward travel solutions? Share them in the comments!


5 reacties

  1. I had 3 times the problem this year . I used that website where you can buy real onward ticket for really cheap https:// We will have to check that out next time

  2. I am a TEFL teacher. Recently, I have taught in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile. The only time I had an issue was when I went to Mexico on Delta airlines in 2003. They were not going to let me board because I didn’t have a return ticket. I have heard others have had similar problems with Delta. I told them I was planning to leave by bus, and after much arguing, they let me go. I had no trouble in Colombia or in Peru. I didn’t have a visa when I entered either place. I guess they argued with me a little in Peru, but they let me in. I entered Chile in a bus, so there wasn’t even a question.

  3. > Pro tip: Thai Airways has a great option that will cancel your tickets automatically after 24 hours. Just select the option ‘Pay later’, and just don’t pay.

    I don’t know if they offer this anymore, I just tried to book a ticket with Thai Airways – they give me the option to hold the reservation for 72 hours, for a fee of MYR 47. But there’s no cost-free “pay later” option.

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