A few years ago, I published a Financial Travel Tip about Providing Onward Travel Tickets. In it, I detailed some of the hassles I’ve had at airports and immigration desks, in some cases not even being allowed to check in for my flight because I didn’t have an onward ticket. Such are the woes of traveling the world on one-way tickets, not knowing the departure date or next destination.This freedom of agenda is a gift for the lifestyle traveler, but a curse when facing airline check-in agents and immigration personnel.
Since then, I’ve had even more hassles, and also come up with a few more strategies to get around the onward ticket requirement. One of these strategies has been made possible by a new influx of services that provide “rentable” onward tickets. Here’s the scoop:
Fly Onward was the first to make an entrance on the onward ticket scene. They provide you with a perfectly legitimate flight ticket that lasts for the duration of your journey (long enough to get you through airport check-in and immigration on arrival).
Once you order your ticket, they purchase a fully-refundable flight out of the country on your behalf (and send it to you within three hours), and they cancel it 24 or 48 hours later (depending on the option you choose). This saves you the hassle of buying and cancelling a ticket yourself (which I’ve also had trouble with in the past).
They charge $10 for a 24-hour ticket, and $17 for a 48-hour ticket.
I like that they have the 48-hour option, since some international journeys are longer than 24 hours. They also have an option that allows you to get your onward ticket later (for an extra $2), which is terrific, since we can’t always order and print an onward ticket right before hitting the airport. Lastly, they have an option for you to choose the destination of your onward ticket (normally they just choose a random destination), for an extra $10.
I used Fly Onward before, and I would use them again. Having said that, I did have a slight hiccup with the ticket they sent me, and many urgent email requests for help were completely ignored. Luckily the immigration agent didn’t look too closely at it and I’m here to tell the story.
Best Onward Ticket
Best Onward Ticket was the next to hit the scene. I like that they provide a 48-hour ticket for just $8. And they charge only $1 extra if you want to order your onward ticket in advance.
(Update June 2017): I used Best Onward Ticket for my trip to Japan, and it worked a charm! It’s a very simple website without much info, but I can attest to the fact that it works just fine).
Worth mentioning (but possibly not worth using), is Smart Traveller, which provides an onward ticket for $7. However the website is really simplistic and provides very little information. For example, they don’t say how long your onward ticket will last (24 hours? 48 hours?) and the order form doesn’t instil confidence. Maybe at the time of writing this post, they are still building their platform.
Of the sites listed above, Fly Onward has the most information about the process and seems the most “legit”. But they also charge the most (and I had a bad customer service experience that I hope was an anomaly for them). I’m curious to try my luck with Best Onward Ticket the next time I fly. And unless Smart Traveller gets a better website, I plan to steer clear of them.
If you have experience with any of the above (or other) “rentable” onward ticket agencies, let us know in the comments!
Other Onward Ticket Strategies
For some extra strategies to get around the onward ticket requirement, check out this post I wrote for Credit Walk: 9 Options for Providing Proof of Onward Travel.