Buying One Way International Flights

Buying one way international flight tickets can be tricky nowadays. So you want to travel and see the world and you think, hey I want to go for longer than 9 months. Or there is this legitimate quandry. My mates are meeting me in Vietnam but they have yet to book their flights. Yep, so I don’t want to book yet either until I know when they are arriving.

What if I want some Flexibility?

What if I want flexibility to return, I’m not yet sure of my return date as its down the track? BAD LUCK! Yes you can change your ticket and pay hefty change fee’s. Yes you can cancel your ticket but will have to wait months until you receive a reduced refund.

Once upon a time ( no I’m not about to read you a bedtime story).  You could book an open return flight within 12 months. Nowadays, you have to know book your return date, otherwise you risk getting sent back home or even worse refused to board your flight!

Why can’t I book a one way flight if they are offered online?

Well that is a good question, one that I am still yet to find a legitimate and legal answer for. So, we inquired about round the world flights. Those departing from Australia and then open ending flights ex Europe to America. Stopping in Bali and then onward to home. Although, we wanted to stay in Europe for longer than 9 months. We were advised that you can only book up to 9 months in advance and you had to nominate return dates. WHAAAAT??

Travelling on one way flights internationally

When I worked in travel open ended tickets were allowed. And, bookings of up to 12 months return were also acceptable. Why would you need to book your return ticket you ask? Still a mystery to us, but, mainly because of border control. When you board a flight its up to the airline to ensure you are returning back to your country of origin. Not intending to stay illegally.  We did not get asked if we had a return ticket when boarding with Qantas. Mainly because Qantas check in now is all done via computer we think.

Better to be safe than sorry? Not willing to take the risk

A number of people advised that we would be stopped upon entry into England. And, we should have return tickets, and if not we may be sent home. That we may be questioned on our travels and how long we intended to stay. So, when we did arrive we were asked about our trip. We told them we were staying in Camden which we were.  And meeting with friends in London, also true. So best to have some plans on arrival at least proof of accommodation.

Be Prepared to answer any questions upon going through customs

But, we were not asked when we were going home, how long we were staying. Just what plans we had. However, we could have and people do get asked.  Questions via customs such as when they are returning home, dates and what the purpose of their stay is. Particularly, if you are under 35 and have the potential to work or have a working visa. You are most likely going to be asked if you have a return ticket and your means of supporting yourself.

Answer questions honestly

At customs we did not go into a spiel about us buying a campervan.  Nor, our intentions to travel for next 12 months. Had we, we could have spent hours at customs potentially being questioned by immigration. Showing them our finances, how we could support ourselves. How we intended to travel, where and when. As we are legally allowed to stay in Europe and travel if we have the means to. Keeping within the rules of the EU countries or independent countries.

Sticking to the rules

Not over staying your welcome basically. I have heard people stay longer in Europe and get away with it. We have a child so not willing to risk overstay. And we are not advocating to do so. It is your life so we will not tell you what you can and can’t do! Our intention is to stay less than the allowed 180 days in UK (Northern Ireland and Scotland) in 1 year. And, we intend to stay no longer than our 90 days in (180 days in Europe). There are many variables though. Stick around to find out the details below.

Staying within the legal visa allocations

Yes you could try to get away with overstay.  But,is it worth the hassle and the stress at customs? Probably not, maybe for some it is. There are so many options. You can stay as mentioned before for up to 180 in UK legally, this includes Northern Ireland and Scotland. You can stay in Croatia legally for 90 days. Montenegro for another 90 days, Cyprus for another 90 days. Morocco for another 90 days and Turkey for up to 30 days if you’re Australian, NZ, American and Canadian.

Schengens Visa and Bi-lateral Agreements

To find out more about Schengen Visa’s and length of stay, you can visit our blog here Check your visa restrictions and requirements with your local consulates or go directly to Schengen Visa. Another good idea is to check the countries you are travelling to individual consular websites. Email them with your query.

Check in with Consulars

Australia has Bi-Lateral agreements with many EU countries. If you are wishing to stay a little longer places like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, these countries allow some citizens to stay another 3 months longer on top of the 90 days in EU countries. You must however, check in with them upon arrival and negotiate these terms. Thereby after your stay you must exit the EU for another 180 days before re-entering. You cannot then go back to another EU country.

Back to One Way Flights

So why cant we fly one way if we do not know when we wish to return?

There are many reasons why we did not wish to book a return flight, here are some you may also be thinking:



  • I might change my mind and wish to travel a different leg home?
  • I do not wish to spend that much money on a return flight home when I am not sure of travel dates?
  • I am meeting up with friends in 10 months and have no idea where I wish to exit from?
  • I am a digital nomad, self funded employee, semi retired or retired traveller with no fixed plans?
  • I have decided to take a year long break from the busyness of life?
  • I simply don’t know my travel dates?
  • I don’t know my onward travel journey dates yet and wish not to pay for change fee’s
  • These are all valid reasons for not booking onward travel flights right?

So what can you do to ensure you don’t get questioned or refused entry on arrival

  • There is no assurance
  • Buy a return ticket and just know that you may have to pay change rates, or cancel fee’s
  • Have some idea of where you are staying and what you plan to do for the next couple of weeks, book these dates in. Have an address of where you are staying.
  • Book onward overland journey, this is not always satisfactory proof. But, if you are arriving into UK and book train travel onward to Italy, or Paris for example it may suffice. Depending on who you get at customs on the day I suppose.
  • Be prepared to be refused boarding your aircraft and have enough funds to buy a return ticket (sorry worse case scenario)
  • Arrive at the airport early and prepared with your credit card loaded in case of any delays. And in case you need to buy a return ticket there and then just to get on that plane
  • Make sure you are prepared.

If you plan on travelling for longer than 3 months. Be sure to keep copies of rental income, income invoices, pay slips, returns on investments etc. If you don’t have any means of proving you can support yourself and no return ticket you may need to seriously reconsider your trip.

If you are not certain when you are returning your options are:

  • Buy a return ticket but check with airlines the terms and conditions. Make sure you can change your airfares or at least get a refund. Refunds can take up to 3 months to be sent. Check the fine print or call your airline.
  • Buy a one way ticket and be prepared to answer any tricky questions on arrival and through customs. Make sure you know the rules and regulations, visa restrictions etc.
  • Know what visa you are visiting on. Or, if you don’t need a visa, make sure you know how long you can stay in countries without having to apply for one.
  • Lastly, you can also choose to buy a one ticket from a legitimate travel agency that is a ‘hold’ ticket. Its not a paid ticket, yet it’s real reservation.

We used to be able to reserve tickets and then pay for our tickets. You still can technically, but nowadays travel agencies make you pay full fares upfront. You cant hold a seat anymore like you used to unless you pay for it. So, I found this great alternative.  Keep on reading below.

Renting a ticket – or Pre-Book your Ticket as proof of return flights

There is a great solution, to travel with some degree of flexibility. For those of us that do not wish to commit to return dates if we do not yet know them. Who legally and legitimately do not wish to pay $1000’s of additional dollars on return flights if we do not have a firm plan yet. Thank god for these sweet people.

One Way Fly

These little beauties decided to start an agency just for people like you and me! They understand that in this day and age, the fast life or perhaps the slow life, we just want to take it all in. Not to have planned everything to the very last.  And, that somethings in life just can’t be thought through 9 months in advance. Not even 3 months in advance. Hell not even 3 weeks in advance. In a world of ever increasing stress and anxiety. Should we not have some level of freedom over our own travel plans for gods sakes!

Peace of mind

Provides the nomadic traveller with some skerrit of relif. You can purchase/rent/ pre-book your flights in advance. This is an awesome service. I was a bit dubious in the first instance. But, after having purchased our return flights was very relieved that I had. A simple, easy and efficient, quick transaction. Choosing a random return date, booking online our return tickets. We were sent our confirmation of return flights with Emirates within minutes.

Pre-Booked/Rent a Ticket

Not a fake booking by any means. But, you have pre-booked and reserved your flights, not paid for them in full is all. You get an email confirming your flights a booking number. You can even check with the airline and add your details etc, passports. Your address and full names. However, you do not receive an e-ticket. Because its not paid in full. Jump on board and check our onewayfly

Buying a One Way Ticket

One Way Return tickets are registered travel agency. You can read all about them at the link above. For as little as 30 AUD (price varies with currency or stop overs). You can book your return ticket. After 2 weeks this ticket (or pre booked ticket ) will expire unless paid for. There are other services similar to this one. Google is your best bet. But,I can highly recommend these guys! One Way Flight.

Wrapping Up This Blog

So, I guess the moral to this story is to be informed. Be prepared, make sure you know the risks you are taking. And, as I mentioned before, its not illegal to have a one way ticket only. They are available to buy after all. They are not always the cheapest option, they can end up being more expensive. However, if you are not sure of your return travel and plan on winging it then it can be better to buy a one way. Rather than forking out for a return and not using it, or having to refund it or cancel it.

Are you a Risk Taker? 

Not a big risk taker? take the safer option.  Rent a ticket and make sure you are adding dates that are realistic, or close to the time you think you may wish to travel home on. Do have somewhere to stay on your arrival to your destination, or ongoing travel booked for the first couple of weeks.

Thanks for reading this blog

Like this blog? please share any feedback or comments. Anything you wish to add or share I’m all ears. Thanks for reading and staying focused. And don’t forget to like us on facebook and instagram and follow us on You Tube. See links.

1 Comment

  1. ปั๊มไลค์

    June 6, 2020 at 6:13 pm

    Like!! Thank you for publishing this awesome article.


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