There are all kinds of reasons for the traveler to take one way flights. You don’t know when you’ll come back, if you’ll come back or you might just want to continue your journey on to nearby destinations. One way tickets are never half the price, though, more like 65-80% of the return ticket and so, whilst it keeps you flexible, it’s not the most economical way to travel.
Travel agencies, flight companies and immigration across the world often freak at the idea of a one way flight though. It’s breaking the rules. You’re supposed to go abroad, get your taste of foreign culture and then return to work 40 hours a week, watching the clock from 9 to 5.
In fact, if you even try to buy a one way ticket the travel agency may be nervous about selling it to you. Then when you arrive at the airport, the flight company might not want to let you get on board – they’re nervous that you’ll be refused entry and they’ll have to bear the cost of bringing you back. The easy way round this is to:
– Have a good story as to why you’re not coming back. You could show proof of employment in the country you’re going to, onward travel tickets or just stacks of cash.
– Offer to sign the form that the flight carrier keeps in their bottom drawer which declares that you take full responsibility of the consequences should immigration in the destination country refuse you entry. They may not offer this to you but they all have the option and it’s your right to make them produce it.
– or simplest of all, book a full refundable ticket out of the country and cancel it as soon as you’re through immigration.
There are some countries (South Korea, Japan, Australia, the US) which demand a return ticket before they let you in. In fact, travel agencies may point blank refuse to sell you a one way ticket to somewhere like the US unless you can show evidence of say, a Greyhound bus ticket to Mexico.
With other countries if you are able to demonstrate that you have plenty of money to buy your way out of there they’ll probably let you in. In fact, some travelers go to the lengths of declaring their traveler’s checks lost, replacing them and then using the lost set for years afterwards to prove their solvency.
Remember also that officials are suckers for bits of paper – see the letter scam in the Immigration section.