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Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

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Photo by Michael Jordan
enjoying a meal at sunset,
Zangskar Valley, India

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Old 23 Jan 2003
jj jj is offline
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URGENT, advice needed

Hello all,
I'm planning on an SA - UK motorbike trip hopefully leaving on 16 Feb but I've run into an unexpected problem with booking the flight to Durban. Because I'm going overland back to England Ive got no need for a return ticket from SA. But because I've got a British passport I'm apparantly not allowed to simply buy a single and if I do I may be put straight back on a return flight once I get to SA. What do people generally do in this situation, should I buy a return ticket and then cancel the return - is that possible? Any help would be very much appreciated since I can't afford to waste money on a return ticket that I'm not going to use plus I'm running out of time to book. Cheers,

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Old 24 Jan 2003
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SOuth Africans coming over here on working holiday visas have the same problems, a lot of us have had to forfeit our return flights because they are only valid for a year and we spend longer than that away from home.
I think the best thing for you to do is accept that any form of travel is expensive and consider your return ticket as a 'get out' clause in case things go wrong when you're still in Southern Africa.

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Old 24 Jan 2003
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Buy your return ticket with a carrier that is a member of IATA (e.g. British Airways). It may cost you a little more that one with Airline X. If you don't use the return, you will get a refund from the carrier by sending the ticket to their head office. It's done all the time.
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Old 26 Jan 2003
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Some countries assume that you come as a "normal" tourist, i.e. enter, stay a short time and then leave the way you came. Because of this assumption, they might impose visa restrictions, i.e. they can ask you to prove you have a way to get out of the country before your visa expires. This is sometimes left to the discretion of customs, the ones that will let you into the country. So, they mostly assume you have a return flight ticket if you arrived by airplane. However, if you can prove another means to leave the country, you might be able to convince customs (e.g. an onward train or flight ticket. Imagine for example a RTW flight ticket).
As for the case of return tickets, they are usually cheaper and easier to book than one way tickets. That said, you can always "not show up" for your return flight, or cancel it. You might not get your money back. That depends on the type of ticket you buy. If you get a normal tourist style PAX return ticket, then you won't be refunded, and airlines don't like when the return portion is unused. The reason is because it'll be more difficult for them to fill your vacated seat, even though they still get paid.
As for IATA airlines, as far as I know all airlines are IATA, even charter airlines. IATA, among other things, regulates the price of international air fares, i.e. artificially keep them high. However, most of the time you won't be paying the full air fare anyway, because you get your ticket through a travel agent, who sells it to you at a discount, and receives a comission from the airline to make up the difference to the IATA published fare. This is a well known practice, but ailines don't publicize it, because due to IATA rules they are not allowed to sell tickets at a lower fare than the IATA fare. They don't. The travel agent does. Without this scheme, international air travel would have less passengers than it does.
Nelson Oliveira
RTW 2003-6
Around a Mote of Dust
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Old 27 Jan 2003
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Location: Samaipata / Bolivia
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to be sure to enter you should buy a return ticket, I did once with another airline a full refundable ticket and I got all the money back.

but twice I showed the bikes airfreight bill and explained that I will travel by bike around the world and I leave the country overland - a full passport helped as well - and of course you should be shaved and polite to the custom officer/ check in staff.

have fun MIKA

rtw since 1999

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