Can buying two one-way tickets save you money on flights?

Flying overseas can be expensive, but is the problem unique to Australia?

flight booking

Flying overseas can be expensive, but is the problem unique to Australia? Can you save money by buying a one-way ticket out of Australia and then buying your return ticket from your destination?

There are a few logistical problems with trying this approach to saving money when booking your flights.

In Australia, most domestic flights are the same price whether you purchase them as a return fare or as two one-way fares, although you can often get specials or cheaper prices for booking a return flight.

If you are travelling overseas, and you buy a one-way ticket leaving Australia, you need to realise the price per flight will usually be higher than if you had booked the same flight as part of a return fare.

You need to make sure that the savings you make by purchasing your return flight from overseas are enough to cover the extra you pay to leave Australia on a one-way flight (and then some).

If you do wish to purchase a one-way flight out of Australia and buy your return flight once you arrive at your destination, it might be worth trying to find someone in that country who can look up some specific fares for you. This way you can confirm that the savings you will make are worth the trouble.

By choosing not to book your return flight until you arrive at your destination, you may not be able to get a flight home as quickly as you had planned. This could mean that you have to pay more for food and accommodation than you expected, eating up any savings you may have made on your airline ticket.

The last, and probably most critical, problem with only purchasing a one-way flight out of Australia is that many countries will not let you enter unless you can provide documentation to prove that you will be leaving again within your visa’s validity period. It would be awful to arrive at your holiday destination, only to have to spend hours stuck in airport security or to be denied entry to the country altogether.

While it may seem like a good idea to try purchasing two one-way tickets, it may end up not being worth the hassle.

What do you think? Have you ever tried to book two one-way tickets instead of a return flight? Did you manage to save any money?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    20th Sep 2017
    We often find that the airlines will not allow us to board the plane in Australian without evidence of our return flight within the visa time period. We have to show our Permanent Resident Card from our destination country if we book a one way flight.
    20th Sep 2017
    Provided you use both legs inside 12 months then a return flight from say the Uk to Oz is much cheaper than purchasing an Oz to UK return. As you say single fares are expensive however so better to use miles or a combination thereof. I have been using European purchased returns which can be bought on line easily for 11 years and it has saved a lot, probably 30% on average
    Thai Traveller
    20th Sep 2017
    Certainly, the current situation for Thailand is that you cannot obtain a visa either on arrival or from the Embassy/Consulate unless you show your flight out of the country.
    Backpackers and others are often denied entry if they cannot show they have a reasonable amount of money available.
    Joy B
    20th Sep 2017
    I tried this a few years back when I was going to the US for 3 months but I was not allowed to board the plane let alone be checked in without a return ticket. This ended up costing me more in the long run.
    21st Sep 2017
    I couldn't handle the hassle or uncertainty

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