Please welcome guest blogger Kit Whelan from www.seeknewtravel.com
A few days ago we were checking in for a flight to Barbados, when all of a sudden the desk clerk looked at her computer in confusion and walked over to speak to her supervisor. You don’t want this to happen.
Turns out this major airline wasn't going to let us go to Barbados on a one-way ticket. We HAD to have a return or onward ticket. After a few minutes arguing with the supervisor we determined that as long as we bought ANY onward ticket they’d check us in. So my travel partner whipped out his iPhone and purchased tickets on a Caribbean airline for a few weeks later. We got our boarding passes and were on our merry way.
This was a pretty minor inconvenience, but it could have been avoided. I'd read online that "all foreigners entering Barbados should be in possession of a return or onward ticket." It wasn't the clerk's fault, these are Barbadian rules. Many countries have this requirement, but I'd gotten away with ignoring it in the past.
Another common entry requirement is that you have proof of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay. I've never seen an immigration official request such proof, but if you don't have it you risk being refused entry and put on a plane back home. That nice vacation you booked? You might be kissing it goodbye.
In addition to passports and visas, many countries have other requirements. So how do you know what rules to follow? Unfortunately the State Department doesn't tend to include these things in their country profiles on travel.state.gov. But your guidebook almost certainly will. Not a guidebook person? Check out one of the major websites like lonelyplanet.com, they post entry requirements right there on every destination page.
You never know when entry rules are going to be enforced. But by following the rules you can at least save yourself some embarrassment at the airport, and maybe save your whole trip from being ruined. And you won't be me, stuck buying an expensive last-minute ticket on my iPhone.