El Salvador / Guatemala / Midlife crisis? Not necessarily! / Nicaragua / Traveling

My map with squiggly lines is not proof of onward travel

It seems that there is this pesky thing that airlines require before they will take you to another country.  It’s called “proof of onward travel.”  And I ain’t got it. My beautiful map with my itinerary doesn’t count. The fact that people are trying to leave Guatemala, El Salvador or Nicaragua to go to where I am coming from, also isn’t proof that I wouldn’t try to stay.  Apparently, I need a bona fide ticket out of Guatemala in order to get in. So, rather than play around with booking a “refundable” ticket home and then canceling it (and likely waiting weeks to get a refund) tonight I attempted to purchase an e-ticket from the well known Hedman Alas bus company.  Rhi and I are leaving Guatemala on June 20 to begin our southward adventure in Honduras so it’s the perfect proof of onward travel! Unfortunately for me, the bus website is entirely in Spanish.  Fortunately, I was able to figure out which ticket I needed, for which day, and even got to the section to fill out the e-form to buy it.  But, I hit a snag when it said the passport expiration date that I entered was not valid.  I know it is, so it has to be a glitch in their system.  I found a “Contactenos” button and it gave me a bunch of phone numbers.  But, then I found an email address to, I think, ask questions! Hooray!

I decided that it would be rude to email them in English since their website was entirely in Spanish.  I really need someone to get back to me tomorrow a.m. so I made my first attempt at communicating in the very rudimentary Spanish that I’ve been trying to learn with the Duolingo app.

Email to Hedman Alas bus company

I’m pretty sure (but not positive!) that I wrote:

Hello.  I need two bus tickets rapidly

Hello.  I speak Spanish a little, but very badly.  I am sorry.  I need two bus tickets from Antigua to Copan June 20.  I need to have on Saturday (tomorrow).

Please you write in English to me?

Thank you,


I hope they write back despite my caveman like Spanish! I’ll let you know!


Audrey – who is thinking it might be a good idea to just get one of those refundable airline tickets!

UPDATE: The bus company did write back the next morning (in English!) and I was able to buy two tickets via email. They also sent me the confirmation and pictures of the tickets. At the airport ticket counter I was asked if I had a return flight. I was about to show her my bus ticket when the other employee said proof of onward travel wasn’t necessary for Guatemala. Oh well! Better safe than sorry!

SECOND UPDATE: I guess it all depends on the ticket agent you get! Rhiannon ended up having to battle with Spirit in New York to let her get on the plane to Guatemala. Luckily she had the bus ticket and a flight out of Costa Rica booked and they finally let her go.

5 thoughts on “My map with squiggly lines is not proof of onward travel

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