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Please suffer one more London travelcard question

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DH and I are flying to London this coming Friday night, our first visit to the UK. We are spending one night in London before taking the train from Paddington to Bath on Sunday afternoon to commence a two week Rick Steves' tour (Best of Britain -- Bath, Cotswolds, Wales, Lake District, York, and then back to London). I have rented an apartment in Kensington for five days post tour, for a total of seven nights in London, before returning to Chicago on May 14.

Since I purchased the train tickets to Bath on First Great Western (found that pre-purchase was much cheaper), I have been receiving regular promo emails from them, pitching 2for1 (and other) deals via the Days Out Guide. I found this past weekend that I could create an account and then print out vouchers for all manner of attractions, tours, restaurants... While the form requires the date of the visit and the train station one is departing from, the vouchers themselves are generic, with no dates or locations appearing on them, just expiration and blackout dates. I understand that these vouchers are to be presented with a train ticket valid on the date of the visit to get the deal.

At the same time, I am trying to figure out the most economical way to travel during our seven days in London at the end of and post-tour, and that would seem to be a 7-day travelcard for each of us, for zones 1-2, which cost £32.10 each (I believe), or perhaps zones 1-3 for £37.70.

So, now the questions (I apologize in advance if I just haven't searched the forums or the pertinent websites well enough to figure this out on my own):

1. 7-day travel card can either be "housed" on an Oyster card bought in a tube station (which has a £3 administrative fee if turned back in within a month) or on a paper card issued at a national rail station (no fee, but need passport-sized photo)? But otherwise the two "versions" work the same way, are valid on the same modes of transport, cover the same areas, etc? Zones 1-2 are probably enough?

2. Are the 7-days comprised of seven calendar days (like, I first use it at 2 PM on a Sunday and then it's good through midnight the next Saturday), or is it seven 24-hour periods (first use it at 2 PM Sunday and it's good until the following Sunday at 1:59 PM)? I've got return tickets on the Heathrow Express, but will need one last tube ride from the apartment to Paddington on the morning we leave...

3. Oyster card can be loaded with travelcard and some PAYG £ to cover trips outside of zones 1-2 (like Hampton Court)? This is not possible with a paper, rail-issued travel card? If not, what is best method to cover trips outside of zones 1-2 with paper card? Buy a separate ticket? Or is there some way to do an add-on for the part of the trip in zones 3-5 not covered by the travelcard?

4. Not wanting to "scam" the system, but still wanting to be a smart little tourist, am I correct in thinking that we could use one (or more) of those generic vouchers from the Days Out Guide at any time during the seven-day period covered by the rail-issued paper travelcard? Or, does one need an actual rail ticket for the specific date of the visit?

5. If no. 4 doesn't work, is there any reason for week-long tourists like us to get a paper travelcard instead of an Oyster, except to avoid the £3 administrative fee (unless the paper one has a fee, too, that I've missed)?

Thanks very much!

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