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Help with London transport--oyster card vs travelcard

Help with London transport--oyster card vs travelcard

Old Dec 8th, 2023, 01:20 PM
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Help with London transport--oyster card vs travelcard

I am helping my daughter to plan for her London trip in May 2024. They will be in London for 6 days, arriving on the Eurostar from Amsterdam, after disembarking from a cruise. They will be staying in the Kings Cross area. Most of their travel around London will be to places in Zones 1-2. However, they do plan to go to Hampton Court Palace, which is in Zone 6, and then they will need to get to Heathrow on their last day. They plan to purchase oyster cards when they arrive, and will ask for the Young Visitor Discount to be applied to one of them for their 15-year old daughter. We *think* we understand how to do all of that.

Our main question is regarding the possible need for Travelcards in addition to oyster cards. It has been several years since I visited London, and at the time we were able to purchase a 7-day National Rail Travelcard for Zones1-2. This enabled us to use the underground, but because it was purchased at Victoria train station, we were also able to use it for the National Rail's Days Out Guide 2FOR1 discounts to Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, and more. We purchased oyster cards for use on trips beyond zones 1-2.

I have researched the topic, and it seems that perhaps the use of a Travelcard, as opposed to actual train tickets, no longer qualifies one for the Days Out discounts? The only recent thread I have located was someone who said that in order to qualify for the Days Out offers, they purchased rail tickets which they had no intention of using (cheapest ones available) in order to have them in hand if necessary for the Days Out vouchers to be good.

Our original plan was to arrive at St. Pancras, and for each of the adults to purchase 7-day travelcards from the rail station so they could use the Days Out discounts, and use them to travel in zones 1-2. Then to purchase an oyster card each of the 2 adults (with just enough credit for the trips beyond Zones 1-2). For the teen, we planned to purchase only an oyster card (with Young Visitor Discount) with enough credit for the entire stay in London, since she would not be part of the Days Out discounts.

Are we on the right track, or have things totally changed since my last trip? Thank you in advance for your help and advice.
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Old Dec 8th, 2023, 01:24 PM
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Help with London transport--oyster card vs travelcard

I am helping my daughter to plan for her London trip in May 2024. They will be in London for 6 days, arriving on the Eurostar from Amsterdam, after disembarking from a cruise. They will be staying in the Kings Cross area. Most of their travel around London will be to places in Zones 1-2. However, they do plan to go to Hampton Court Palace, which is in Zone 6, and then they will need to get to Heathrow on their last day. They plan to purchase oyster cards when they arrive, and will ask for the Young Visitor Discount to be applied to one of them for their 15-year old daughter. We *think* we understand how to do all of that.

Our main question is regarding the possible need for Travelcards in addition to oyster cards. It has been several years since I visited London, and at the time we were able to purchase a 7-day National Rail Travelcard for Zones1-2. This enabled us to use the underground, but because it was purchased at Victoria train station, we were also able to use it for the National Rail's Days Out Guide 2FOR1 discounts to Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, and more. We purchased oyster cards for use on trips beyond zones 1-2.

I have researched the topic, and it seems that perhaps the use of a Travelcard, as opposed to actual train tickets, no longer qualifies one for the Days Out discounts? The only recent thread I have located was someone who said that in order to qualify for the Days Out offers, they purchased rail tickets which they had no intention of using (cheapest ones available) in order to have them in hand if necessary for the Days Out vouchers to be good.

Our original plan was to arrive at St. Pancras, and for each of the adults to purchase 7-day travelcards from the rail station so they could use the Days Out discounts, and use them to travel in zones 1-2. Then to purchase an oyster card each of the 2 adults (with just enough credit for the trips beyond Zones 1-2). For the teen, we planned to purchase only an oyster card (with Young Visitor Discount) with enough credit for the entire stay in London, since she would not be part of the Days Out discounts.

Are we on the right track, or have things totally changed since my last trip? Thank you in advance for your help and advice.


Last edited by flagmom; Dec 8th, 2023 at 01:26 PM.
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Old Dec 8th, 2023, 01:33 PM
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I can't comment on possible discounts, but on our last trip to London (a week in October this year), we just used contact-less credit cards. Too easy! We made two trips to outer zones (Richmond, Wimbledon) and Piccadilly line for Heathrow. Not our first visit, so we weren't doing the "big" sights. Again, not sure about possible discounts to those.

The TFL app was mostly helpful, and you could do some dummy searches to check fares between destinations to get a sense of fares. FYI, some fares vary based on time of day.
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Old Dec 8th, 2023, 02:24 PM
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You already have a response on your duplicate thread.
Maybe the Moderator could delete this one?
In any event, it would help if nobody else answered on this thread.
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Old Dec 8th, 2023, 03:05 PM
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Here is the best explanation I've seen for the current rules/changes in the workings of the 2for1 scheme.

https://www.londontoolkit.com/whatto...html#-Overseas

(Using touchless will not get you any of the 2for1discounts)
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Old Dec 8th, 2023, 07:33 PM
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We have merged your two threads
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Old Dec 8th, 2023, 08:58 PM
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Thank you!
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Old Dec 8th, 2023, 09:54 PM
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Note that my comment about not answering on this thread was posted on the duplicate thread. Do answer here.
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Old Dec 8th, 2023, 10:37 PM
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Don't buy a travelcard or oyster; just use your contactless credit card to tap in and out. The system will charge you once a day, and will apply a cap when you get to the maximum for the day, 8,10 pounds at the moment. There's also a weekly cap. London travel cards have never worked for the 2for1 offers, you need rail ticckets for this. Check the link given for an explanation.
On Tripadvisor London forum there's an excellent explanation on how to to pay for London transport at the top of the forum.
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Old Dec 8th, 2023, 11:39 PM
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The problem with touchless is using a cc does not qualify for the Days Out 2for1's. Depending on what they want to visit 2 for1 could mean a big savings. IF they do buy 'throw away' cheap train tickets - they could then use either an Oyster or touchless credit card. (I personally prefer using an Oyster - I don't like having to have a credit card out in busy underground stations [or standing in a queue for a bus] . . . and make sure to use the same cc to tap out of the Tube.

Tower of London 33,60
Westminster Abbey 29
St Paul's 23
Hampton Court Palace 26,30
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Old Dec 9th, 2023, 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj
The problem with touchless is using a cc does not qualify for the Days Out 2for1's. Depending on what they want to visit 2 for1 could mean a big savings. IF they do buy 'throw away' cheap train tickets - they could then use either an Oyster or touchless credit card. (I personally prefer using an Oyster - I don't like having to have a credit card out in busy underground stations [or standing in a queue for a bus] . . . and make sure to use the same cc to tap out of the Tube.
Your thoughts on not using a credit card were reinforced for me last month- leaving a busy tube station, we spotted a credit card on the pavement. No doubt, dropped by a harried traveler. We handed it to a nearby policewoman but felt so bad for the poor commuter who lost it.
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Old Dec 9th, 2023, 06:41 AM
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Depending on the design of your wallet, you shouldn't need to take the card out of it. My pass certainly works through a layer of plastic.
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Old Dec 9th, 2023, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by PatrickLondon
Depending on the design of your wallet, you shouldn't need to take the card out of it. My pass certainly works through a layer of plastic.
A problem is that many if not most women will have their wallets/credit cards in a handbag, sometimes a large catchall handbag. So they would have to dig in there to find their wallet and hopefully it is thin enough for the card reader to 'see' the credit card. I assume if I lived in London I would work out a system to use the same cc when on TFL, and use touchless. But for visitors not used to the tube/buses, especially jetlagged visitors, I honestly think Oysters are better. I have my oyster in a plastic fold over cover and just carry it in the pocket of my trousers or coat. I'd much rather lose my OysterCard than a credit card - or worse yet the whole wallet.

I figure at some point the technology will make Oysters go away but for now I arrive at LHR or St Pancras or wherever, top up my old Oyster in about 10 seconds and am good to go.
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Old Dec 9th, 2023, 12:07 PM
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Wether you use an oyster or a cc for the underground, it has nothing to do with the 2for1 offers, for which you need a rail ticket.
The vast majority of locals use contactless credit cards. I have my card in a separate pouch clipped on my bag, don't need to take it out, just touch the card reader. You don't need to put money on it, it doesn't run out and it is capped at a maximum daily and weekly rate. Last year TFL said that an amount of 160 million pounds is left on inactive oyster cards. I just cannot see any advantage in using an Oyster card.
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Old Dec 10th, 2023, 05:13 AM
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Interesting and useful (to me anyway) thread. I leave for 8 nights in London in two days and still have some old Oyster cards. I was planning to use one of the fare machines to check what value is still left on one of them and top it up to use while I am in town. I was thinking of finally doing a visit to Hampton Court during this trip but not sure if I can go that far using an Oyster card. Comments helpful than TY in advance
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Old Dec 10th, 2023, 05:59 AM
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Re old Oyster cards, unless sentimentality attached to them (as I am) I would check value on the ticket machines and perhaps get the balance refunded - if it’s under 10, plus any original deposit.

If your Oyster balance is greater than 10, just use it for a day or two to bring it down to a refundable amount.

Re Hampton Court, it’s been years but I think you leave from Waterloo station. Can’t remembered if it’s tube or train.
Either way, you’re in for a marvelous visit.
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Old Dec 10th, 2023, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Dukey1
Interesting and useful (to me anyway) thread. I leave for 8 nights in London in two days and still have some old Oyster cards. I was planning to use one of the fare machines to check what value is still left on one of them and top it up to use while I am in town. I was thinking of finally doing a visit to Hampton Court during this trip but not sure if I can go that far using an Oyster card. Comments helpful than TY in advance
Bring them all back.. get your deposit back on those extra cards!
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Old Dec 10th, 2023, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by rialtogrl
Bring them all back.. get your deposit back on those extra cards!
tanks just how do I go about doing that? I can bring both of them with me. Do I have to go to some special place?
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Old Dec 10th, 2023, 10:56 AM
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"London travel cards have never worked for the 2for1 offers, you need rail tickets for this."

Does this mean what we did in 2013 would not work today? From my trip report ...

"Now that Kim has retired, he had time to be our expert “researcher” on this project. He explains, “Now, finally at Vauxhall, we each purchased a one-way tube ticket (4) to Victoria Station where we would attempt to pick up our Travelcards. The vender looked at us like we were crazy because no one pays full price for a Tube ticket; everyone uses a Travelcard or an Oyster Card (which he tried to sell us), but we were on a mission to the nearest National Rail ticket booth at Victoria Station. Once there, we handed over our passport-sized photos (two each that we had taken at home before we left) to the guy at the desk. He carefully cut one so it would fit perfectly on our Photocard, and we each also received our 7-Day Travelcard that would allow us to use the tube freely in London Zones 1 & 2 (where virtually everything you want to see in London is located). Total cost for this deal is only 30 each (well , it was in 2013), or what we called “The Bargain Of The Century.” Not only do you get to ride the tube for free for a week (and we rode it a lot), you also get 2-for-1 tickets at many of London’s attractions (stay tuned for these).”

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Old Dec 10th, 2023, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Dukey1
tanks just how do I go about doing that? I can bring both of them with me. Do I have to go to some special place?
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