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London Pass v. Travelcard v. Oyster card?

London Pass v. Travelcard v. Oyster card?

Old Sep 17th, 2012, 10:06 AM
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This is a great thread. I am a little confused on one aspect of all of this still...

A Travelcard is a valid ticket for use with the 2FOR1 vouchers, however it must be purchased at a National Rail station in London as opposed to at Heathrow?

If I understand this correctly, the only pain for someone flying into Heathrow is that I won't be able to just buy by Travelcard at the airport if I want to take advantage of 2FOR1 specials?
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 11:37 AM
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southrebels...you basically have it although there are finer points involved. A travelcard gives you a specific period of validty for use within the chosen zones. London Underground issues paper travelcards for specific zones for one day. Hence at Heathrow you can buy on the day of arrival a one day zone 1-6 travelcard for use that day throughout zones 1-6 within the London area. It will be on paper but will not be VALUD FOR 2 FOR 1 USE. Or, leaving aside the 2 for 1's for just a second, your most likely alternative is to buy a 7 day zone 1 & 2 travelcard which will not be a paper ticket at all but will be electronically pinned to an oyster card plus enough what is called pay as yu go money to cover the fares from zone 6 where Heathrow is to the boundary of zone 2 where your oyster card becomes valid. To repeat and make it clear, this is not valid for the 2 for 1's. That's basically all you can do at Heathrow.

The 2 4 1's are sponsored by the national railways and their primary intent was to encourage British visitors to the capital by showing a valid national rail ticket. The complication is that the national railway companies are allowed to issue paper travelcards for the same validity as does tfl, the agency that runs London underground. Thus if you follow the first scenario above, you won't do 2 4 1's on the day of arrivals but sometime that day, you can stop by a nationbal rail office and purchase at a national rail ticket office a 7 day zone 1 & 2 travelcard starting the next day. Or a 1 day travel card starting the next day while continuing to use the Oyster card on which you might simply go for pay as you go at times other than a day you are doing a 2 4 1. While it sounds a bit complicated, it really isn't and many people handle the situation without too much trouble as long as they get the basics of just what ties into the 2 4 1's.
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 12:01 PM
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<i>If I understand this correctly, the only pain for someone flying into Heathrow is that I won't be able to just buy by Travelcard at the airport if I want to take advantage of 2FOR1 specials?</i>

As pointed out the offers are run by the companies that run the trains to encourage people to use the trains, the Travelcard is a loophole.

It does mean that if arriving and departing from Gatwick, Luton, Stansted & Southend you'll probably be using the train - these tickets will be valid for the offers. If you buy both the ticket for the journey into London and the journey from London then they are valid for the offers between the dates on the tickets - just avoid anything like an automatic ticket barrier when arriving in London. Exceptions are the Heathrow Express, Heathrow Connect & Eurostar for which tickets aren't valid for the offers.
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 12:24 PM
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Thank you guys! I have read, ad naseaum, about the difference between the Oyster PAYG and the Travelcard's. I agree with what many have said in some other threads that people are overthinking it (myself included). Our plan is to buy one day Travelcard's for zones 1 & 2 each of the two days we are in London. I anticipate we will be using the tube for more than what the max is so there is no real benefit for us. On top of that, I don't feel like the hassle of a refund is worth the dollor or two we may save using Oyster.

In any event, the plan is to just purchase a one way ticket on the tube from Heathrow to Waterloo. Once at Waterloo we will purchase a couple of one day zones 1 & 2 travel cards from the National Rail ticket office at Waterloo and we are good. Even though we are "wasting" a fare from Heathrow the difference is more than made up in the 2FOR1's.

As a sidenote, is there a diffinitive listing of National Rail locations available? I can't really find one on the National Rail website. They seem to only list the London terminals. I want to make sure that Waterloo is indeed an tube stop and a National Rail ticket location.
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 03:40 PM
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Yes - Waterloo has both a train station and a tube station. They are on different floors.

Same for other train/tube combo stations like Victoria, Kings Cross/St Pancras, London Bridge, Charing Cross, Liverpool Street, Paddington, Marylebone and several others.

If you have a tube map (or look at one on the TFL website) the tube stations w/ train stations attached (or vice versa) will have the National Rail logo which is sort of a Z w/ two lines across it.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 09:16 AM
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Here's a summary of the 2-for-2 coupons (Day's Out) that I posted awhile back - most of the info is probably still good, since it doesn't change much from year to year in my experience.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...pon-thread.cfm

SS
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 11:24 AM
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You may not be interested in the Oyster Card, but I was in London and found it saved me a couple of pounds just in one day. You can buy it on the spot, from a ticket window where you can ask questions. You put a 5 pound deposit for the card, and the smallest fare you can load onto it is 5 pounds.

I used my Oyster card just for one day, then the day we left I returned it to the ticket counter where I received back my 5 pound deposit plus the 1 pound left on the card. Pretty slick.
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Old Oct 7th, 2012, 01:04 AM
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I was in London for 10 days and the Oyster Card was invaluable. We picked ours up at Heathrow tube station when we arrived - quick, easy and convenient
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Old Oct 7th, 2012, 02:03 AM
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But may not have been the best option - or even the cheapest.
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Old Oct 15th, 2012, 01:53 PM
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We wound up buying day passes for the days we needed to use the tube and it worked out really well for us.
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