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Oyster Card vs Oyster Card Tourist version

Oyster Card vs Oyster Card Tourist version

Dec 29th, 2014, 12:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 251
Oyster Card vs Oyster Card Tourist version

My son will be studying in London starting in January 2015. He will need an Oyster Card. After some research, there is the Oyster Card (blue ish in color) and the Oyster Card Tourist version (Flag motif). He can purchase the tourist version prior to leaving the USA. Is there any difference between the two cards? If he doesn't get a tourist version would he have to apply for an Oyster Card once he gets to London and how long would it take for him to have it in his hands (is this something for which he applies and waits for it to arrive via mail or is it an instant in-hand card once he leaves a kisosk)?

Other than the steep shipping cost ($19) in the USA (I believe it is generated in Canada) both cards seem to do the same thing -- at the same transit price. Is the tourist Oyster just as easy to top up as the regular Oyster card?

Please advise --- time is ticking he leaves mid January. Thanks!
moo is offline  
Dec 29th, 2014, 12:59 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,284
>> If he doesn't get a tourist version would he have to apply for an Oyster Card once he gets to London and how long would it take for him to have it in his hands<<

One doesn't need to 'apply for an Oyster. You walk up to a ticket machine or a ticket window, pay yer ££ and get the Oyster in your hands in a couple of seconds.

No need for him to purchase one in advance.
janisj is online now  
Dec 29th, 2014, 01:03 PM
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 720
It's called a "Visitor Oyster card" not "Oystercard tourist version".

If he has a contactless debit or credit card then he could use that instead - though if he's staying more than a few days it's likely that putting a Travelcard on the Oyster card will work out cheaper.

dotheboyshall is offline  
Dec 29th, 2014, 01:30 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,532
Many, maybe most, tourists from the US do not have a chip-and-pin card and can't make "contactless" purchases. Sorting out directly purchased Oyster is this post's answer.
Most Canadians do have chip cards. We call the tap function just that, "tap", rather than contactless.
However, most of us also face a foreign-transaction fee of more than a pound for each purchase, making individual Tube trips very costly. Back to the Oyster for me.
Southam is offline  
Dec 29th, 2014, 02:50 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,313
There is an 18+ student Oyster card which is less expensive.
mjs is offline  
Dec 30th, 2014, 12:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,718
The question is, would the additional promotional offers on the visitor Oyster compensate for the additional cost of (a) postage (b) having pay-as-you-go money on the Oyster, as opposed to the various local options for travelcards and student rates. For someone who's going to stay a while, as I assume a student would be, it would all depend whether they'd be likely to visit those attractions or restaurants, and whether they'd get cheaper/better options as a student anyway. My instinctive prejudice is that there's no great advantage, as the kind of places that sign up for such promotions are rarely that much of a bargain at any price - but it is a prejudice.

Over to your son, perhaps, to sit down with TFL's website, and any information his university/college is offering about student travel and other discounts, to work out what would best suit him.

PatrickLondon is offline  

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