Author: Bob Handford
There is no simple answer to the Oyster or Travelcard question – either could be the right product for your individual needs.
This blog post is aimed at the visitor to London, visiting for two weeks maximum. If you are a resident, the answer to this question will inevitably be Oyster Card.
Just follow this page through and you should be able to make an informed judgements on the best solution for you.
Do you have any children, under 18 years?
If yes, read the article linked below about obtaining half price or free child fares before you go any further and factor this into your Oyster v Travelcard decision.
I’m afraid child fares are needlessly complex.
Child Fares On London’s Public Transport
Are You Travelling In a Group Of 10 Or More?
If you are travelling around together in a group of 10 or more a Group Day Ticket will be cheaper than either Travelcard or Oyster Card
Is Sightseeing A Major Part Of Your Visit To London?
If you are visiting places like the Tower of London, Madame Tussauds etc there is a railways promotion that is available to people with Travelcards purchased from the railways that is not available to Oyster Card holders. The potential savings are substantial, but there are some tedious aspects too. You may well buy Travelcard purely on the basis of obtaining these savings on your sightseeing.
2 for 1 Admission Sightseeing Promotion – More Details
Are You Staying Less Than 5 Days?
And the child and 2 for 1 promotion issues (above) don’t sway you get an Oyster Card
If You Are Travelling By Public Transport In The Centre 5 Or More Days In Any 7 Days
Get a 7 day Zone 1/2 Travelcard. (though if you have children over 10 read the child fares section)
If you are not travelling 5 in any 7 days on London’s public transport get an Oyster Card
Heathrow Airport is in zone 6 of London’s transport system. All the hotels in Central London and nearly all attractions are in zone 1 or 2. (Notable exceptions are Hampton Court and Kew Gardens)
Do not get a 7 Day Travelcard for zones 1 to 6 just to cover the Underground transfers from Heathrow. Get a zone 1 to 2 7 Day Travelcard and pay for an extension fare for zones 3 to 6 to cover for the airport trips, you will save a lot of money this way. You cannot use Oyster or Travelcard on the Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect trains.
Luton, Gatwick & Stansted Airports
Neither Oyster or Travelcard go out to any of these airports.
Still Confused, Got Something You Want To Add?
Well just post it below. I’ll mormally answer within 24 hours.