Travis and I are planning a trip to London, but we will only be there for two nights. Since we will be there for a short amount of time, we plan on using public transport to get around the city faster. That’s why we’ve ordered the Visitor Oyster Card, which is a pay as you go smart card that can be used in place of a paper ticket for any mode of public transportation (bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, Tfl Rail, most National Rail services in London and River Bus services (MBNA Thames Clippers)). To order your own, go to visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk to have it delivered to your home address before heading off to London.
I ordered our cards, and loaded £15 on each to cover the two days. If we run out of credit, we can top up at the Oyster Ticket Shop or Tube station ticket machine. If we have credit left over, we’ll use it on our next trip to London since our funds never expire. But if you aren’t planning on returning to London ever again, you can give your card to a friend who is visiting London, or receive a refund for any unused credit up to £10.
Why is ordering the Visitors Oyster Card is a no-brainer for anyone visiting London?
- Pay as you go fares are cheaper than paper tickets (£1.50 versus £2.60 for Trams).
- Daily capping: You’ll never be charged more than £6.50 in a single day, and you can travel as much as you like. For buses, the daily cap is £4.50, and a single fare is £1.50. If you make 3 single trips in one day (£4.50 total), your 4th and all other bus trips you make until 4:30 am the next morning are free.
- There are also special offers and discounts at various businesses around London like:
- Free alcoholic beverages with dinner
- Free starter or desert with dinner
- 2-for-1 museum entrees
- 2-for-1 theatre tickets
- 10% discount on Thames Clippers river buses
- 26% discount on Emirates Air Line cable car
I also downloaded the Citymapper app. This app works similarly to Google Maps, and easily tells me where the nearest public transport stop is, when the next bus is coming, and the cost. It also provides the distance, time, and directions to walk or cycle to the destination.
We like the Oyster Card because it saves us time and money, which is essential when traveling for such a short period of time. Having the Citymapper app will make using public transport in London stress-free.