The London Travelcard is a paper ticket that will save you money when you travel around London. You will need to compare it to the Oyster Card to see which card is better suited for your travel needs around the city. 

This card has a magnetic strip that is valid for either 1 or 7 days. You will not have to pay a deposit for it, and you cannot add credit to it. You can travel as often as you like on bus, London Tube, tram, DLR (Docklands Light Railway), London Overground and National Rail Services as long as you stay within the travel zones.

London is split into 9 travel zones and depending upon where you want to travel and which zones they are in, will depend on how much your card will cost. Zones 1 and 2 are in Central London with Zones 6 - 9, being in the more outer regions of the capital.

These cards can be purchased at the tube stations from machines, ticket kiosks and on mainline trains, but you must make sure you buy the right ticket for your travel needs to avoid a fine.

Some examples of what you might expect to pay for 2013 are:

Off-Peak One Day cards are valid from 9:30 a.m. Monday to Friday, and all day weekends and public holidays (GB pounds are rounded to U.S. Dollars)

  • Zones 1 & 2 - adult - 7.30 GB pounds ($11)
  • Zones 1 - 4 - adult - 8.00 GB pounds ($12)
  • Zones 1 - 6 - adult - 8.90 GB pounds ($13)
  • Zones 1 - 9 - adult - 11.60 GB pounds ($17)

Peak One Day cards are valid throughout the whole day for 2013:

  • Zones 1 & 2 - adult - 8.80 GB pounds ($13)
  • Zones 1 - 4 - adult - 11.00 GB pounds ($16)
  • Zones 1 - 6 - adult - 16.40 GB pounds ($24.00)
  • Zones 1 - 9 - adult - 19.60 GB pounds ($29.00)

Top Tips

  • Children under 16 travel free with an accompanying adult.
  • There is also another advantage to using this card. This is the special promotion run by the railways for visitors to London. They offer a 2 for 1 deal on many of the top attractions such as Madame Tussauds, The Tower of London and sometimes the London Eye, on the presentation of a special voucher along with your Travelcard.
  • You will probably find the Travelcard more convenient than an Oyster Card if you have children under 16 traveling with you, as you will need to get an Oyster photo ID card in order to obtain child fares for your 11 - 15 year olds. Under 11's do not need a photo ID, but you will have to get a guard to let you through a side gate at Underground stations.

The Travelcard is a better value for a single day's travel around London, but Oyster cards will be more cost effective for longer stays for adults who will be in London up to but less than 5 days. As a general rule of thumb, if you are traveling 5 or more days in London, then a 7-day Travelcard is better value than a pay-as-you-go Oyster Card. Look at all of the variables (if you have children with you, etc.) to work out the best deal for your travel and stay in London. Talk to your concierge if you are in doubt.

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