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Oyster card

We will be in London in April and from what I have read we should buy the Oyster card. In reading about them I have seen Oyster card and Visiting Oyster card. Is there any difference? I have also read that you can order them online before traveling. Would that be advisable or just wait until we arrrive at Heathrow? Thanks!

Posted by
7340 posts

We just got regular Oyster cards from a machine at the airport underground station. We turned them in at the same place for a refund of the remaining balance. They are used everyday by the people who live there, so its not something unusual.

Posted by
2525 posts

And you can always hold on to your card for your (or a friend/relative's) next trip. We leave with enough on there to get in town from Heathrow at the off-peak rate, so we (or whoever borrows them) do not have to top it off immediately.

Posted by
3493 posts

Visitor Oyster has several restrictions on it the regular one does not.

Mainly, you can cash out your regular Oyster when leaving and get all the remaining funds plus the £5 deposit back from a ticket machine in the Tube (provided you made all payment for it from the same type or source of funds, such as all cash or all credit on the exact same card). Visitor card offers no refund of any type. Of course with either type the money you put in is good forever so you can save the card for your next trip.

Second, you can add Travel Cards to the regular Oyster but not the visitor one. Sometimes, the Travel Cards can save you money over the Oyster discount.

Third, if you order for delivery there will be additional fees charged. Since it is so easy to just get an Oyster on arrival, why waste money on delivery.

Posted by
1280 posts

Capital One now has contactless Visa cards. There is no need to buy the visitor Oyster card, buying a regular Oyster is as simple as buying a pop from a vending machine.

Posted by
305 posts

If I travel from Heathrow into London does that count towards my daily cap or will I be charged more with my travel within zone 1?

Posted by
29223 posts

Heathrow is in Zone 6 so your daily cap will be based on a Zone 1 - 6 cap.

Either use a contactless card for the Heathrow trip or use the (slow) buses all the way to avoid setting a high cap for the day. Each day the cap is for all the zones you have used it in.