I am struggling with which type of transportation card to buy when I get to London. i have read as much as I can on the options and I am still sort of confused. I will arrive in London on a Saturday morning and leave Sunday afternoon. While there, I will want to use the tube and/or buses. Then, two weeks later I will be back in London on a Thursday afternoon, leaving on a Sunday morning, again traveling around a lot, seeing the sites and enjoying everything I can. The only time I will be outside zones 1 and 2 is going from and to Heathrow. What's the best option(s) for me?
I would get a one day travelcard for the days you will be in London. Look on the right side on this link and you will see the different choices: http://visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk/travelcards/1-day/product/day-anytime-travelcard.html (You don't have to buy it online; just wait till you get to London.)
For the amount of time you will be there, I would suggest you get an Oyster card with about 20- 25GPB of PAYG when you arrive Saturday. Keep the card and use it when you return two weeks later. You can add more money if you need to, and when you leave, you can get a refund of the deposit, 5GBP, plus whatever PAYG that remains.
If "I" is actually "we", you may be interested in the 2 for 1 admission offers, available when you buy a PAPER TRAVELCARD from a NATIONAL RAIL station.
What does GPB mean? Is that British Pounds? Is PAYG "Pay as You Go"? What is the difference? Don't you just put a value (in pounds) on the Oyster Card and use it up bit by bit? At some point you would likely need to add more pounds to it. Is that the Pay as you Go part? Sorry to be so slow on this but it has been a LONG time since I used an underground on my own! Ann
Yes GBP means pounds. And yes PAYG is Pay as You Go. And yes, you can top off your Oyster card with pounds whenever you like.
"What does GPB mean? Is that British Pounds?"
Yes, along with other names, quid and pounds sterling.
"At some point you would likely need to add more pounds to it. Is that the Pay as you Go part? Sorry to be so slow on this but it has been a LONG time since I used an underground on my own!"
Think of the oyster card as a Rechargeable credit card. When you get low on funds on the Oyster Card, you can add money to it using either the person behind the booth, or use one of the machines that look sort of like an ATM. If i remember correctly (iirc) the machines have a large yellow circle (scanner) on the front to read the oyster card. just note that your American credit card won't work in the machines.
You can google such terms too. I know its a PIA (Pain in the tush) but it happens.
some of my first post/replies i used some acronyms and i was quickly put in my place for doing so.
If you're going to make a habit of traveling, you should realize that they don't speak/do American over there. There will be several/many different forms of currency and they don't call them "dollars" as in USD (United States Dollars) since there are "Australian Dollars" and some others. also the "$" sign that is commonly used here isn't used overthere since it associated with the USD. again you can google it or look at some of the on line currency converters.
Travel books will/may also point out these local things too.
Just an fyi (for your information), i had to learn the hard way on my first trip to Europe all before the internet was out there. And i didn't have any book to read either and had no choice since it was for work. No travel, no work, no pay.