Travel Talk to me about Oyster Cards!


Back to reality
May 2, 2006
My sister and I are going to London in May and I am trying to get this part of our trip finalized/organized. I was in London about 5 years ago and I used a day card to get around, but I keep reading about Oyster Cards. I've done some searching through this forum and on google but am somewhat confused, and am hoping someone can help me out!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but, as a tourist, I can get a prepaid oyster card, correct? I am landing in Heathrow and am staying at a hotel near Victoria station, traveling from zone 6 to zone 1, so, is this ok? After we arrive in Victoria, I don't think we will travel elsewhere, just around zone 1. And from what I understand, these cards have a cap of 4 pounds per day, right? So no matter how much I travel, I will only be paying 4 pounds per day, right? Is there a student discount for these cards? And if I go through a travel agent here in the US, do you think I'd get a discount? Because for a 7 day travel pass for a student it's supposed to be 18 pounds, but thats only for travel through zone 1&2, I'd still have to pay for Heathrow, and we're not going to be there for 7 days, we're only going to be there for 5. Also, if I buy it now online/through a travel agent, I can use it in May, no problems right? If I have excess credit, can I get that refunded?

I'm sorry I have no many questions, it's just that the london transit site isn't very clear/helpful lol. TIA for helping me out!!!
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Oct 10, 2006
I bet you get several responses on Oyster Cards, especially from the London ladies. I can tell you, when our family went to London, I'd read about Oyster cards and figured I'd ask when we got there. We got our bags, went through customs and there was this booth selling various tickets, including for the tube. I ask about Oyster cards, he says how many in your group, I said three, and he sold us each an Oyster card for unlimited travel in all the zones for the entire week.

It seemed too easy. Our hotel was a block from the Earl's Court station - K&K Hotel George. We get on the tube with our luggage, get off at Earls Court station and walk a block away. That's all it took, used them everywhere all week! :smile:
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May 7, 2006
When you walk out of HEathrow towards the tube station there will be a customer service area to buy the Oyster Card. I believe you have to put at least 10 pounds on it (maybe 13 - 10 for travel and 3 for the card, which is refundable). And then, yes, it's a flat rate per day no matter how much you travel. At the end of your trip, just go back to any tube station and get your refund.

It's the easiest thing in the world! I LOVED it.


Jul 15, 2006
the cap is more like £5, but there is a cap. it might be £4.80 for zones 1 and 2, not exactly sure, i always get annoyed thinking i must have reached the cap and it keeps taking more money :Push: there is a student discount but you most likely won't be able to get it, it's really hard to get even if you're local, you have to either get a form from your university (nowhere else has the forms) and then send it in or do the application online using your student number (london universities), and the oyster with the discount facility on it takes about a week to arrive. i can't imagine it working if you're from another country though, you definitely can't just show up and give them your student ID or anything like that.

i don't think there is a minimum to load on the normal oyster when you buy it, but it does cost £3 to buy.


Back in 5 minutes..
Sep 15, 2006
Digby - I'm so jealous. London is a great time. I wish I could spit out all those transit card details from my mind but that was 2006!!! Have a great time!! I want to go back to London.... My relative no longer works there so not as much fun. :sad:


Back to reality
May 2, 2006
I LOVED London but the last time I was there was in 2004, I was there for a day and a half, and I was 18 and dumb! I only wanted to hang out with friends, we only went to the London Eye and Camden Markets! This time I'm going with my sister and doing things properly, there was soooo much that I missed that I regret not seeing. We will be there for 4 full days, this is why I wanted to know about the Oyster Cards, I plan on taking the tube around everywhere so that I can see everything!!!

carousel eyes

Dec 4, 2008
From the Transport For London site, in case you haven't seen it:

- Are available at adult-rate only
- Cost £2 each (ie a card with a £10 pay as you go balance will cost £12)
- Can be topped up with additional money to pay as you go at all standard outlets, including Tube stations, London Overground stations, Oyster Ticket Stops and London -Travel Information Centres
- Can be used as soon as you arrive in London
- Cannot be loaded with 7 Day Travelcards