I'm thinking of purchasing an OYSTER CARD in order to get into London (King's Cross). After that, I was thinking of purchasing a 7DAY Travel Card (Zone 1 & 2) to use for my general sightseeing. I will then use the OYSTER CARD again for a return trip to Watford Junction, Richmond, and the return trip to Heathrow. Is this a good plan?

Also, there are three of us travelling. Do we need three OYSTER CARDS or can we share on one card?

  • So.....if I add my 7 day travel pass ONTO my Oyster Card, does that card function as an Oyster Card or Travel Pass?
    – Mary
    May 28, 2014 at 1:49
  • 4
    both. if your travel matches the travel pass (eg travel in zone 1 and 2) it'll just match against that, and if you go further (eg venture to zone 3+) it'll take it off your prepay. It's nice and flexible like that.
    – Mark Mayo
    May 28, 2014 at 2:04

1 Answer 1


That's perfectly valid, as most sightseeing is in Zone 1. What you could do is buy a 7 day travel pass immediately at Heathrow (zone 1 and 2) which you put ONTO your Oyster Card.

To explain - the Oyster is just a card. You then either top it up with pre-pay, or you put travel cards on to it.

So step 1 - buy the card.

Step 2 - get some prepay on it to cover your non Zone1-2 trips.

Step 3 - put a 7 day travel card on it.

Step 4 - travel and enjoy London.

And yes, you need individual Oyster cards, but when you return to Heathrow, hand them back in - you get your deposit refunded, plus any outstanding pre-pay balance on the cards.

  • Though it is important to always top up using the same method IIRC for the refund of unused credit to be straight forward. May 28, 2014 at 8:07
  • @MartinSmith that or register them online in your name and show your id when returning them
    – Darko Z
    May 28, 2014 at 12:49
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    @DarkoZ Does that get around the issue with multiple tenders (top-ups being made with mixed cash and card). I remember reading something about these being problematic. I thought they would refund via a cheque in sterling that probably isn't very useful for someone overseas. May 28, 2014 at 12:53
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    @MartinSmith I just refunded a card in this exact scenario a month or so ago. Mixed tender, but registered to my name (and attempted to refund one registered to my wife which got confiscated!)
    – Darko Z
    May 28, 2014 at 14:38
  • Also you could buy a Zone 1 & 2 travel card and then only use buses for getting to zone 3+
    – Jonathan.
    May 28, 2014 at 20:17

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