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I will be visiting London soon and when I look up the details for travelling on public transport there I would like some advice about those 'discount' available.

To travel within London, it appear to me that using the Oyster card is the best solution. But I am not a student in UK, so I think it will be impossible for me to get the student Oyster card. I notice that I can purchase a 16-25 railcard that could give me discount and could be useful if I want to go further around England, but it is rather expensive (£30).

I think I will go to London/UK a few more times this year, is it worth to get railcard for the trip? Does the discount alone in the metropolitan area worth the expensive railcard?

Also, are the blue Oyster card and Visitor Oyster card just the same except the appearance?

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I think I will go to London/UK a few more times this year, is it worth to get railcard for the trip?

If you're travelling round the UK by train then yes, if you're sticking in the London area then no.

Does the discount alone in the metropolitan area worth the expensive railcard?

No.

It saves you 1/3 on tickets for a price of £30, so it's only worth getting if you plan to spend more than £90 on train travel. That would be a lot to spend if you're staying in the London area for a short period. http://www.16-25railcard.co.uk/

Conversely, if you're travelling around the UK by train you can easily spend more than £90 on one ticket - eg if you don't get a special deal by booking ahead, a standard-class off-peak open return between London and Glasgow is currently £135, so for that journey alone the £30 railcard would be a good investment.

Also, are the blue Oyster card and Visitor Oyster card just the same except the appearance?

They're the same except that the visitor version gives you access to touristy special offers: https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/visiting-london/experience-london/special-offers

Offers, promotions and discounts in leading London restaurants, bars, shops, theatres, galleries and more.

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    I think you can't register a visitor Oyster card, while you can a blue one. – mkennedy Feb 16 '16 at 23:35
  • It's possible to get various discounts on the railcard, although they might not be always easy for visitors. – CMaster Feb 17 '16 at 13:40
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    @AE so you are saying railcard can worth it price/help me to save money if I traveling around by train, and if I choose coaches instead of train, will that be an even better choice for budget traveler? – Edison Feb 18 '16 at 2:23
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    @Edison That's right - and coaches are cheaper, yes. Booking ahead of time for a train ticket (weeks or months ahead) can sometimes get you a good deal that might be as cheap as the coach. – A E Feb 18 '16 at 7:48
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    @AE Does coach got some discount too? And does those really cheap train ticket can usually enjoy discount with railcard? – Edison Feb 18 '16 at 14:37
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Also, are the blue Oyster card and Visitor Oyster card just the same except the appearance?

They're very similar - the fares are the same on both - but there are a few differences:

There are a bunch of discounts that you can only get if you have a Visitor Oyster. https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/visiting-london/experience-london/special-offers

Visitor Oyster costs £3 (plus whatever credit you put on it) but can't be refunded. Oyster costs £5 but that can be refunded by returning the card. You can get a refund for any unused credit from either type of card.

You can't register or protect a Visitor Oyster card, you can do both to a regular Oyster. If protected, you can regain credit from a lost card, and you can load money on through the TfL website. If registered as well, then you can load long-term passes (longer than one month) - not a feature that most visitors care about!

Visitor Oysters can be marked as being for child without a photo; normal Oysters can't, and you have to get a Zip Oyster (which has a photo embedded into it) for children resident in London.

  • Thanks a lot! My friends and I have decided to buy the Visitor Oyster card before we go – Edison Feb 18 '16 at 19:01

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