Me and my family (two adults, one 14year old) are going to visit London for 5 days (Saturday to Wednesday). Our hotel is near Crystal Palace in zone 3, but it has only Overground connections. On Saturday, I will travel from Victoria to City airport, pick the rest of my family up, we are then going to the hotel to leave our luggage there. We plan to take a train to the city every morning (probably before 9:30), and return in the evening. On Wednesday evening, we need to go to Gatwick airport.

Since the fare system is in my opinion ridiculously complex, I need your help to find the cheapest fare? Which option is the cheapest for our plans? Oyster cards? Travelcards? 7-day travelcard? Which of them have child fares? We don't have contactless credit cards.

2 Answers 2


Do you have contactless bank cards? If so, they work like an Oyster card, with a daily and weekly cap.
If you do not have a contactless bank card I would go for an Oyster card, as you will never pay more than the daily cap, but will pay less if you travel less.
For adults there is not much difference between 'standard' and 'visitor' Oyster cards, there is a small price difference and there is a difference in where you can buy them.
Here is a link with information on where to buy the cards.

For the children you can buy Visitor Oyster cards, which will let them travel on age appropriate youth fare.
Standard Oyster cards do not let them travel on reduced fares.

  • We don't have contactless bank cards. What about the travelcards? Is there a difference between travelcards and the oyster card?
    – corvus_192
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 18:44
  • Travel cards cost the same as the cap on the Oyster Card, so if you use your Oyster card less than you pay for in a travel card, you pay less with your Oyster card. This is as far as I know, I hope a London based user comes by sone and leaves more information, as an edit or as a new answer.
    – Willeke
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 18:47
  • And the 7-day travelcard isn't cheaper for 5 days, is it?
    – corvus_192
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 18:50

Oyster cards hold seven days and longer season ticket and on other hand travelcards, pay as you go pre-pay money (PAYG use has a daily cap for journeys taken; any made after you reach the cap fare are free of charge)  this is good for those who may wish to travel beyond the paid for zones.

If you do not want to use the offers - most of which will be renewed this or next month - buy seven-day Travelcards loaded on Oyster cards.

A seven-day card, with no time of day constraints for zones 1 and 2 costs £30.40. Like PAYG on Oyster, you may use Travelcards on all forms of transport in the paid-for zones plus buses in zones 1 - 6.

Five days of off-peak PAYG use in zones 1 and 2 on Oyster will cost £7 each day and five one day off-peak Travelcards for those zones will cost £7.30 each.

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