With 270 tube stations, 700 bus routes and 1500 square kilometres to travel, London is one of the largest cities in the world and the largest in Europe. This incredible tourist destination is brimming with attractions, history and culture near 24 hours a day. It’s unsurprising then that around 30 million tourists visit London every year, capitalising on the deals at accommodation like the Montcalm Restaurant and hotel.
The prices can rack up though; London as a city isn’t known for its cheapness and many aspects of the English capital can drain away your holiday fund. There are ways to counter the priciness of London, and many start with a simple blue contactless card – the Oyster!
This blog will explore some of the ways that guests of spa breaks London can relax their finances using the Oyster card, and why it’s such an integral travel tool in the city. From the practicalities of using this card on the London public transport system to the great value deals that you might not know about, this blog will help you hack London public transport with nothing more than a piece of blue plastic.
What Is The Oyster Card?
Put simply, the Oyster card is a pay as you go card that can be topped up and used at public transport stations in and around London. A regular Oyster is blue and about the size of a credit or debit card, and you can “tap in” on buses, trams, underground trains, light rails and regular train services via yellow pads on gate terminals.
How To Buy Oyster Cards
Oyster cards can be purchased at many tube stations across the city as well as tourist attractions and train stations. You can either buy from a ticket or customer service desk or via one of the Oyster ticket stops installed around stations. These cards are £5 each and are ready to use and top up as soon as you purchase it.
You can buy an Oyster card online for the same price as at an Oyster stop. However, it’s worth remembering that if you are buying from outside the UK, your card can’t be shipped to you. Oysters are only available for delivery to UK addresses.
The London Pass is used as a way to save money on attractions and landmarks across the city. Whether you’re staying at the Montcalm Hotel for a night or a week, there’s a London Pass for you, offering free entry to more than 80 of London attractions for as short as one day or for as long as 6. The good news is that as part of your London Pass, you have the option of including a physical Oyster card as part of the package, saving you even more money on your tour of the city and even delivering the card to you before your arrival in London.
Deals On The Oyster Card
The London Pass is not the only deal on Oysters. There are many other ways to save money on your trip.
Daily caps are the maximum your oyster card will spend in a single day, meaning that once you reach the threshold, you’ll essentially be travelling for free from then. Prices differ between peak times and off-peak times. A daily cap is £14.10 for any time of the day and £9.30 for travel in off-peak times.
Buses can save a lot of time when it comes to public transport, and when there is no direct tubeline to your destination, you can use your Oyster card on buses. It’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll only be charged for one bus journey if you board multiple buses within an hour. This is called the City Hopper fare.
Rail Card Link Ups
If you are a UK citizen with a senior rail card, under 30 rail card or student rail card, you can link up your discount membership to your Oyster and save up to a third on individual journeys at off peak times.
Travel cards can be purchased for one day, week, month or year and stop you having to top up your card. If you’re buying travel cards using the railcard and Oyster combo, be advised that the third off discount only works on off-peak day tickets, meaning that you can’t buy weekly or monthly travel cards at discounted rates, or indeed for peak travel.
Is The Travel Card Worth It?
Be advised that a daily, weekly or monthly travel card is often slightly more pricey than what the daily cap is. The travel card may be handy for efficiency of travel, but is slightly more expensive than your daily cap. For instance, a daily travelcard is £20.30 whilst the daily cap on how much your oyster card will spend on travel is £14.10.
Travel cards are useful only in specific situations. If you have bought a travel card for a week, then taking three journeys via the London Underground for 6 days of the seven, then you will end up saving money. This is especially so if you’re travelling at peak time or across numerous zones. The trick here is to rely on daily caps, unless you’re travelling frequently and far on a weekly travel card.
Visitor Oyster Cards
Guests at the Montcalm At The Brewery may consider buying a Visitor Oyster card for shorter stays. It’s worth mentioning that Visitor Oysters don’t support travelcards but do have a range of discounts on shopping attractions and food that are available as well. These often change so it’s worth checking online for current deals available through purchase of a Visitor Card. These cards cost the same as a regular Oyster.
Save Money By Avoiding Peak Hours
There are now 9 zones in London, and the further you travel between them, the more your journey will cost. For example, a journey from zone 1 to 2 will cost less than travel by tube between 1 and 6. Consider your route and the amount of zones you’re travelling through to save money. Another handy tip is that at peak times – between 6.30 am and 9.30 am and between 16.00 pm and 19.00 pm – journeys will cost more than they do at the off peak times in between them.