Thursday, 2 August 2012

Oyster Card because... Pearls... and Something about the World

When Matt and I were on our way home from Westminster (post coming soon :D) we ran into a couple of American tourists trying to figure out the travel card system. And it wasn't until we were through on the other side of the gates that we realized that one of them already had a day long travel card but didn't realize it and was going to buy another, completely unnecessary, ticket.

I realize that I am also an American tourist but I'm extremely lucky to have Matt there with me at every turn as I explore not just the world but specifically his home. So when I first arrived in London two summers ago and he handed me something called an Oyster Card, it never occurred to me that other tourists (American or not) wouldn't know about it.
This is an Oyster Card 
According to Matt an Oyster Card is named after oysters because when you have it the world is your oyster or something like that. But the concept is pretty much that, Oyster Cards are not as easily lost as tickets, can be topped up whenever, and used as long as you want and you can go anywhere in London.You can also register this card so that if it gets lost or stolen you can get your money back.

 If you buy an Oyster Card in London (at any tube station, some London travel info centers or oyster ticket shops) you can purchase a standard pay as you go card for a small deposit. Whenever you are running low on funds for traveling you can top it up at any tube station and be on your way.

You could also order a Visitors Card online for a certain set amount (with a card fee). The best part about buying a standard pay as you go card is that when you leave, you can turn it in and get your deposit back. For full (and probably clearer) details you can visit their website.

Oyster Cards all come with holders similar to this:
They can have different designs though
I really, very highly recommend getting an Oyster Card. It's not hard to fit (or find) in your purse, clutch, wallet, or pocket. To pass through the gates to the tube you simply have to touch the card (you don't even have to take it out of it's holder!)to a yellow touch pad and it automatically pays the fare. This provides the added bonus of not having to worry about off-peak vs. peak times etc.

It's so difficult to learn the tube for the first time let alone try to figure out the (rather complicated) ticket system as well. I really hope that this helps make getting around to the amazing sites of London much easier.

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