Cheapest Way to Get Around in London
Tips for saving money in transportation
- London is divided into 6 zones starting with zone 1 in the center. If you are travelling across London, try to avoid zone 1 like the plague as it is the most expensive.
- Oyster cards are essential for travelling around London, taking the bus is the cheapest fare at just £1.45. However, if you’re having ‘one of those days’ and forget your oyster card you could be looking to pay at least £4.70 for a single trip!
- London transportation may be the most complained about but it is also the most efficient network of tubes, buses and trains worldwide. Closest thing to teleportation we have (maybe not as fast).
- Never consider getting a black cab if you have half empty pockets and weak heart because the taximeter is no friend to broke Londoners! However, after a night out it may be cheaper to get a taxi with friends and more efficient than chasing night buses.
Whilst living in London there is nothing more annoying than getting to the station and realizing you have forgotten your Oyster Card. This card works on a pay as you go system meaning you can top it up in any train/tube station around London. You can order it online or in a tube station and it can be used on the tube, buses and boats. Students can apply online for a student Oyster Card and save 30% on travelcards, and bus and tram passes. To apply for the student oyster card you will need a digital photo in colour, your Enrolment ID from your education establishment, your course start and end dates and a credit or debit card to pay the £10 registration fee. People with disabilities may be eligible for a Freedom pass which provides users with free travel throughout London.
City Mapper & TFL Journey Planner
Transport for London’s journey planner will be of great help to you when you want to travel around London. All you need to do is download City Mapper or visit this website TFL Journey Planner and put in where you want to start and end your journey. This will then come up with the best route possible for you to take and how long it will take you to get there using different forms of transport.
Don’t be a sap! Use a map!
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know London after one tube journey! Always have a tube/cycling/bus map on you so you don’t get lost! Smartphones may look fancier but I’m sure you would rather look like Christopher Columbus and arrive at the right destination than end up on the EuroStar to Paris whilst your not-so-smart phone runs out of juice. Find useful maps though TFL.
Tips for Everyday Transportation
- First and foremost, if you have an iPhone or a smartphone you should download some of these Top 10 free London transport apps to help you plan your journeys.
- Students! Students should apply for student Oyster Cards to save themselves 30% on adult Travelcards and bus and tram passes.
- Job Seekers! For those of you that are on Jobseekers Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance of Income Support you are entitled to reduced rates whilst travelling around London. Find more information and also check with your local Job centre to apply.
- Avoid peak hours! When travelling by DLR, National Rail or London Overground, try to avoid the peak hours between 06:30 – 09:30 and 16:00 – 19:00 as the prices are a lot higher than normal plus the trains are usually jam-packed full of busy-bodies trying to get to work. Visit TFL to find out about different fares.
- 7 day Travelcard? A 7 day Travelcard may be useful if you are planning to travel 5 or more days in a row as it would work out cheaper than using your Oyster card, this can be loaded onto an Oyster Card once you have paid.
- Heading torwards the airport? If you want to travel from or towards an airport, you have to buy a specific ticket and cannot use your oyster card. Ask tube staff for more information and check our Top 5 Tips for Saving money at the Airport.
- South Londoners! Always use London Overground/tube and DLR when you can as they are cheaper than National Rail.
- Bus vs Tube. If you are not in a rush why not take the bus instead of the tube? It is less stressful than jumping on and off platforms. Find everything you need to know about London bus fares.
- Bike it! Why not buy a bicycle and take it out on a nice day instead of using public transport. This is for sure the cheapest way to get around in London. It will save you a fortune whilst improving your fitness! Win/Win. Find tips and tricks for cycling in London.
- Night out! Need to get home late at night? If there are a few of you, check the prices of local taxis. There is now a smartphone application that provides cheap prices – from personal experience: once there were four of us sharing a taxi from Hackney Wick to Surrey Quays and we paid only £3 each! So, always check with the closest local cab office and use Minicabster which is a price comparison and booking engine for booking cheap taxis and minicabs.