Subject: Travelcards (London)
As far as I can tell, the Travelcard or Tube pass purchased in London, that covers transportation for 1 week, is the most economical of the passes. One does need a passport size picture, but, as another Ziner stated, there are photo booths at most Underground stops, and it is very easy. We usually snap a couple of Polaroids, cut them to size, and carry them with us.

The great thing about the weekly pass in London is that it is good for any seven days. We have found that even a 5 or 6 day stay in London warrants this purchase. This is different from some other cities, Paris for instance, where weekly passes begin on specific days of the week.

There are not 4 day passes in London. Travelcards come in 1 and 7 day increments, and there is a weekend pass that is also a very good buy. This covers Saturday and Sunday, or, I believe, Sunday and a Monday holiday, if there is one. There is also a monthly pass.

I believe all of these passes (bought in London) cover Zones 1 and 2, which is usually sufficient for most tourists. But if you are staying outside these Zones, of course it would be wise to purchase a card that covers more Zones.

Individual tickets can also be bought in carnets of 10 tickets, just like Paris, and I believe there is a small savings.

Just to give you an example of how this works: We will take the Gatwick Express into London. When we take our first Underground trip, we will purchase our Travelcard. If we are staying for 5 days or more, we buy the weekly card that covers Zones 1 and 2. We hand the person at the booth our passport size photos, and we usually put the passes on a credit card. Then we are off!

We really enjoy using the Underground and never take a taxi. If I was travelling with my mother, for instance, who would not enjoy walking to every Tube stop and would want to use taxis fairly often, I would just buy tickets to cover each individual trip. But we ride the Underground and sometimes buses constantly, so for us a pass is a good buy.

On our upcoming trip, we plan to arrive in London on Thursday afternoon. We will probably not buy a pass that day, but perhaps will get a carnet that will probably see us through Thursday and Friday. On Saturday morning, we will buy a weekend pass and use it on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, if we have tickets left from the carnet, we will use them to travel to the train station to get the airport train.

I hope this helps. I have been advised by London friends that the US purchased pass is not as good a buy as the London purchased pass.

Debbie in Pittsburgh