Most of us get around London using the efficient Transport for London (TfL) network. But, as most of you may be aware of, the TfL has a lot to offer for students living in London in order to make travel in London more affordable.

I am going to mention the top tips that could help you save a handsome amount over the course of time you spend in London. There might be some of you simply avoiding public transport simply for its high costs, but there are plenty of ways to get around and reduce the travel costs.

The 18+ Student Oyster Photocard:

The 18+ Student Oyster Photocard works just like a standard Oyster card, in that, but it also includes a photo of you and it entitles us to some extra discounts when travelling on the TfL network.

It costs £25 and expires when the course ends. You can apply online after you have completed the enrolment process with the university. This certainly works for those who might be using Travelcards on standard adult fares paying approximately £33 each week. The Student Photocard gives a 30% off the standard adult rates for the Travelcards.

The 16-25 Railcard or 25-30 Railcard:

The National Railcard offers a 1/3 off the rail fares for anyone aged between 16-25 or 26-30 on any train service all around the UK for one year. This card costs £30 per person and can be bought online or at any National Rail station. All you need is a valid age proof and a photograph of yourself! The 33% railcard discount is also applicable on Virgin Train services.

Linking the Railcard and the Student Oyster card :

You can reap more benefits from the Railcard when you link it with your 18+ Student Oyster. Linking the two cards gives  you 33% discount off any off-peak travel (peak hours are from 06:30 to 09:29 and from 16:00 to 18:59) on the TfL network, so instead of paying £2.40 (fare for Zone 1-2), the fare will be reduced to £1.59, which is almost the same fare as a single ride on the bus.

If you want to travel and see around all of the UK and use public transport in London for your everyday travel, make sure you do this so save a handsome amount of money.

PAYG or Travelcards:

The next thing is the constant debate between whether you should buy a Travelcard or just use Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) on the Oyster Card. Now, this is a very difficult question. Here is the catch! If you take more than two rides on any transport service offered by the TfL each day or more than 14 rides in a week, the Travelcard would certainly prove to be cheaper as a weekly Zone 1-2 Travelcard on the 18+ Student Oyster costs just over £23. Else, simply use the PAYG. Why I suggest using the weekly and not the monthly Travelcard is because you might have a few days in the month when you travel out of the city and not use the TfL services at all and in that scenario, you will simply lose out on the money that you pay.

Group Save Offers:

Another discount that is offered on the National Rail services is a group save discount that entitles you to a 34% discount when you travel in a group of three or more. This could be useful if you don’t intend to get the 16-25 Railcard. However, the Groupsave discount is not applicable on the Virgin Train service.

Refunds from TfL:

Lastly, it is good to be aware that the TfL refunds money that is charged incorrectly on the Oyster, and also in the case of any delays on the TfL service. For instance, if your journey is delayed by more than 15 minutes for a reason under the control of TfL, you can apply for a refund by writing to them. Also, there might be instances when the Oyster machines deduct the incorrect amount from your Oyster, in such cases, you can report it to a member of staff and get a refund on your card, provided your ride was in the last 28 days.

Hope these tips are of great help in saving you money as you get around and explore London! 

Aarushi Jain


An MSc. in City Design and Social Science student. Follow me for updates on London, travelling in the UK, and student life at LSE.