07 June 2016

Updated: Countries and Cities to visit ...

Africa
Cape Verde islands - stay a bit longer this time
Ethiopia - including the mountains
Libya - Roman ruins, and desert
Madagascar - lemurs permitting
Namibia - including Okavango Delta
Zimbabwe - including Victoria Falls


Americas
Brazil - Rio including Fasano hotel infinity pool, Niteroi art gallery, grilled steak at Rubaiyat restaurant; Amazon
Canada - including polar bears
Colombia
Costa Rica
Cuba - including Havana and Vinales
Equador - Galapagos
Mexico - Mayan stuff around Cancun
Panama - including canal
Peru - Inca Trail / Machu Pichu
USA - including Washington DC (done!), Grand Canyon, Boston - including Opera House, Chicago - including Frank Lloyd Wright buildings (such as Fallingwater), Denali NP
Venezuela - maybe a tepui


Antarctica
The Peninsula - done!
South Georgia - done!


Asia
Armenia
Bhutan
Georgia - including the soviet architecture in Tbilisi
Indonesia - including Borneo
Iran - including Isfahan and Persepolis, Tehran - including Contemporary Art Gallery
Japan
Laos
Lebanon - including skiing
Malaysia
Philippines
Kuwait - to fill in the gaps
South Korea
Sri Lanka - including blue whales
Syria - if there's anything left
Thailand
Turkey - Istanbul
Vietnam


Australasia
Australia - Tasmania, Western, Central and Northern, GBR
New Zealand - all


Europe
Aland Islands - done !
Austria - Vienna - including Opera
BelgiumAntwerp - including 5 Continents house
Croatia - including Zagreb
Cyprus - including border area and countryside
Denmark - Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen
Finland - the lakes, the north
France - Corsica; the bridge in the sky; Matisse chapel at Vence; LilleChateau de Chambord - for the double helix staircase; Versailles - including the Royal Opera; Nice - including Opera; Paris - L'Acajou restaurant, Jazz Club; Roubaix - including La Piscine museum; Ronchamp - Le Corbusier's chapel of Notre Dame du Haut; Chamonix - nice looking hotel; Noirmoutier including Plages des Dames - and nearby islands
GermanyProra and Dessau and Hamburg (for the funny tunnel, and miniature airport)
Gibraltar - airport and back walk up rock (done!)
Greece - Athens, Mount Athos, island hopping
Ireland - Cork - including butter museum, harbour tour, Titanic Experience, Crawford gallery
Italy - Sicilian volcanos, Sardinia, Tuscany including Montepulciano, Naples, Verona, La Scala in Milano, Como - La baia di Moltrasio bar and restaurant (try fish with Riso in Cagnone) - terrace in summer, Florence - Vasari Corridor will soon be open, Room of Paradise at the recently reopened Museo dell'Opera del Duomo; Calcata town; Castel Gandolfo (train from within Vatican) - must be booked in advance
Netherlands - Amsterdam Modern Art Gallery and other galleries, a concert at Concertgebouw, Panorama Mesdag in The Hague, Delft, Leiden, Het Loo palace
Poland - medieval cities (Krakow done!)
Portugal - including Oporto
Romania - rural parts (sort of done). Crazy road.
Serbia - Belgrade
Spain - including the Moorish bits, Grand Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona
Slovenia - try skiing
Svalbard - although a recent report suggested it was dull
Sweden - Stockholm always worth another visit
Ukraine - Kiev
UK - Falkirk Wheel, Cramond island, Ironbridge, Ludlow in Shropshire, Norwich for Europe's largest medieval street plan, Chatsworth House ...


12 March 2016

Updated: London things to do

It may not be quite travel ... but there's lots of things in the city that I want to do ...


museums that i've never been to:

Bank of England Museum

Leighton House

Sir John Soane's

Freemasonry - didn't know it even existed !

Royal College of Surgeons museum

Eltham Palace

Croydon Airport - open on first sunday every month
http://www.croydonairport.org.uk/Visitor-Centre

a part of Richmond Park - the Isabella plantation

Crossrail Roof Garden at Canary Wharf


and a couple of museums that i haven't been for a while:

Imperial War Museum Lambeth

Wallace Collection



Updated - now done !

a cafe that i've been meaning to visit

16 February 2016

London to St Anton

I'm looking to get to St Anton on Saturday 20th February ... there are loads of different options from London ... so I ended up putting together a spreadsheet to work out the different total costs - including the various different baggage fees from different airlines, and the different rail costs from different airports.  Below are the cheapest flights I could find, ignoring the 7am departures !

I ended up booking this flight to Innsbruck - it has the shortest transfer time - so hopefully I will be able to go and pick up my skis and boots from the hire shop in St Anton on Saturday evening.  The trip from Innsbruck airport into town by bus is quite straightforward ... and with a direct train from the main station at 17:15, i could get a taxi into town if the connection was getting tight.


Dep LGW 13:25
Arr INN 16:25
Flight 76 gbp
Bag 18 gbp
Airport - HBf 2.7 eur
Inn HBf - StAaA 21 eur
Train time 1.5 hrs
Total 112 gbp




Whilst the option of going to Salzburg was a bit cheaper - the airport is a bit of a mosh pit at weekends during the winter, and i wouldn't get into St Anton until after the ski shops had closed.  And the amount Monarch charge for a bag in the hold is just crazy.

Dep LGW 14:15
Arr SZG 17:20
Flight 33 gbp
Bag 23.75 gbp
SZG - StAaA 53.6 eur
Train time 3 hrs
Total 99 gbp


The Friedrichshafen option was quite attractive - but it would mean an earlier start in the morning, and some of the train connections were a bit tight (although there were plenty more trains, it would just take a bit longer).

dep LGW 11:00
arr FDH 13:45
Flight 52 gbp
Bag 18 gbp
FDH - StAaA 31 eur
Train time 2.5 hrs; 3 changes
Total 94 gbp


I've never flown to or from Memmingen airport ... but it just sounded like too much effort on this occasion (including a not overly frequent bus service from the airport to the train station) ... even though the fare is very good.

dep STN 11:45
arr FMM 14:30
Flight 33 gbp
Bag - guess 15 gbp
FMM - HBf 3 eur
Memm - StAaA 48 eur
Train time 4 hrs
Total 88 gbp


I really like Zurich airport, and the fact that mainline trains depart from underneath the airport - but the fare just wasn't competitive.

dep LHR 15:40
arr ZRH 20:05
Flight 86 gbp
Bag 20 gbp
ZRH - StAaA 54 eur
Train time 2.75 hrs
Total 148 gbp

I also looked at prices to Munich - but sadly the cheap Lufthansa flights arrived to late to make the last train to St Anton.

Flights to Geneva weren't particularly cheap, and the train costs around 120 euro each way - so the totals weren't competitive.







26 January 2016

Dublin to Ischgl for a few days skiing

Ischgl isn't the easiest of places to get to from Dublin ... there aren't (m)any direct flights from Dublin to Innsbruck (the nearest) airport to Ischgl ... so the journey is a bit longer ...

The other complication is that Swiss (the airline) seem to have gone back to the dark ages with their pricing ... single flights are exorbitant ... so if there isn't a flight in one of the directions on one of the days that you want - you're screwed !

Aiming to fly out of Dublin on Tuesday 2nd February ...

Dep Dublin 16:15
Arr Zurich 19:25
price 79 eur plug baggage (EI)

Dep Zurich Flughafen 20:18
Arr Landeck Zams bahnhof 23:42
price approx 60 eur

Taxi to Ischgl
price ?

Another option is to fly to Innsbruck on a connecting flight ... with plenty of time to check in again in LGW

Dep Dublin 07:35
Arr LGW 09:10
price 23.40 eur plus baggage (FR)

Dep LGW 11:30
Arr INN 14:30
price 68 eur plug baggage (EZY)

Bus F from the Flughafen terminal to the Hauptbahnhof takes less than 20 mins and departs every 15 mins
price 2.7 eur


Dep Innsbruck Hbf 15:57 17:01
Arr Landeck-Zams 16:58 17:57
Dep Landeck-Zams 17:05 18:05
Arr Ischgl 17:58 18:58

Price 16.1 eur for the train (postbus not bookable online - fare approx 10 eur)

A further option is to fly to Salzburg - one advantage of this routing is sold as a connecting flight by BA (although DUB-LGW is operated by EI) - so if you miss the connection in LGW, it's up to BA to find you a new one !

Dep Dublin 07:00
Arr LGW 08:25
Dep LGW 10:05
Arr Salzburg 13:05
price 157 eur including baggage


Dep Salzburg Flughafen 14:25 15:25
Arr Salzburg Hbf 14:47 15:47
Dep Salzburg Hbf 15:00 15:56
Arr Landeck-Zams 17:39 18:30
Dep Landeck-Zams 18:05 19:05
Arr Ischgl 18:58 19:58

Price 53.6 eur


Accommodation

Ischgl has a reasonable amount of accommodation bookable through the town's website - with B&Bs in the town (rather than in Mathon which is 5km away) from about 55 eur per person per night sharing.  Ganahl is showing availability on the website - others may be available offline by email the tourist office.


Return flight

Need to get back into Dublin around lunchtime on Sunday 7th February ... so looking at options that give a full day skiing on Saturday 6th ...

None of the airports have late flights on Saturday to Dublin - so starting off looking at late flights to London (so could fly to Dublin on Sunday morning) ...

Innsbruck
The last (sensibly priced) flight out on Saturday evening departs at 17:15 - so that's not much good

Salzburg
There's a 19:45 flight on Saturday evening from to London for just 37 eur - but you'd have to leave Ischgl by 2pm in order to make it

Zurich
The 20:50 departure to LHR is 148 eur - that would mean leaving around 3pm

Munich
The last flight from to London on Saturday night is soon after 7pm - so that's not much use


Looking at travelling to direct to Dublin on Sunday morning - so spending Saturday night near the airport ...

Munich
dep Ischgl 17:58 (or 15:58) and arr Munich 22:21 (or 21:15) for 39 eur (no price showing for earlier timings)
dep Munich Sunday at 11:05 and arr Dublin 12:45 for 106 eur plus baggage (EI)
or Sunday evening departure at 20:10 (arr Dub 21:50) for 100 eur plus baggage (EI)

Zurich
EI direct flight departing at 8pm (arr Dub at 21:25) for 102 eur
or connecting BA flight departing at 7am (arr Dub at 12:20) for 150 eur

Innsbruck
No direct flights
connecting FR/EZY flights departing at 10:45 (arr Dub 15:35) for 150 eur with 2:35 in Luton to transfer / check in

Salzburg
No direct flights
connecting FR flights departing at 10:30 (arr Dub 15:05) for 99 eur with 2:05 in Stansted to transfer / check in


Looking at travelling to London on Sunday evening

Munich
8pm departure for 86 eur plus bag (EZY) or 9.15pm departure for 100 eur - but doesn't work with connections
to make the 8pm departure - would need to leave Ischgl around 2pm

Zurich
9.25pm departure for 171 eur plus bag (EZY)
departing Ischgl soon after 3pm would get you to the airport by 7.45pm

Innsbruck
sadly the last flight to london is at 5.40pm (for a crazy 473 eur) and the 3.10pm flight (for a still hefty 219 eur) isn't very helpful

Salzburg
the last flight to london is at 5.05pm for 157 eur with BA
departing Ischgl soon after 10am would get you to the airport for 2.30pm - trains only every 2 hours

23 January 2016

prices to Longyearben - a further update

flights with Norwegian:


Oslo - LYR
Mon 25th Jan 139.6
Wed 27th Jan no flight
Fri 29th Jan full
Mon 1st Feb 214.8
Wed 3rd Feb 96.6
Fri 5th Feb 96.6
Mon 8th Feb 150.3
Wed 10th Feb 64.4
Fri 12th Feb 204.1
Mon 15th Feb 150.3
Wed 17th Feb 64.4
Fri 19th Feb 419.0

LYR-Oslo LYR-LGW Extra
Mon 25th Jan 311.5 441.6 130.1
Wed 27th Jan no flight
Fri 29th Jan 53.6 151.5 97.9
Mon 1st Feb 128.8 194.4 65.6
Wed 3rd Feb 53.6 108.5 54.9
Fri 5th Feb 53.6 140.7 87.1
Mon 8th Feb 204.1 248.2 44.1
Wed 10th Feb 53.6 97.7 44.1
Fri 12th Feb 150.3 280.4 130.1
Mon 15th Feb 96.6 140.7 44.1
Wed 17th Feb 85.8 151.4 65.6
Fri 19th Feb 139.6 312.7 173.1

flights with SAS:

Oslo - LYR
Mon 25th Jan 253.9
Tue 26th Jan 253.9
Thu 28th Jan
Sun 31st Jan 310.9
Mon 1st Feb 310.9
Wed 3rd Feb 119.9
Thu 4th Feb 310.9
Fri 5th Feb 243.9
Sun 7th Feb 201.9
Mon 8th Feb 253.9
Tue 9th Feb 160.9
Wed 10th Feb 103.8
Thu 11th Feb 253.9
Fri 12th Feb 253.9
Sun 14th Feb 201.9
Mon 15th Feb 253.9
Tue 16th Feb 253.9
Wed 17th Feb 103.8
Thu 18th Feb 253.9
Fri 19th Feb 253.9

LYR-Oslo LYR-LON Extra
Mon 25th Jan 269.5 231.5 -38
Tue 26th Jan 290.6 542.2 251.6
Wed 27th Jan no flight
Thu 28th Jan 156.6 479.2 322.6
Fri 29th Jan 155.5 n/a
Sun 31st Jan 238.6 386.2 147.6
Mon 1st Feb 155.5 210.2 54.7
Tue 2nd Feb 156.6 179.5 22.9
Wed 3rd Feb 155.5 386.2 230.7
Thu 4th Feb 218.6 386.2 167.6
Fri 5th Feb 135.5 210.1 74.6
Mon 8th Feb 347.6 438.2 90.6
Tue 9th Feb 156.6 386.2 229.6
Wed 10th Feb 155.5 386.2 230.7
Thu 11th Feb 176.6 303.2 126.6
Fri 12th Feb 135.5 188.1 52.6
Sun 14th Feb 156.6 231.2 74.6
Mon 15th Feb 155.5 210.2 54.7
Tue 16th Feb 156.6 210.2 53.6
Wed 17th Feb 119.4 303.2 183.8
Thu 18th Feb 137.4 303.2 165.8
Fri 19th Feb 135.5 210.1 74.6
Sun 21st Feb 238.6 479.2 240.6


flights from London (any airport) to Oslo (any airport) at any time ... and Oslo Gardemoen to London (any airport) in the airport (not very scientific - so some may be too early to connect with flight from LYR):


Lon-Osl OSL-Lon
Mon 25th Jan 44 130
Tues 26th Jan 44 130
Wed 27th Jan 32 76
Thu 28th Jan 14 102
Fri 29th Jan 37 76
Sat 30th Jan 37 130
Sun 31st Jan 61 72
Mon 1st Feb 14 52
Tue 2nd Feb 14 52
Wed 3rd Feb 14 33
Thu 4th Feb 14 52
Fri 5th Feb 20 33
Sat 6th Feb 14 56
Sun 7th Feb 22 31
Mon 8th Feb 14 31
Tue 9th Feb 14 31
Wed 10th Feb 14 31
Thu 11th Feb 29 33
Fri 12th Feb 55 56
Sat 13th Feb 66 76
Sun 14th Feb 66 31


Option A
Tue 2nd Feb - London - Oslo - 14 eur
Wed 3rd Feb - Oslo - LYR - 96.6 eur
Fri 5th Feb - LYR - Oslo - 53.6 eur
Fri 5th Feb - Oslo - London - 41 eur
Total Flights - 205.2 eur

Option B
Thu 4th Feb - London - Oslo - 14 eur
Fri 5th Feb - Oslo - LYR - 96.6 eur
Mon 8th Feb - LYR - OSL - LGW - 248.2 eur
Total Flights - 358.8

Option C
Sun 7th Feb - London - Oslo - 22 eur
Mon 8th Feb - Oslo - LYR - 150.3 eur
Wed 10th Feb - LYR - OSL - LGW - 97.7 eur
Total Flights - 270 eur

Option D
Tue 9th Feb - London - Oslo - 14 eur
Wed 10th Feb - Oslo - LYR - 64.4 eur
Fri 12th Feb - LYR - Oslo - 150.3 eur
Fri 12th Feb - Oslo - London - 56 eur
Total Flights - 284.7 eur

19 January 2016

prices to Longyearben

i wrote previously about flights to LYR - this is to update the prices


the good news is the Norwegian have an extra Wednesday flight in February - timings are as per the Friday flight - departing OSL at 08:45

All prices are in EUR

Oslo-LYR
Mon 25th Jan 139.6
Wed 27th Jan no flight
Fri 29th Jan 419.0
Mon 1st Feb 419.0
Wed 3rd Feb 75.1
Fri 5th Feb 365.3
Mon 8th Feb 419.0
Wed 10th Feb 75.1
Fri 12th Feb 214.8
LYR-Oslo   LYR-LGW            Extra
Mon 25th Jan 311.5 398.6 87.1
Wed 27th Jan no flight
Fri 29th Jan 53.6 151.5 97.9
Mon 1st Feb 85.8 129.9 44.1
Wed 3rd Feb 53.6 97.7 44.1
Fri 5th Feb 53.6 140.7 87.1
Mon 8th Feb 204.1 248.2 44.1
Wed 10th Feb 53.6 97.7 44.1
Fri 12th Feb 139.6 258.9 119.3


SAS seem to operate on slightly random dates (possibly due to connections in TOS) ... and are usually a lot more expensive than DY ... again, all costs in EUR

Oslo - LYR
Mon 25th Jan 203.3
Tue 26th Jan 162.3
Thu 28th Jan 375.3
Sun 31st Jan 224.1
Mon 1st Feb 276.3
Wed 3rd Feb 103.9
Thu 4th Feb 334.3
Fri 5th Feb 255.1
Sun 7th Feb 182.1
Mon 8th Feb 255.1
Tue 9th Feb 162.3
Wed 10th Feb 120.1
Thu 11th Feb 276.3
Fri 12th Feb 255.1
Sun 14th Feb 182.1
LYR-Oslo   LYR-LGW Extra  
Mon 25th Jan 177.7 231.5 53.8
Tue 26th Jan 156.9 481.5 324.6
Wed 27th Jan no flight
Thu 28th Jan 156.9 388.5 231.6
Fri 29th Jan 135.7 n/a
Sun 31st Jan 218.9 388.5 169.6
Mon 1st Feb 156.9 211.5 54.6
Tue 2nd Feb 156.9 179.8 22.9
Wed 3rd Feb 156.9 388.5 231.6
Thu 4th Feb 198.9 388.5 189.6
Fri 5th Feb 135.7 188.5 52.8
Mon 8th Feb 349.9 440.5 90.6
Tue 9th Feb 156.9 388.5 231.6
Wed 10th Feb 156.7 388.5 231.8
Thu 11th Feb 156.9 388.5 231.6
Fri 12th Feb 119.8 188.5 68.7


the flights form London to Oslo are still very reasonable - and depart at sensible times !

Lon - Oslo (any)
Mon 25th Jan 37
Tues 26th Jan 32
Wed 27th Jan 32
Thu 28th Jan 14
Fri 29th Jan 32
Sat 30th Jan 32
Sun 31st Jan 42
Mon 1st Feb 14
Tue 2nd Feb 14
Wed 3rd Feb 14
Thu 4th Feb 14
Fri 5th Feb 29
Sat 6th Feb 29
Sun 7th Feb 22
Mon 8th Feb 14
Tue 9th Feb 14
Wed 10th Feb 14
Thu 11th Feb 29
Fri 12th Feb 55
Sat 13th Feb 102
Sun 14th Feb 86


for a quick trip with two nights in LYR - could do:

Tue 2nd Feb - London to Oslo - 14 eur
Wed 3rd Feb - Oslo to LYR - 75.1 eur
Fri 5th Feb - LYR to Oslo - 53.6 eur
Fri 5th Feb - Oslo - Lon - 41 eur (or stay in Oslo for an extra night - prices from 14 eur next day)
Total flights 183.7

Accommodation
62 eur for a single or twin room at 3 star hotel in Oslo for the night before the flight to LYR
147 eur for two nights in Coal Miners Cabins in LYR, 213 eur for a twin room for the two night
Grand Total (before activities) 392.7 (single) or 321.2 per person sharing


for a longer trip - could do:
Sunday 24th Jan - London to Oslo - 49 eur
Monday 25th Jan - Oslo to LYR - 139.6 eur
Friday 29th Jan - LYR - Oslo - 53.6 eur
Friday 29th Jan - Oslo - London - 63 eur
Total flights 305.2

20 November 2015

Using a BA 241 voucher on a trip to the US

I'm looking to take a trip to the US using my BA 241 voucher - looking at economy outbound to the East Coast, preferably Washington ... spend a few days in Washington, fly down to Florida and have a few days there ... and fly back Business Class, preferably on a B747 (so we can experience the Upper Deck) on a slightly longer flight that the short hop from the East Coast cities.

I've found Business Class reward seats available on the LAS - LHR flight on Sunday 20th December departing at 20:40 and arriving into London at 14:35 giving almost 10 hours (hopefully in the Upper Deck) of a B747.

For the outbound flight - I've found reward seats in Economy available on Friday 11th December from LHR - PHL departing at 17:15 (so could do most of a day's work) arriving into Philadelphia at 20:15 - 8 hours (hopefully a bit less if the winds aren't too strong) in a shiny new B787 Dreamliner.

From Philadelphia to Washington - there's an AA flight departing at 21:29 arriving into DC National (it looks like it would be fun to land in the city centre) at 22:32 at a bargain price of 3.50 gbp (and 4,500 Avios).
There's also departure at 22:35 (lands at 23:35) which doesn't currently have reward availability.

If we missed the flights - there are direct trains from the main station in Philadelphia (30th Street Station) which take approximately 1:40 - 2 hours.  There's an express departure at 22:15, a slower departure at 22:35 and a final one at 23:30 which arrives into Washington at 01:30
From PHL to 30th Street Station there are trains at 13 & 43 mins past the hour - which take just 17 mins to get into town.  A taxi should take about the same time.

To avoid flying into PHL - on Friday 11th December there's reward availability on the 13:50 departure from LHR to BWI (on a B767) and also the 11:15 departure from LHR to IAD (on an A380) - but these wouldn't allow much work time in London.  There's no Economy reward availability to Washington or Philadelphia on Saturday 12th.

I can't get an exact price for these flights, but probably around 370 gbp - plus a bunch of Avios !


I've also checked that there are reasonably priced flights from Washington to Florida around Tuesday 15th, and from Florida to LAS on Saturday 19th - so we could overnight in Vegas, and enjoy a day there before the flight back to London.

09 November 2015

flights to Longyearben

Norwegian fly twice a week - Mondays and Fridays

Mondays
dep OSL 09:50
arr LYR 12:50  3 hours - nonstop

dep LYR 13:35
arr OSL 16:35  3 hours - nonstop

Fridays
dep OSL 08:45
arr LYR 11:45  3 hours - nonstop

dep LYR 12:30
arr OSL 15:30  3 hours - nonstop


SAS fly five days a week (not Wednesdays and Saturdays)

SK4414
dep OSL 09:55
arr LYR 14:00  4 hours - stop in TrOmSo (11:45 - 12:20 duration 35 mins)

SK4425
dep LYR 14:45
arr OSL 19:00  4 hours - stop in TOS (16:20 - 17:05 duration 45 mins)

sometimes the 8am departure from OSL (with 2.5 hours wait in TOS) is cheaper.


Norwegian fly London Gatwick to TrOmSo twice a week - but sadly it arrives in TOS after the SAS flight to LYR has departed

Mondays & Fridays
dep LGW 14:20
arr TOS 18:50  3.5 hours - nonstop


Finnair don't start flying to LYR until June 2016


Once you get there - activities can be provided by:

Svalbard Villmarkssenter

Spitsbergen Travel seem to act as an agent

Nordic Visitor just seem to have a single tour in deep winter

And there's a list of activity providers from the tourism office

02 September 2015

Why Oyster is better than Contactless

Yesterday I wrote about how using Contactless on Transport for London is more expensive than using Oyster in two important ways.

Even if you Contactless is the same price as Oyster for your usage, there are other differences which are important to understand.

Contactless does have some advantages:
1) You don't spend time buying ticket / loading credit onto Oyster
2) If you're unsure how much travel you will be making (and so don't want to buy a weekly Travelcard), you may be able to take advantage of Mon-Sun cap
3) Instead of payment (for Travelcard or Oyster top-up) hitting your credit card bill at the start of the week/month, the payments are deducted each day (although for most this is a minimal saving)
4) You can earn interest on your money from not keeping credit on Oyster card (again minimal, approx. 5p per year)

The disadvantages of Contactless (apart from being more expensive) are even bigger:
1) The yellow readers take longer for Contactless than Oyster - which isn't surprising, but definitely slows you down
2) The embarrassment of waving your fancy credit card at the yellow reader - and risk of dropping / losing it (depends of your embarrassment tolerance and the fanciness of your card!)
3) Loss of credit card loyalty points - with Contactless your card is debited with your daily total spend (rather than a single debit for your weekly/monthly Travelcard or Oyster top-up amount). Many credit cards round down to the nearest pound (or 8 pounds if you have a Tesco reward card) for points calculations - so if you have a Tesco card you probably won't earn any loyalty points at all, and others may also lose out
4) To check that you have been charged correctly with Contactless you have to look at all your transactions for the week - and compare the total to the prices on the TfL website - and then do the calculations to see if you have been charged more than the weekly Travelcard price plus travel outside your core zones.  With Oyster, you only have to see how much has come off your Pay As You Go balance - this should just be your travel outside your Travelcard zones - much more simple.
5) Contactless makes spending money too easy / hidden - where as your Oyster Pay As You Go balance is much more visible (it shows on the bus / modern tube exit each time you pass through).
6) If you miss tapping out at the end of a journey, with Contactless you will instantly be hit with a penalty fare which you will only notice if you check your credit card statement.  But with an Oyster Travelcard the system may assume that you exited at a valid station.  Even if you are hit with a penalty fare - it is easier to spot as your Oyster PAYG balance will reduce dramatically, and can be easily fixed at any of the TfL ticket machines.
7) If you are due a refund on Contactless you may have to phone up TfL (although this may just be for American Express cards), whereas you can collect a refund on Oyster at any nominated station.

The moral of the story - use Oyster!

01 September 2015

Contactless is NOT the same price as Oyster

Transport for London is trying hard to get everybody to use their Contactless credit and debit cards, rather than using Oyster - which is more expensive for them to run.

To push Contactless TfL are making frequent announcements over the Public Address in stations that "Contactless is the same price as Oyster".  They even make the same claim on their website.  Both are lies.



There are two main scenarios where Contactless fares are NOT the same price as Oyster.

1. Weekly usage for any period which doesn't start on a Monday.
If you are starting on a Monday, then the Monday-Sunday cap will mean that you pay the same as a standard 7 day travelcard.  However, if you start on any other day, you will pay more - possibly a lot more.
So, if you are starting your travel on anything other than a Monday - it is cheaper to buy a travelcard on your Oystercard.

2. If you are going to be using Transport for London services for a month.
Despite the (false) claim that Contactless costs the same as Oyster, TfL do actually admit that regular users should buy a monthly travelcard - but they bury it in their website, and make no mention on their Public Address announcements.

I hate to think how much regular commuters are wasting on weekly Contactless fares, when they should be buying a monthly travelcard.

It is shameful that TfL lie about Contactless - and thereby steal from their customers.