Westminister underground train station sign next to Big Ben

Travelling to a new country requires a lot planning ahead. If you are planning on travelling to London after quarantine is lifted, you need to learn how to use the underground. It is one of the fastest and easiest ways to travel in London.

Navigating the London underground can seem complicated when you are new to town. Coming from a country where the main mode of transportation is road and cash is the main method of payment, using the underground looked so overwhelming at first. Once you learn the basics, then travelling becomes easier.

Here’s a few tips on how to use the London underground train / Tube.

       1. Buy an Oyster card

London Oyster Card
Oyster card. Credit: Paul Kichener licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

An oyster card is a card which is used to make payments for your trips on a bus or the tube in London. It is cheaper to pay using an oyster card. You can either purchase your oyster card online or get one at the machines at the entrance of each station.

An oyster card has a basic one off charge of 5 pounds and a trip can cost between £2.40 to £6 depending on the length of your trip.

You also have the option of purchasing a Travelcard which will give you unlimited travel during a certain period of time. It is also possible to buy a one off ticket for a trip at the machines or pay with a contactless payment card although this might cost more.

       2. Always use an app or a map

When you are new, understanding all the different train lines might take a while so it’s always a good idea to use an app. The underground has 12 different lines and each in a different color heading in multiple directions divided into zones. You can use a map or an app like Citimapper or google maps.

       3. Plan your route in advance

A planned route using citimapper

Plan your trip ahead of time. Some areas of the tube do not have access to the mobile networks so you need to plan and know your route ahead of time. Always remember to take screenshots of the route. This is a precaution just in case you end up in an area without network.

       4. Follow the signs

London underground signs

Once you know which way you need to go, all you need to do is follow the signs on the wall towards the correct line. The Tube is well labelled with directions on the walls as well as digital displays. Most lines have two platforms heading in opposite directions either northbound and southbound or Eastbound or westbound. Be careful which platform you get on as you might find yourself heading in the opposite direction.

       5. Tap in and tap out

Oyster tap in point Credit : Creator:Simon Dawson , Bloomberg

Always remember to tap your card in and out at the yellow station entry and exit points. This ensures you aren’t charged any additional fees or penalties due to not tapping out.

Hopefully these tips make traveling on the tube easier as you plan ahead. Make sure you check out London’s top tourist destinations.

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