Cathedral & main square, Krakow, Poland.  Easy to reach by train from London..!

The main square & cathedral, Krakow

UK to Poland by train from €89.80!

Absolutely, no problem!  It's easy to travel from the UK to Poland by train.  Travel from London to Berlin on day 1 by Eurostar & onward high-speed train from as little as €59.90, stay overnight in Berlin, then take an air-conditioned express from Berlin to Warsaw, Poznan or Gdansk from €29.90 on day 2.  The train journey from London to Poland is safe and comfortable.  It's an experience in itself, with a chance to see Berlin on the way.  This page will explain all you need to know...

Train times, fares & tickets

  London to Warsaw & Poznan

  London to Krakow & Katowice

  London to Oswiecim (Auschwitz)

  London to Łσdź

  London to Wroclaw

  London to Szczecin, Gdansk, Gdynia

  London to Zakopane & the Tatra mountains

Interactive mapClick a destination or route...

  London to Poland via Harwich - the ferry alternative

  Scotland & North to Poland by Hull/Newcastle ferry

  Buying add-on tickets from other UK towns & cities

International trains to/from Poland

  Trains to Poland from other European cities

  Warsaw to other European cities

  Krakow to other European cities

Other useful information

  Useful country information - currency, dial code...

  Warsaw Centralna station information

  Hotels & accommodation in Poland

  Custom-made holidays to Poland by train

  Amsterdam-Warsaw by Jan Kiepura sleeper train

  How to buy train tickets within Poland

  Luggage & left luggage   Send luggage ahead

  Taking bikes    Taking a dog 

  General European train travel information

Route map...

Sponsored links...

 


Useful country information

Train operator in Poland:

PKP (Polskie Koleje Panstwowe), www.pkp.com.pl, but for express trains within & from Poland see www.intercity.pl which also does online booking for domestic Polish express trains.  To check train times for all Polish routes I recommend http://rozklad.sitkol.pl/bin/query.exe/en To book international trains starting in Poland contact reliable Polish ticket agency www.polrail.com.  All-Europe online train times

   

Railpasses:

 

Beginner's guide to European railpasses     Buy a rail pass online

Time zone & dialling code:

GMT+1 (GMT+2 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).   Dial code:  +48

Currency:

£1 = approx 5.0 zlotys  Check current exchange rates

Tourist information:

www.poland.travel, www.poland.pl    Recommended guidebooks

Hotels in Poland:

Poland hotel search    Backpacker hostels

Visas:

UK citizens no longer need a visa to visit Poland.

Page last updated:

9 June 2017.  Train times valid from 11 June to 9 December 2017.


London to Warsaw & Poznan

There are several good options for travelling from London to Warsaw by train:

By all means go out one way and back another.  Incidentally, the Jan Kiepura sleeper train between Cologne & Warsaw was sadly discontinued in December 2016, so there are now no sleeper options.


Option 1, London to Warsaw by daytime trains with hotel in Berlin.

With Sparpreis London fares to Berlin from €59.90, then Sparpreis Poland fares from Berlin to Warsaw from €29.90, this can be the cheapest option: London to Poland from €89.80, centre to centre with no luggage weight limit.

London ► Warsaw

Warsaw ► London

How much does it cost?  London to Warsaw from €98!

How to buy tickets online...

How to buy tickets by phone...

Have your trip professionally arranged...

What's the journey like?

1)  London to Cologne by Eurostar & ICE3:  Watch the video guide

2)  Cologne to Berlin by high-speed ICE2...

ICE2 first class ICE2 second class High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin, at Berlin Hauptbahnhof

ICE2 1st class.

ICE2 2nd class.

An ICE2 at Berlin...

   

Treat yourself to lunch!

 

ICE2's elegant restaurant car...

 

ICE2's convivial bistro-bar car...

Take a virtual tour inside an ICEMore information about these ICE trains.

3)  Berlin to Warsaw by Berlin-Warszawa Express...

The Berlin-Warsaw Express train   2nd class seating compartment on the Berlin to Warsaw Express train

The Berlin-Warsaw Express has modern air-conditioned smooth-riding coaches in both 1st & 2nd class, most with compartments and side corridor like this, but some with seats in open-plan saloons. You can choose which type you prefer when you book.

Bistro car on the Berlin-Warszawa Express train   Sausage soup on the Berlin-Warszawa Express   A main course schnitzel in the bistro-restaurant on the Berlin to Warsaw Express train

The Berlin-Warsaw Express has a bistro-restaurant car, staffed by Polish train catering company Wars.  Treat yourself to a meal and kill a couple of hours over a beer and some food in the restaurant...  An excellent sausage soup, a main course of schnitzel, potato and salad, all served on proper china, a beer and coffee all come to only around €10.  You must pay in cash, not credit card, but both euros and zlotys are accepted.

Option 2:  London to Warsaw with overnight stop in Brussels...

This is similar to option 1, but with the overnight stop in Brussels rather than Berlin - which can be more time-effective if you can leave London after the end of the working day, and arrive in Warsaw the following evening.  Feel free to go out using option 1, back using option 2, or vice versa.  Just book everything as one-way.  This option runs from London daily except Saturdays, from Warsaw daily except Sundays.

London ► Warsaw

Warsaw ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

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London to Krakow & Katowice

The fastest & cheapest way to travel between London & Krakow is via Warsaw, shown in detail below.  Alternatively, it can be cheaper and only a bit longer to travel via Prague, so why not combine the two great cities of Prague & Krakow in one flight-free trip?  If you also want to visit the museum at Auschwitz, or in Polish, Oswiecim, see here.

Option 1, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Berlin...

London ► Krakow

Krakow ► London

Fares & how to buy tickets...

What's the journey like?

London to Cologne by Eurostar & ICE3:  Watch the video guide

Cologne to Berlin by high-speed ICE2...

ICE2 first class ICE2 second class High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin, at Berlin Hauptbahnhof

ICE2 1st class.

ICE2 2nd class.

An ICE2 at Berlin...

   

Treat yourself to lunch!

 

ICE2's elegant restaurant car...

 

ICE2's convivial bistro-bar car...

Take a virtual tour inside an ICEMore information about these ICE trains.

Berlin to Warsaw by Berlin-Warszawa Express...

The Berlin-Warsaw Express train   2nd class seating compartment on the Berlin to Warsaw Express train

The Berlin-Warsaw Express has modern air-conditioned smooth-riding coaches in both 1st & 2nd class, most with compartments and side corridor like this, but some with seats in open-plan saloons. You can choose which type you prefer when you book.

Bistro car on the Berlin-Warszawa Express train   Sausage soup on the Berlin-Warszawa Express   A main course schnitzel in the bistro-restaurant on the Berlin to Warsaw Express train

The Berlin-Warsaw Express has a bistro-restaurant car, staffed by Polish train catering company Wars.  Treat yourself to a meal and kill a couple of hours over a beer and some food in the restaurant...  An excellent sausage soup, a main course of schnitzel, potato and salad, all served on proper china, a beer and coffee all come to only around €10.  You must pay in cash, not credit card, but both euros and zlotys are accepted.

Warsaw to Krakow by EIP train in 2h28 at up to 200km/h (125 mph)...

Introduced in December 2014, these are the very best trains on the Polish network are modern bullet-nosed pendolinos like this.  They operate on the Krakow-Warsaw-Gdynia route at up to 125mph, with faster operation planned in the future.  Reservation is compulsory and they have a bar-bistro car - for more photos see www.vagonweb.cz/fotogalerie/PL/PKP_ED250.php.  Above right, 2nd class seats.  You' also find comfortable air-conditioned locomotive-hauled EIC trains on the Warsaw-Krakow route, and a few much older and slower TLK trains.  I recommend choosing an EIP or at least EIC!

An EIP train   2nd class seats on a PKP InterCity EIP train

Polish Railways EIP train... Photos courtesy of www.vagonweb.cz

 

2nd class seats...

EIP train   EIP bar car   EIP table for two in 1st class

EIP train...

 

Bar car...

 

1st class...

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Option 2:  London to Krakow via Prague from £88...

This takes a bit longer and involves a few more changes, but it's the cheapest option thanks to remarkably cheap Brussels-Prague and Prague-Krakow tickets sold by the Czech Railways website and it only involves 3 tickets, all easily bookable online.  And it's pretty time-effective, taking just one daytime day out of your schedule at each end of your stay in Krakow, and might save you a hotel night or two in Krakow given the morning arrival and evening departure.  With an evening in Brussels, dinner in Prague, and high-quality air-conditioned trains with a comfy sleeper at night, what's not to like?

London ► Krakow

Krakow ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

What's the journey like?

High-speed ICE3 train at Frankfurt   ICE2 train, 2nd class

ICE3 from Brussels to Frankfurt, seen at Frankfurt...

 

ICE3 2nd class seats...

ICE3 train, 1st class   Lunch & beer on an ICE3 train

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats & power sockets...

 

Lunch in an ICE3 bistro car.

Cheb station, en route from Brussels to Prague

The easy & relaxed interchange at Cheb station...  The red train on the left is the German regional train just arrived from Nuremberg.  You cross to the blue Czech train on the right about to leave for Prague.  Photo courtesy of Lennart Verbraeken.

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb   Scenery from the train between Cheb & Prague

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb.  Courtesy of Arnaud Loneux.

 

Hills & forest between Cheb & Prague.  Courtesy of Arnaud Loneux.

The sleeper train from Zurich to Prague

A Czech sleeping-car of the sort used on the Prague-Krakow overnight train. 

City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper   City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper in day mode   City Night Line deluxe sleeper, private toilet & shower   Comfortline sleeper corridor

Standard sleeper set up as a 2-berth, with blind down & washstand open.  Each room can be used with 1, 2 or 3 beds.

 

The same sleeper with berths folded away & seats folded out, washstand closed.  Very similar to a deluxe, but without the shower & toilet.

 

Deluxe sleepers are virtually identical to standard ones, but with a tiny bit more floorspace & compact shower & toilet.

 

Just like a hotel, the corridor in a Comfortline sleeping-car.  There's a shower at end of the corridor for standard sleeper passengers.

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London to Oswiecim (Auschwitz)

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London to Łσdź

Łσdź is pronounced 'wooch' or 'woodge' and it's one of Poland's largest cities.  It's easy to reach by train...

London ► Łσdź

Łσdź ► London

Fares & how to buy tickets...

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London to Wroclaw

Shockingly, there are now no trains between Berlin and Wroclaw.  The last direct train was discontinued from December 2014.  You now need to travel via Poznan on daytime trains with an overnight stop in Berlin.  Or take daytime trains to Dresden and one of several daily Dresden to Wroclaw local trains.

Option 1, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Dresden...

London ► Wroclaw

Wroclaw ► London

Option 2, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Berlin...

London ► Wroclaw

Wroclaw ► London

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London to Szczecin & Gdansk

London ► Szczecin, Gdansk, Gdynia

Gdynia, Gdansk, Szczecin ► London

Fares & how to buy tickets...

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London to Zakopane

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London to Poland via Harwich

  Boarding the Stena Line ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland for Amsterdam

London to the Netherlands by Dutch Flyer train & ferry...  Take a train from London's Liverpool Street station directly to the ferry terminal at Harwich.  You walk off the train, into the terminal, get your boarding card & cabin key at the Stena Line check-in desk and walk straight onto the overnight ferry to Hoek van Holland.  The new superferry Stena Hollandica is the largest ferry of its kind in the world.  See the Netherlands page and see the video...

  Standard inside cabin on the ferry

Cosy cabins:  The overnight Harwich-Hoek ferry is a floating hotel.  All passengers travel in a cosy private cabin with en suite shower & toilet and satellite TV.  This is the cheapest 2-berth cabin...

  Captain's suite deluxe cabin on the Stena Line ferry 'Stena Hollandica'

... and this is a Captain's Class cabin with double bed & complimentary bubbly in the minibar.

The Harwich-Hoek ferry, a useful alternative to Eurostar...

You might prefer to travel by train & ferry to reach Poland, for example to avoid the Channel Tunnel if problems affect the Eurostar service or if you suffer from claustrophobia.  It's also cheaper if you have to travel at short notice when Eurostar can be expensive.  This route is also handy if you live in East Anglia as you can travel direct to Harwich avoiding London.  Indeed, you may simply prefer a relaxing journey, cruising overnight on the Stena Line superferry in a luxury en suite cabin with shower, toilet, satellite TV and free WiFi (see the video), heading for Berlin by train, overnighting there then travelling on to Warsaw next morning.

London & Harwich ► Warsaw, Krakow

Krakow, Warsaw ► Harwich & London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets online...

How to buy tickets by phone:  Special booking form

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Scotland & the North to Poland

  DFDS Seaways ferry 'Princess of Norway' about to sail from Newcastle.

DFDS Seaways Princess of Norway about to sail overnight from Newcastle to Amsterdam...

  A Commodore Deluxe cabin on DFDS Seaways

A Commodore deluxe cabin with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.  See the video...

  A standard cabin on DFDS Seaways Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry.

A Seaways class cabin with shower & toilet on DFDS Princess of Norway...

If you live in the North of England or Scotland, the fastest option is to take a train up to London and travel from London to Poland using Eurostar, as described above.  If you choose this option, see this advice on buying cheap connecting train tickets to London.  But there are some useful ferry alternatives which allow you to by-pass London, and spend a day in Amsterdam on the way.  DFDS Seaways run an excellent daily overnight cruise ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam, and P&O Ferries run a daily overnight cruise ferry from Hull to Rotterdam.  So take the overnight ferry to Holland, head onwards by train to Berlin, and after an evening and night in the German capital, hop on a morning train to Poland!

Scotland & North ► Warsaw, Krakow

Krakow, Warsaw ► Scotland & North

Fares & how to buy tickets...

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Warsaw Centralna station

Facilities at Warsaw Centralna...

Warsaw Centralna station exterior   Warsaw Centralna station, the Sala Glowna or main hall.

Warsaw Centralna station

 

Warsaw Centralna's main hall...

First class lounge at Warsaw Centralna   Warsaw Centralna, seen from the Palace of Culture

The first class lounge has now closed...  Photo courtesy of David Smith

 

Warsaw Centralna station, seen on a wintry day from the observation deck of the Palace of Culture...

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Visiting Warsaw...

Click for map of Warsaw showing stations...

Warsaw Centralna station is just across the road from the Palace of Culture skyscraper (below left) and an easy 20 minutes walk from Warsaw's historic old town (below right).  The Warsaw tourist information website is www.um.warszawa.pl/en.

Warsaw's Palace of Culture   Warsaw Old Town

The Palace of Culture is a distinctive wedding cake style Soviet skyscraper, given to Poland as a gift from the Soviet Union.  Originally disliked by Poles for that reason, they are now softening to it a little.  There's a viewing terrace on the 30th floor, you'll need to leave any bags in the free cloakroom on the ground floor.  See the official website, www.pkin.pl.

 

Warsaw's historic old town is the knife that's had its blade and handle both replaced, as it was almost totally destroyed in WW2 and has been 85% rebuilt from scratch.  However, it's UNESCO-listed because of the effort and care that went into the restoration.  It's well worth a visit, and only a 20 minute walk from Warsaw Centralna.  For a great meal, try the U Fukiera restaurant on the inner square, www.ufukiera.pl.

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Buying train tickets within Poland...

It's not difficult to buy train tickets for domestic journeys within Poland at the station ticket office.  It can help to write down what you want, in case staff don't speak English very well.  UK agencies such as DB's UK phone line on 08718 80 80 66 (open 09:00-17:00 Mon-Fri) or www.traintours4u.co.uk can usually get you reservations on international trains starting in Poland.  However, if they have problems, or if you want to see if buying locally would be cheaper, try contacting the following agency in Poland:

Buy Polish domestic intercity tickets at www.intercity.pl...

You can book Polish inter-city train tickets (but not international ones) online at the Polish Railways InterCity website, www.intercity.pl.  At www.intercity.pl the English button is top right, and you'll need to use the Polish spellings of Krakow and Warszawa.  You pay online with a credit card and print out your own ticket.  Many seat61 correspondents have reported success buying self-print tickets for Polish trains this way, using UK and Dutch credit cards.

  Buy train tickets in Poland from Polrail.com

Or use Polish train ticketing agency www.polrail.com...

Polish train ticketing agency www.polrail.com comes highly recommended if you want to arrange train tickets within Poland in advance, or book international train tickets starting in Poland, for example, from Warsaw to Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Moscow, Kiev, Lviv or Vilnius, or from Krakow to Prague, Budapest or Vienna, etc..  You should arrange tickets between 10 & 60 days before travel (Polish train reservations open 60 days before departure, but 10 days is necessary for the agency to buy and send tickets). Tickets can be couriered to your home address in any country, or they can arrange ticket collection within Poland, for example, at your hotel.  If you use their services, feedback is always welcome!

Check any Polish train time at http://rozklad.sitkol.pl...

A recommended journey planner for all Polish trains, including local ones (for example, those linking Krakow with Oswiecim (Auschwitz) see http://rozklad.sitkol.pl/bin/query.exe/en.

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Guidebooks

Highly recommended:  The Lonely Planets & Rough Guides...

Definitely take a good guidebook.  For the independent traveller, I think this means one of two guidebooks, either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide.  Both series are excellent.  You can buy an in-depth guide for Poland or a guide covering all the countries in Eastern Europe.

Click the images to buy online at Amazon.co.uk...

Lonely Planet Eastern Europe - buy online at Amazon.co.uk   Rough Guide to Poland - buy online at Amazon.co.uk   Rough Guide to Poland - buy online at Amazon.co.uk

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European Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team have set up a private venture and published the first edition of a reborn European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at either www.stanfords.co.uk or www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

A Traveller's Railway Map of Europe covers the whole of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  On the back are detailed maps of Switzerland, Benelux & Germany, plus city plans showing stations in major cities.  Scenic & high-speed routes highlighted.  Buy it online for £14.50 + postage worldwide (UK addresses £2.80) at www.stanfords.co.uk/Continents/Europe-A-Travellers-Railway-Map_9789077899090.htm or (in the Netherlands) for €13 + €5.50 postage from www.treinreiswinkel.nl.

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Find hotels in Poland

    

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It has been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel at a cheaper rate.

►► My recommended booking site:  www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a great feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

Recommended in Warsaw:  Polonia Palace Hotel & Hotel Bristol

Tripadvisor hotel reviews...

Backpacker hostels: www.hostelworld.com...

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Tours & holidays to Poland by train

 

020 3327 0761 (UK)

1-888-829-4775 (USA)

1-855-882-2910 (Canada)

1300 971 526 (Aus)

0800 000 554 (NZ)

If you want a holiday to Krakow or Warsaw by train not plane, but want someone else to organise all the train tickets & hotels for you, one specialist company can do just that, for a holiday with no airport hassles and no long days in cramped coach seats on motorways.

Railbookers for custom-made tours, holidays & breaks to Krakow & Poland by train...

Railbookers can custom-make a flight-free holiday to Poland for you, with train travel & hotels, for however long you like, leaving on any date you like.  For example, they suggest a 6 night trip from London to Krakow, Warsaw & Berlin.  Indeed, they can arrange trains and hotels for any tour of eastern Europe to your own specification.  They take good care of their clients, and I have no hesitation in recommending them.

  UK call 020 3327 0761, www.railbookers.co.uk

  US call free 1-888-829-4775, see website.

  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, see website.

  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website

  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or see website.

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Send your luggage in advance

Ride the trains without heavy luggage... 

Send your suitcase ahead by Luggage Mule from around £30 each way.

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Travel insurance & health card

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year - I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from ww.nhs.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

 


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