Lunch in the restaurant car between Berlin & Prague

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This page explains how to travel by train from Bratislava to other European cities and how to buy tickets the cheapest way.  Train information is current for 2020.

Bratislava Hlavna is Bratislava's main station, often abbreviated to Bratislava hl.st, see Bratislava station information

Pictured right:  The civilised way to go...  Lunch and a beer in the restaurant car of a Bratislava to Berlin express...

bullet pointBefore you buy your tickets...

Take a moment to read these tips for buying European train tickets.  It answers all the usual questions, "Do I need to book in advance or can I just buy at the station?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and that old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or just buy a €35 point-to-point ticket online?".  Click here to understand how far ahead you can buy train tickets.

bullet pointEuropean train travel FAQ...

An introduction to European train travel

 

Senior fares (over 60)

 

Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Top tips for buying European train tickets

Youth fares (under 26)

 

Guide to Interrail passes (for Europeans)

How to check European train times

Child fares & child age limits

 

Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains

 

Train seat numbering plans

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations

 

Wheelchairs & special needs

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train

 

Real-time service updates

Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Taking a car by train

 

Hotels & accommodation

How long to allow for connections?

Taking dogs & pets by train

 

Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

How early to arrive at the station?

Maps of the European rail network

 

What to do when things go wrong...


How to buy tickets for journeys within Slovakia...

Bratislava to Kosice...

Bratislava to Poprad-Tatry...

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Bratislava to London...

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Bratislava to Paris...

Option 1, Bratislava to Paris in a single day - the scenic option via the Arlberg Railway...

Railjet train from Bratislava to Zurich

The new Bratislava-Zurich railjet train at Bratislava Hlavna...  Courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

Taking the train through the Arlberg pass...   Lunch is served at your seat in first & business classes

Scenery in the Arlberg pass - the railway hugs the valley side, past fir forests and meadows...

 

In railjet first & business class, the steward takes your order & serves lunch at your seat...

Option 2, by sleeper train from Vienna to Zurich & high-speed train to Paris - the most time-effective option...

Double-deck sleeping-car on a Nightjet at Zurich

1.  Travel overnight from Vienna to Zurich by Nightjet sleeper...  This is a double-deck sleeping-car arrived at Zurich HB. Courtesy of DiscoverbyRail.com.

   

2-berth sleeper on lower deck...

 

Stairs down to pair of lower compartments...

 

1 or 2-bed sleeper on lower deck with washbasin, viewed through window.  Set up as 1-bed.  Note how compact the compartment is...

TGV-Lyria to Geneva at Paris Gare de Lyon

2.. Take a TGV-Lyria from Zurich to Paris Gare de Lyon... These 200 mph double-deck trains now operate all TGV-Lyria services.

TGV Duplex cafe-bar   TGV Duplex upper deck 2nd class seats

The cafe-bar on the upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwave-style hot dishes...

 

2nd class seats, this is upper deck seating.  There's a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.  360Ί photo.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   A TGV-Lyria Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon

1st class seats on the upper deck, with a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right. 360Ί photo.

 

A TGV-Lyria for Geneva, boarding at Paris Gare de Lyon.  You enter on the lower deck, with 9 stairs up to top deck.

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Bratislava to Brussels or Bruges...

Option 1, Bratislava to Brussels in a single day from €46.90...

Option 2, using the Vienna to Brussels Nightjet sleeper train on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Sundays - the most comfortable & time-effective option...

The Nightjet sleeper from Brussels to Vienna at Brussels

Vienna to Brussels by Nightjet sleeper train...  The inaugural Nightjet left Vienna for Brussels on on 19 January 2020.  Above, the inaugural southbound train is ready to leave Brussels the following night, the first scheduled sleeper train to leave Brussels in 16 years - naturally, the Man in Seat 61 was on board!  More information about Nightjet trains.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Brussels-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Brussels-Vienna Nightjet...

Option 3, using the Vienna-Cologne Nightjet sleeper train - on days when the direct Vienna-Brussels Nightjet isn't running...

Option 4, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Berlin...

Option 5, with overnight stop in Prague - the cheapest option from €44!

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Bratislava to Amsterdam from €46.90...

Option 1, using the Vienna-Amsterdam Nightjet sleeper train - the most comfortable & time-effective option...

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

Vienna to Amsterdam by Nightjet sleeper train, seen here at Vienna Hbf More information about Nightjet trains.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchettes   Couchette car on sleeper train

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

Option 2, Bratislava to Amsterdam in a single day from €46.90...

Option 3, by day trains with overnight stop in Berlin...

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Bratislava to Zurich & Switzerland...

Option 1, Bratislava to Zurich by direct railjet train - the best option if the timing suits you...

Railjet train from Bratislava to Zurich

The Bratislava-Zurich railjet train at Bratislava Hlavna...  Courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

Taking the train through the Arlberg pass...   Lunch is served at your seat in first & business classes

Scenery in the Arlberg pass - the railway hugs the valley side, past fir forests and meadows, see the Arlberg Pass scenery video.

 

In railjet first & business class, the steward takes your order & serves lunch at your seat...

Option 2, by daytime trains with an easy change in Vienna - if the timing of the direct train doesn't suit you...

Option 3, using the Vienna-Zurich sleeper train - the time-effective option...

Double-deck sleeping-car on a Nightjet at Zurich

1.  Travel overnight from Vienna to Zurich by Nightjet sleeper...  This is a double-deck sleeping-car arrived at Zurich HB. Courtesy of DiscoverbyRail.com.

   

2-berth sleeper on lower deck...

 

Stairs down to pair of lower compartments...

 

1 or 2-bed sleeper on lower deck with washbasin, viewed through window.  Set up as 1-bed.  Note how compact the compartment is...

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Bratislava to Venice, Milan, Florence, Rome & Italy from €44...

Option 1, Bratislava to Venice in a single day...

Afternoon train to Venice boarding at Vienna Hbf

The railjet from Vienna to Venice, boarding at Vienna Hbf...

Option 2, by sleeper train - the most comfortable & time-effective option...

1 or 2 bed sleeper on Nightjet train   en suite shower & toilet in deluxe sleeper   Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on Nightjet trains

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand.  Larger photo.

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car, as used on the Austrian Nightjet trains from Vienna to Italy.  More pictures & information about nightjets.

    4-berth couchette on Nightjet train

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen.  Couchettes are the economical option, flat bunks with rug & pillow.

 

6-berth couchettes, the cheapest option...

 

4-berth couchettes, ideal for families.  Larger photo.

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Bratislava to Barcelona & Spain...

By daytime trains with overnight stop in Zurich or Geneva...

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  Seen from the train and one of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline all the way from Girona to Perpignan...

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Bratislava to Berlin, Dresden or Hamburg from €39.90

Option 1, by EuroCity train Hungaria - the leisurely daytime option...

The EuroCity train Hungaria between Berlin & Budapest

The Budapest-Bratislava-Berlin Hungaria with the latest air-conditioned Hungarian cars.  Photos courtesy of Siddhartha Verma.

2nd class seats on the EuroCity train Hungaria Berlin-Budapest   The restaurant car of the Hungaria from Berlin to Budapest

2nd class seats on the Hungaria...

 

Restaurant car on the Hungaria...

Option 2, by EuroNight sleeper train Metropol - the time-effective overnight option, saves a hotel bill too...

2-bed sleeper on Budapest to Berlin train   Slovakian sleeping-car

A 2-bed double sleeper (above left) in the air-conditioned Slovakian sleeping-car on the Metropol from Budapest to Berlin.  Above right, a morning view of the Budapest-Berlin couchette car (nearest the camera) and sleeping-car in the morning light...

Each sleeper compartment is fitted with 3 beds so can be sold as a single, double or triple.  Sleeper compartments convert to comfortable private sitting room for evening use.  A light breakfast is included in the fare.  See larger photo.  See more photos of this type of sleeping-car. Photos courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

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Bratislava to Munich from €34.90...

Option 1, by daytime train...

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

A railjet at the impressive modern Vienna Hbf.  More photos & information about railjet trains

 

Economy class seats in open saloons with large windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

The restaurant car...

Option 2, by sleeper train...

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Bratislava to Frankfurt, Cologne & other stations in Germany from €39.90

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Bratislava to Vienna for €11.20...
A regional train from Vienna to Bratislava, at Vienna Hbf  

The hourly regional express train from Vienna Hbf to Bratislava Hlavna

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Bratislava to Linz, Salzburg or Innsbruck

Option 1, by direct railjet train - new from 9 December 2018...

Railjet train at Bratislava

The new railjet train at Bratislava Hlavna...  Courtesy of Helmut Uttentahler.

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

A railjet at the impressive modern Vienna Hbf.  More photos & information about railjet trains

 

Economy class seats in open saloons with large windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

The restaurant car...

Option 2, other departures with a change of train in Vienna - if the early morning direct train doesn't suit you...

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Bratislava to Prague for €17...

Option 1, by EuroCity train every 2h - the most frequent option...

EuroCity train to Budapest boarding in Prague

A Prague-Bratislava-Budapest EuroCity train at Prague Hlavni...

Prague to Budapest EuroCity traiin   2nd class open seating on Prague-Budapest EuroCity traiin

Restaurant car...

 

2nd class open plan saloon seating...

Option 2, by private operator Regiojet - 4 departures a day...

A RegioJet train to Prague at Vienna Hbf

A RegioJet train in its distinctive yellow & grey colours, see the interior photos of RegioJet trains here

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Bratislava to Brno from €6...

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Bratislava to Ostrava from €11...

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Bratislava to Budapest for €17.50...
EuroCity train to Budapest boarding in Prague

A Prague-Bratislava-Budapest EuroCity train about to leave Prague Hlavni...

Prague to Budapest EuroCity traiin   2nd class open seating on Prague-Budapest EuroCity traiin

Restaurant car...

 

2nd class open plan saloon seating...

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Bratislava to Brasov, Sighisoara & Bucharest from €57...

Option 1, via the sleeper train Ister from Budapest to Brasov & Bucharest...

Option 2, by daytime trains with an overnight stop in Budapest...

Option 3, via the Dacia Express sleeper train from Vienna to Sighisoara, Brasov & Bucharest...

Dacia Express at Vienna   Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest

The Dacia Express couchette car boarding at Vienna Hbf.  Always book a couchette, not just a seat.  Couchettes convert from bunks at night to seats by day.

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Sleeper on the Dacia Express   Dacia Express at Sighisoara

A 1, 2 or 3-bed sleeper with washbasin.  Larger photo.

 

The Dacia Express arrived at Sighisoara.  Sleepers convert from beds to private sitting rooms for day use.  Courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

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Bratislava to Ljubljana & Rijeka from €30...

Option 1, by day trains via Vienna, all year round...

Austrian 1st class car   Austrian 2nd class compartment

1st class open-plan seating as used on the Emona.  1st class seats in classic 6-seat  compartments are also available...

 

2nd class compartment as used on the Emona.  Seats in open plan cars are also available

Lunch in Slovenian restaurant car   Slovenian restaurant car

The Emona has a Slovenian restaurant car with inexpensive freshly-cooked meals, beer & wine...

Between Vienna & Villach the Emona travels over the famous Semmering Railway, opened in 1854 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  See the Vienna to Venice by train page for more information, photos & video.

Scenery from the train between Zagreb and Vienna

Scenery in Slovenia, between Maribor & Zidani Most....

Option 2, via Budapest...

Option 3, Bratislava to Ljubljana & Rijeka by direct Regiojet sleeper train, summer-only, 3 times a week...

Regiojet sleeper train at Prague Hlavni

Regiojet sleeper train at Prague Hlavni.

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Bratislava to Zagreb from €39...

Option 1, via Vienna...

Austrian restaurant car

Vienna to Zagreb on the Croatia:  This is an elegant Austrian restaurant car of the type used on the Croatia, a very civilised & comfortable train...

 

1st class open-plan seating as used on the Croatia.  1st class seats in classic 6-seat  compartments are also available...

 

2nd class compartment seating as used on the Croatia.  Seats in open plan saloon cars also available

Between Vienna & Villach the Croatia travels over the famous Semmering Railway, opened in 1854 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  See the Vienna to Venice by train page for more information, photos & video.

Scenery from the train between Zagreb and Vienna

Scenery in Slovenia, between Maribor & Zidani Most....

Scenery from the train between Zagreb and Vienna

Sevnica Castle, seen from the train between Zidani Most & Zagreb....

Option 2, via Budapest...

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Bratislava to Belgrade, Sofia, Montenegro...

The direct route via the Budapest-Belgrade line is currently blocked by major track upgrading, so this is the route I suggest in the meantime.

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Bratislava to Krakow & Warsaw...

Option 1, by daytime train...

The Budapest to Krakow train

Above, the Budapest-Bratislava-Krakow cars are at Katowice, attached to the rear of the Prague-Krakow Cracovia...

One of the Budapest to Krakow through cars   One of the Budapest to Krakow through cars

Hungarian Railways are starting to use their latest international cars on this route, with power sockets, wheelchair provision, bike spaces and an unusual interior layout with some open-plan seats with tables for four and several 5-seat semi-compartments like the one shown above right.  Click the images for larger photos Photos courtesy of Discoverbyrail.com.

Option 2, by sleeper train - the time-effective option...

Modern Polish sleeping-car

Modern Polish sleeping-car of the type used Prague-Warsaw.  Photo courtesy of Michael Wieselfahrer...

Modern Polish sleeper in day mode   Modern Polish sleeper in day mode   A deluxe sleeper on the Amsterdam to Warsaw train   Deluxe sleepers have a private shower & toilet

Standard sleeper in evening/morning mode with seats folded out.

 

Standard sleeper set up as a 3-berth.  It can also be sold as a single or double.

 

Deluxe sleeper, set up as a 2-berth, showing TV & wardrobe.

 

Deluxe sleeper:  En suite shower & toilet...

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Bratislava to Lviv & Kiev...
The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Kiev Pass

Boarding the Vienna to Kiev sleeping-car at Vienna Hbf.  Photo courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

Sleeper to Kiev about to leave Vienna   Ukrainian sleeper corridor   1, 2 or 3 bed Ukrainian sleeper compartment

The Vienna-Kiev sleeper about to leave Vienna Hbf... Courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

 

The sleeper corridor.  Courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

 

A comfortable 1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper.

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car has its wheels changed at Chop

The Vienna-Kiev sleeper is jacked up to have its bogies changed at Chop on the Ukrainian border.  Photo Helmut Uttenthaler.

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Kiev Pass

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car arrived Kiev Pass.  Photos courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

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Bratislava to Moscow & St Petersburg...
One of Russian Railways new international sleeping-cars   A 2-berth or 4-berth compartment in daytime mode

The sleeping-cars from Warsaw to Moscow are brand new Austrian-built ones owned by Russian Railways.  Each compartment converts from comfortable sofas to equally comfortable beds and can be used as either 1st class 2-berth with two lower berths or as 2nd class 4-berth with all four berths in use.  There are a shower and toilets at the end of the corridor.  Compartments have electronic key-card locks, and the cars are very smooth-riding.  The sleeper attendant can serve lovely Russian tea for around €0.50 a glass.  Highly recommended!

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Bratislava to Copenhagen & Scandinavia...
The EuroCity train Hungaria between Berlin & Budapest

Step 1, Bratislava to Hamburg on the EuroCity train HungariaPhotos courtesy of Siddhartha Verma.

2nd class seats on the EuroCity train Hungaria Berlin-Budapest   The restaurant car of the Hungaria from Berlin to Budapest

2nd class seats on the Hungaria...

 

Restaurant car on the Hungaria...

Scenery along the river Elbe

Between Prague & Dresden the train runs along the pretty river Elbe, or Labe in Czech.  One of Europe's major rivers, the Elbe eventually flows into the North Sea at Cuxhaven near Hamburg.  Watch for river boats, even the occasional paddle steamer.  See the photos & video of this part of the journey here.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Hamburg Hbf

Step 2, Hamburg to Copenhagen by Danish IC3...  This is the late afternoon Hamburg-Copenhagen IC3 leaving platform 5 at Hamburg Hbf on a busy summer day.  The yellow stripe above the windows indicates first class, located at one end of both 3-car units.  More information about the Hamburg-Copenhagen journey.

A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...   1st class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen

Boarding a Danish IC3 train at Hamburg Hbf...

 

1st class seats on an IC3 train.  Larger photo.

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bullet pointFind hotels in Bratislava & other cities

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all 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 feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...

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bullet pointTravel insurance & VPN

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

 

Confused.com logo

Always take out travel insurance...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

UK flagIn the UK, reliable insurers include Columbus Direct.

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

UK flagYou can use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

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

  US flag If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

A Curve card saves on foreign transaction fees...

 

Curve card

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate, then charge you a currency conversion fee.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month at time of writing.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.

How it works:  1. Download the app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself - I get some commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending it here because it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card - they'll give you £5 cashback through that link, too.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use it myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription, and I get a small commission to help support this site.

 


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