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Getting off Finnlines ferry to Travemünde at ~7am and need to reach Lübeck Hbf (main rail station). Finnlines web page specifies, that buses 30/40 and 31 can be used for that either directly, or via Lübeck-Travemünde Skandinavienkai bhf.

TL;DR don't, see end of this message

Lübeck public transportation page in English says that single travel tickets can be purchased from a bus driver. The amount is EUR3.20 per person either way.

What forms of payment does the bus driver in Lübeck accept? Should I have exact change, credit card, or have some rechargeable card? If the latter, how do I get one before arriving on German soil?

Is the ticket sold on bus valid to continue journey on a DB train (Lübeck-Travemünde Skandinavienkai bhf -> Lübeck hbhf)?

Solution When using Finnlines ferry without a vehicle, you will be transported to/from Finnlines terminal from/to a ferry by a shuttle bus. If you kindly ask the shuttle driver to drop you off at the Lübeck-Travemünde Skandinavienkai bhf, they will comply (and open a special staff-only gate that leads from the harbor to the pedestrian underpass below the rail bed). You can buy rail tickets at the ticket machine on the station platform. US issued credit card was accepted by the ticket machine to the right (facing away from the rails). Hope, that helps.

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Validity in trains first:

Yes, local buses and trains in Schleswig-Holstein (where Lübeck is) have a common ticket and fare system (http://www.nah.sh/fahren/fahrkarten-und-tarife/sh-tarif/). There are some exceptions (certain buses in Flensburg, certain buses on islands, certain ferries), but it shouldn't be a problem for you.

Nonetheless, I recommend not using the train you found. While the bus-train combination is 3 minutes faster (26min vs 29min), the buses there are much more frequent than the train, and the the available time at the train station can be as short as 3 minutes. The train station is not big, but if the bus is late (harbor...), you'll have to wait another hour (at least, if you wait for the train, instead of getting on the next bus)

About the payment in buses:

Hard cash is pretty much universally accepted (other than some long-distance buses where booking online is the only option, and things like private company transportation for employees where other people can buy in too).
If you don't have the exact amount, it shouldn't be a problem; as long as the amount is reasonable: Meaning, no 100€ notes or something like that. They won't necessarily have enough change money, and they'll be wary of counterfeits.

Some companies do have rechargeable cards, others don't, but as said you don't need one.

Credit cards (or any kind of bank card) won't be accepted.

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    Considering the price is €3.20, even a €20 note would be pushing the driver’s patience. I would suggest turning up with either coins or a banknote no larger than €10. Other than that +1 – Jan Jun 14 '17 at 19:11

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