We will be arriving at Keleti station on a Sunday evening. Do our train tickets also cover our metro ride to our hotel or do we need to purchase separate metro tickets? If we need to purchase metro tickets, will the machines accept euros or chip & signature credit cards? Isl there be a money exchange open near Keleti on Sunday night? I don't want to arrive at Keleti station and have trouble purchasing our metro tickets. I've read that the ATM machines at airport and train station do not have favorable exchange rates so would like to avoid using ATM at the train station, if possible.
Your train tickets do not cover the metro, and there's a BKK ticket office on the next level down from the train platforms--not sure of the hours, you might check the website. I've only used forints to buy metro tickets from a machine. I have used the ATM at Keleti, same level as platforms, though I don't recommend exchanging money as that is never favorable and you won't want to be wandering around the Keleti area at night dragging suitcases. Since I travel solo I prefer to order some forints ahead of time, 10,000 is a good start to get your metro passes, add another 10,000 to cover a meal.
The ATM at the train station I believe (could be wrong) is an independent machine and not a bank machine (still could be wrong) so I wouldn't pull a lot of money out of it as the exchange rate may not be that good. But it would suffice. At the front of the station in the center near the front wall are stairs that will take you to the metro station. There should be ticket machines down there. There is also a help center and ticket windows, but if you arrive late all will be closed I suspect.
You can also purchase tickets directly from the cops checking that you have tickets. But do this before you pass the control, not after. They charge 450 forints I believe (for a 300 forint ticket).
None of these solutions are particularly good for a late arrival. If it were me, immediately after getting off the train I would pull out my cell phone and call City Taxi. The rate to most of the tourist hotels will be under $8 in Pest and under $10 in Buda. City Taxi's number is: +36 1 211 1111. The phone will ring, you will hear a recording in Hungarian and then in English, then a person will answer in Hungarian; to which you say, "Good Evening" and they will immediately switch to English. Ask them where to meet the taxi (that changed after the recent remodel and I don't want to tell you wrong) If they tell you on the Kerepesi út side then that's the doors on the left as you face the front wall of the station. If they tell you the Thököly út side, then it is the right side doors as you face the front wall of the station. City Taxi will take a credit card, which takes care of the whole ATM / Forints issue.
I checked the website and the window is open Monday-Sunday from 5:30 to 22:00.
But I will agree that taking a taxi might just be easier, especially if it's late in the evening when you arrive. James gave me the very same info on my first trip to Budapest in 2014 and City Taxi has become my taxi of choice (returned 2 more times since)--my first call was so easy, they asked if I could see the Burger King, yes, then told me to walk to the right and look for taxi #123 and the driver said, "You are Christa?" and off we went--direct route to hotel, they are quite honest.
James--you tempt me, you really do! I spent much of my afternoon dreaming about apartments, now to save my pennies for the inevitable day when I can't stand just being a visitor.
You will need about $65k for the minimum personal use / AirBnb subsidized apartment. The payments on the second mortgage on your home would be maybe $6000/yr while the net on the apartment might be $2000 to $4000/yr if you choose wisely. To that add certain tax advantages and the savings in hotel rooms and you should break even at the low end to pay for your airline tickets twice a year at the high end. Don't forget appreciation of the asset.
An alternate is find an AirBnb that will provide a heavy discount for 4 weeks or more prepaid, use it or loose it. Might save you 10 or 15 euro a night. Then you sublet to recouped the investment.
Thanks everyone for your kind responses. It sounds like City Taxi is the way to go. We will be a party of 4 adults and will each have a piece of luggage. Are the taxis big enough to handle that size group and luggage?
When you call, tell them its for four and I am pretty sure they will send a van. The cars are all Toyota Camry sort of sized.