Anyone who has learned or heard about Switzerland knows that this country is really, really expensive. Indeed, the cost of traveling to Switzerland such as the cost of booking hotel, eating or transportation is much higher than other countries in the same Schengen Area that I have visited. So, how to travel to Switzerland on a budget (how to visit Switzerland on a budget)? Let’s check out our Switzerland travel tips on how to save money in Switzerland trip, how to save money traveling in switzerland, how to travel Switzerland cheaply to find out the answer!
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Before going to Switzerland, I had to spend a lot of time searching for information as well as consulting the experiences of visitors who have been Switzerland before. In this article I will share with you how to saving money when traveling to Switzerland that I applied in the recently trip to Europe and it’s really works.
>> See also: 8-day Switzerland travel itinerary.
To clarify and in more detail how to travel to Switzerland on a budget (how to save money traveling in Switzerland), I will break this article into 3 sections: hotel cost, food cost and travel cost in Switzerland.
How to travel to Switzerland on a budget: Accommodation cost
When I was searching for a hotel or an Airbnb in Switzerland, I had to say “OMG”, why is it so expensive??
If you go as a backpacker, the cheapest hotel is also $35/night/person in a shared room bunk bed. But this type of room is extremely rare, most of it is about $70, $80/night. If you go with a family like me (including 4 adults), it is even more expensive.
I was traveled with my family of 4 adults, so after a while searching, it seems that Airbnb is the best option plus discounted credits so the cost will be significantly reduced. You should register for a new account on Airbnb via the refer link below, it will be discounted up to $40 for the first time of booking.
If you go with many people, each person registering for an account on Airbnb via the link above to book a room will save quite a lot of money. Not to mention that Airbnb is typically significantly cheaper than a regular hotel reservation.
The second hotel cost-saving tip is to rent a house from Vietnamese hosts in Switzerland. While in Lucerne I stayed at the house of Angela Nieder. Her house location is extremely convenient for transportation because there is a bus station in front of her house, the train station is a few hundred meters from her house and there also is a Coop supermarket nearby.
She is extremely enthusiastic and support my family at highest level, she also guided my family what to eat, best places to eat, where to go, what to do… When we return home, my friend Di praises her for being kind and enthusiastic.
However, some locations do not have Airbnb or Vietnamese hosts, the only option is to book a hotel. I rented a room for 4 people at Hotel Crystal (Agoda.com or Booking.com) for about $60/person including breakfast, with private bathroom.
For those who traveling alone or in couple, the price is about $40 – $70/ person in the shared room and shared toilet or a private room for 2 people.
The saving tip is that you can book through booking.com using this link to get a 10% discount on your total booking to save costs.
How to travel Switzerland cheaply: Food cost
To saving cost on food and drink in Switzerland, you should buy food at supermarkets such as bread, canned food, packaged meat …
The supermarket that I find most popular and present everywhere is Coop supermarket. You can find this supermarket right in train stations, airports or city centers, tourist areas, on hills…
In addition to Coop, there is also a Migros supermarket that is cheaper than Coop, but it is occasionally met, not widely covered like Coop.
Some typical examples like buying water in a supermarket are only 0.5 – 0.95 cents/1.5 liter bottle. But in the convenience stores or restaurants the price is usually CHF3.50/500ml bottle.
A meal for 1 person in the mid restaurant in Switzerland is also around CHF18/dish or more exluding tax. So buying food in the supermarket to eat or cook is the most optimal and economical choice. Me and my sister are addicted to the canned grilled chicken drumstick in Coop :”>, which cost CHF4, servedn with bread, quite delicious :”>
Generally, the price in Swiss supermarkets is cheap compared to buying from outside, but if compared to other countries in the region, sometimes you have to say “is Switzerland mad??”. What is it so expensive !!!
However, if you have traveled, you should enjoy the famous dishes of that destination. Don’t be too frugal in order to forget that our purpose of travel is to experience and enjoy.
Switzerland is famous for its Cheese fondue – cheese hotpot that you should definitely try. The price of this hotpot dish is about CHF30 per person, and usually restaurants will have a minimum order of 2 servings, or 1 serving per person.
How to save money in Switzerland trip: Transportation cost
When referring to trip cost in Switzerland, the transportation cost is one of the most headache problems. The public transport system in Switzerland is extremely modern and convenient. However, the cost of train, ferry, boat and cable car… for traveling is extremely expensive.
Traveling within Switzerland between regions, cities is mainly by train; In the city center, you can travel by subway, tram or bus. Going up the mountain is mainly by cable car, mountain train (climbing train).
To save travel costs when traveling around Switzerland, you should buy discount travel passes. These are the discount travel passes: Swiss Travel Pass, Half Fare Card, Tageskarte and SuperSaver Ticket.
Swiss Travel Pass is the most convenient but also the most expensive pass. With this type of Pass you can take all kinds of public transport such as trains, buses, boats and get a 50% discount on most types of cable cars, mountain trains in Switzerland. This Pass also gets a 25% discount ticket when you take the train to the Jungfraujoch mountain.
You can see the details of the benefits of the Swiss Travel Pass and buy it online here.
Half Fare Card as the name implies, with this card you will get a 50% discount on all public transport in Switzerland including: train, boat, buse, climbing train, cable car and ferry. Half Fare Card gets a 50% discount ticket price when you take the train to Jungfraujoch mountain. While Swiss Travel Pass is only 25% discount.
This Half Fare Card is valid for one month or one year from the date you choose when buying. The price of Half Fare Card is CHF120 with the valid time for 1 month.
You can buy this card online here or at the airport at SBB’s office in train stations. Like me, I bought at SBB train station office in Zurich airport. (SSB – Swiss Federal Railways).
Tageskarte is a discount ticket type for Swiss residents. This ticket is the most beneficial and cheapest of all the tickets I mentioned above. However, because it is only for the Swiss citizens, you will need to ask someone who living in Switzerland to buy it. This ticket is quite difficult to buy because you have to check available for different regions.
This ticket is priced at CHF46 which can be used within 24 hours for free on all types of public transport and get a 50% discount of the train ticket to Jungfraujoch mountain.
You can check the amount of tickets available for each region on this website if you get help from someone in Switzerland to buy it.
SuperSaver Ticket is a type of discount train ticket available on the website www.sbb.ch. This type of ticket is usually sold 1 month before the date of travel.
This type of ticket usually has a discount of 20% – 80% of the original price of the ticket. If you already have Swiss Half Fare Card, you will get an additional 50% discount on the promotional price.
Example: The train ticket from Interlaken to Bern cost CHF29, but if you buying Supersaver ticket, the price is only CHF8.8. If you have a Half Fare Card, the final fare is only CHF4.4. Too bargain, isn’t it !!!
I know when you read here, you will ask:
So, what’s type of discount pass should I buy when traveling to Switzerland?
To get the answer you need to make an excel sheet to calculate and compare your own traveling costs according to your own itinerary and schedule. You need to compare with each type of pass, how much is the total cost for my whole trip? From there you will know what type of pass you need to buy.
To see fares and get information for comparison, you just need to visit the website www.sbb.ch to check the fare for each route (including original fare, Supersaver tickets, tickets with Half Fare Card, and Supersaver fare included Half Fare Card).
The picture above is a comparison table that I followed Travelpx.net to decide which discount pass to buy to save traveling costs in Switzerland. As you can see, the Tageskarte ticket is the cheapest and most economical.
However, I did not ask my friend from Switzerland to buy Tageskarte ticket because she has been living in another city that not included in my itinerary. So the best solution is to buy Supersaver Ticket and Half Fare Card.
For the Supersaver Ticket, you have to buy online at least 1 month in advance to get it. When buying online, even though you haven’t bought Half Fare Card at that time, you still tick to choose Half Fare Card attached to get half the price discount. You can buy Half Fare Card online later or buy it at the airport. Like me, I bought it at Zurich airport.
Another reason why I chose Half Fare Card is that with this card you get a 50% discount of the train ticket to get to Jungfrau mountain (which included my Switzerland travel itinerary). While with the Swiss Travel Pass you only get 25% off.
Note: If you have chosen Half Fare Card when buying SuperSaver Ticket online, you have to buy this Half Fare Card before using SuperSaver Ticket. Because when checking the train ticket, the staff maybe will ask you to show the Half Fare Card first.
How to save money traveling in Switzerland? Train tickets to the top of Jungfrau
The website sbb.ch is also the website to buy tickets online to get to the top of Jungfrau mountain which has the highest railway station in Europe. However, I did not buy this online ticket, but bought it at the ticket booth at Lauternbrunnen train station.
Note when checking the fare to Jungfrau on sbb.ch, the fare looks cheaper than buying on https://www.jungfrau.ch because on sbb site with the default that you already have a Half Fare Card. If unchecked Half Fare Card you will see the exact price of this ticket.
If you go in the period of May 5 – October 21, this time will has Good Morning ticket to Jungfrau peak with the price of CHF135 (the regular price is CHF190). If you already have Half Fare Card, you will get an additional discount on the ticket price to CHF85.
Hopefully with my traveling cost saving tips when traveling to Switzerland, you will have a happy trip without burn your wallet =))
If you have any question, leave a comment below I will answer. If you have visited Switzerland, you will also leave a comment for everyone to know.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in Switzerland you can refer to
- 4G WiFi (SG Pick Up) for Europe
- 4G Portable WiFi for Europe from Uroaming
- 3G/4G SIM Card for Multiple European Countries (HK Airport Pick Up)
- Half Day Trip to Mount Titlis with Cable Car from Lucerne
- Jungfraujoch Day Tour from Lucerne
- Day Trip to Mount Titlis with Cable Car (Zurich Departure)
- Swiss Travel Pass
Are you looking for more Switzerland travel guide and top things to do in Switzerland: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Switzerland itinerary 8 days — What to do & How to spend 8 days in Switzerland by train perfectly? And here.