Switzerland on a budget: 10 ways to save money when travelling in Switzerland
Switzerland Travel Wanting to plan a trip to Switzerland and thinking it might just be too expensive? Here are 10 Tips, Tricks and some useful information on how to save money on your journey to the country of watches, cheeses, chocolates and mountains! Have Fun!
Transportation can be a killer for your wallet when traveling in Switzerland. Therefore, the first 3 tips are all about how you can save money when using the public transport within the country.
1. DOWNLOAD THE SBB APP AND BOOK YOUR TRAIN TICKETS IN ADVANCE
The app will allow you to purchase a train ticket in advance for up to 50% off!!
SBB is the national railway company of Switzerland. SBB stands for Schweizerische Bundes Bahnen, German for Swiss Federal Railway. If you get into the French or Italian speaking part of Switzerland you will find the abbreviation CFF (French Chemins de fer fédéraux suisses) or FFS (Italian Ferrovie federali svizzere).
--> for more information about the Swiss Railway System and detailed instructions on purchasing tickets click here.
2. GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR FULLY PAID TRAIN TICKETS
The tickets for longer train rides are valid for the routing from A to Z and can be used within the entire day. Which means if you want to get from A to Z, why not stop in D, J and P? I recommend you pick trains that have stops in cities along the way to your destination, giving you the opportunity to make periodic stops and enjoy the sights – all in one Ticket!
--> for example click here
3. USE BLA BLA CAR AND UBER
For some longer trips it might be convenient to check out BLA BLA CAR. BLA BLA car is the world’s leading long distance carpooling service. It allows drivers with empty seats to connect with travelers in need of a ride going to the same destination.
For example a trip from Zürich to St. Gallen by train at a regular price will cost you 31 CHF (30USD), but on Bla Bla car you will find rides as cheap as 10 USD!!
Uber is available in all major cities. Granted, they are still more expensive than anywhere else in the world, but nevertheless, they are half the price of a regular taxi!
The Culinary Experience
4. EAT AT VERY LOW PRICES From traditional St. Galler Bratwurst to fresh salads over to the most exquisite chocolates! Switzerland has a delicious and diverse cuisine, but unfortunately eating out is costly. The good news is:
You can buy healthy and varied food in any of the regional markets.
There are two main Grocery Stores: Migros and Coop. They are both very high in quality and you will find everything you are looking for at very affordable, if not low prices.
5. FREE WATER FOR EVERYBODY
A glass of water at any restaurant will cost you at least 3 USD – which I am sure anyone will agree is simply ridiculous.
The good news is the water in Switzerland is nearly the purest on earth and water out of any faucet is perfectly drinkable. Not only is there clean water pouring out of all taps, but also every public fountain in the country produces crystal – clear drinkable water – and it’s FREE of CHARGE FOR ANYONE. Simply look for them in any town square, by many churches and along the various hiking paths.
(if for some reason the water is not drinkable you WILL ALWAYS see a sign saying: KEIN TRINKWASSER)
6. WHEN EATING OUT: DO’S AND DON’T’S
AVOID Starbucks, McDonalds, Subway, Burger King
These all might be cheap places to go to back home, but not in Switzerland.
A couple of examples:
A cup of medium Latte in a Starbucks in Zürich will cost you: 6.00 USD
A medium size Big Mac menu at Mc Donalds will cost you: 13.00 USD
For almost the same price you can go to a local restaurant that will serve you freshly prepared food. Always ask for the menu of the day which mostly includes a salad or soup, a choice of main course and a dessert.
SIGHTSEEING FOR FREE!
7. GO HIKING Switzerland has beautiful hikes throughout the country, with varying levels of difficulty. All you need to do is put on some comfy shoes, get out there and enjoy the stunning views!
--> for more info: Helpful Apps to download before your trip click here
8. Walk WALK WALK
Switzerland is small and so are the cities. Instead of buying expensive tram or bus tickets get yourself a map of the city or use your phone’s google maps. Plan the sights you would like to visit and walk from one to the next – you will not only enjoy the beauty of the city, but also save a lot of money! And as a nice extra – free exercise with breathtaking views – who wouldn’t want that =)
Google Maps Nice to Know - Google Maps Offline YES! Google Maps works also offline! Download the Google Maps App at home or in a WIFI area.
option 1: Once you have chosen your itinerary, put it into Google Maps while online. Do not close the app and leave the GPS on (you can turn off the WIFI and even put your phone on Flight Mode!) This will allow you to follow your chosen route even when not online. For example a Zürich Sigtseeing walking trip:
option 2: open your Google Maps App and go to the option selection (upper left side on your phone). You will see the option:
offline maps --> Select offline maps (pic 1)
select your own map --> press on it (pic 2)
--> you can now chose the area of which you wish to download the offline map!
and there you go, you have an offline GPS Map!! Easy and Free!!!
9. SWIM IN ONE OF THE MANY GORGEOUS PRISTINE LAKES If you are travelling to Switzerland in the summer, don’t waste your money on an entrance for a public swimming pool. Switzerland has many beautiful extremely well kept lakes and you can swim in all of them! Park areas around the lakes are all public which means you can simply lay out your towel, relax and enjoy the summer day.
→ For more information about lakes in your vicinity go to https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/lakes.html
10. Your Switzerland Vacation – Helpful Homepages and Apps to Download Today!
Swiss Hike (App) If you have an iPhone this is an other good app: “Swiss Hike” by Switzerland Tourism. It enables you to call up to 32 attractive hikes offline!
Switzerland Mobility (App) In order to look up for hiking routes and other fun outdoor activities I recommend the App “Switzerland Mobility”. It is a great app, very user friendly and has lots of recommended routes for all kinds of outdoor activities.