Switzerland’s not on your Bucket List on a Budget?
If traveling on a budget has left you thinking you can’t afford Switzerland, I’ve got a few tips and tricks up my sleeve to help make this bucket list on a budget a dream come true. Switzerland is magical any season of the year and can be enjoyed no matter your bucket list budget. I’ll show you how we had FREE entrance fees to museums all over Switzerland. If they weren’t free, many museums gave us a discount. Stay captivated! The adventure awaits, so keep reading.
New Year in Switzerland!?! We were beyond excited! I never dreamed it could happen! I’m a bucket list on a budget kind of dreamer.Naturally, I started planning immediately. I researched airfare using my tried and tested budget airfare hacks. I confirmed the exchange rate against our local currency (British Sterling Pound-GBP to the Swiss Franc-CHF). The exchange rate looked good! At the time the CHF was almost equal with the US Dollar, so slightly in our favor using the GBP. The excitement was mounting! I was dreaming of Alpine adventures followed by fondue, and gluhwein. Airfare was not too bad for budget airlines during the holiday break, so we bought tickets straight away. My bucket list adventure was really going to happen!Don’t be overwhelmed by the more than 480 free museum admissions included in your train ticket.Click To Tweet
Next, I started researching in-country transportation. I nearly hit the panic button. A single trip from Basel to St. Gallen was more than the price of our round-trip airfare! Reality had just set in. Were we going to be able to accomplish this bucket list dream on a budget like ours? I quickly emailed my friend. I must be missing something. It couldn’t be THAT expensive. After some investigating, she actually ended up at the train station asking all the right questions. Come to find out, it was THAT expensive for single tickets! With her help, we found out what I’m calling
The Switzerland Bucket List on a Budget Tip No. 1 The Swiss Travel Pass.
The great thing about the Swiss Travel Pass is that aside from the price (it might seem a bit pricey, hang with me, K?) it offers so many perks! There are several passes to choose from, so here’s what you do:
Go to the Swiss Travel Pass Site.*
Read through all the Swiss Travel Pass choices & pick the one that fits your needs, plans and fulfills your bucket list on a budget dream. We chose the “All-In-One “ ticket. It’s the one I recommend. Here’s why:
=Unlimited travel by rail, road and waterway
=Free travel on most panorama routes
=50% discount off most mountain railways
=Free travel on public transport in 75 towns and cities
=Free admission to more than 480 museums
=Children under the age of 16 travel free of charge when accompanied by at least one parent holding the Swiss Family Card. At least one parent must have a Swiss Travel System ticket.
Buy the Swiss Travel Pass at least a few weeks (if not longer) BEFORE you leave.*
This ticket is cheapest when you purchase it prior to arrival. Ours was sent via email & we printed it (read their detailed instructions, it’s important). Getting it early allows time to plan your itinerary and check out all the free and discounted admissions you get with the ticket.
Before you arrive in Switzerland, download the SBB app (it’s free) on your phone.
The app is SO AWESOME! I’ve traveled on a lot of trains in Europe and this was by far the best train experience ever. This app made it so streamlined and simple. Yes, we had to run for a few trains, but that was our fault not theirs! Swiss transportation is timed so well (it is the land that perfected time, isn’t it!?). If you are efficient, you will have seamless transfers between trains, buses and ferries. If you miss your connections, just enjoy the view for a few more minutes. It’s always lovely!
Don’t be overwhelmed by the more than 480 free museum admissions included in your ticket.
The list you are given with your ticket is organized by city. While it’s a bit time consuming, it’s worth it to check out the different choices. You can use MySwitzerland.com to narrow down which fit your itinerary (search by city) and travel dreams. Using these together worked great for us.You can also check out my posts on Bern, Basel, and St. Gallen.
Just use your SBB app to figure out your transportation route. It will tell you what platform you depart from, and the platform on which you arrive. This helps you estimate how quickly you need to move when you need to change trains or catch a bus or ferry. I’d rather wait for a train than run and miss the train! (Train Pro Tip: The time posted is the time of departure. Many trains will be waiting on the platform and you can hop on several minutes before departure. Just check the platform signs, or train personnel if you are not sure. You don’t want to end up in Gdansk!)
Once the transportation is sorted, get ready to plan out activities including some of those 480 museums! That’s an upcoming post. While you wait for that, why not check out European Airfare Secrets, to help get the most for your money, and Keep Calm with Just a Carry-On: Packing Tips for International Travel, to get the most in your carry on.
* If you are traveling elsewhere in Europe, you may find Rail Europe to be a good resource for train tickets as well.
P.S. Here’s some Zurich flight deals for you!