When I was planning for my trip to Switzerland, I was aware that Switzerland is an expensive place to visit, so I did some research on how to save money during the trip. I am thankful the internet has many useful articles and tips on saving money in Switzerland. Yes, those reviews and articles on the high costs of a holiday in Switzerland are true.
Below are 9 ways I managed to save money during my holiday in Switzerland.
1. Using the website of SBB, the national railway company of Switzerland, I calculated the costs of the train tickets needed to travel from one place to another in Switzerland. After a comparison I decided to buy the Swiss half-fare travel card. There are a few types of travel pass available, so the interested readers would need to decide which is the best deal for themselves.
2. We travelled in second class on the trains when travelling from one place to another in Switzerland. When purchasing the train tickets from the ticketing counter, the ticketing personnel would ask if the passenger would want to travel in first class (class 1) or second class (class 2). We chose second class because it was cheaper. I am unable to make a comparison between first class and second class, but suffice to say I find the second class carriages clean and comfortable.
3. The tap water from the hotels in Switzerland is good for drinking. Every morning we would fill up our bottles with the tap water before going out. This way we did not need to order any drinks if we had a meal at the cafe or eatery.
4. Sometimes I would refill my bottle at one of the water fountains. The articles and travel guides I read before the trip wrote that the water from the water fountains in Switzerland is good for drinking.
5. For most of our meals in Switzerland we bought ready-to-eat food from the supermarkets. I remember buying food such as pasta, sandwich, roasted chicken, salad, and smoked salmon. I would not comment on the taste but it was certainly cheaper than a meal in an eatery or even fast-food restaurant in Switzerland.
6. Some of the hotels we stayed in Switzerland did not include breakfast when we booked them. When the hotel staff asked if we would want to include breakfast for an extra fee, we declined as it was cheaper to buy milk and sandwiches from the supermarkets nearby.
7. The hotels we stayed in Bern and Geneva gave us a transport card that allowed us free travels on the local public transport, mainly trams and buses, for travelling within the 2 cities. We used that to visit the Bear Pit (Barengraben) in Bern, and Carouge, a district in Geneva.
8. Exploring the towns in Switzerland on foot is also one way I used to save money during the trip. When I had decided on the Swiss towns to visit, I downloaded the walking trails recommended for those towns. The internet has many of such walking trails. The tourist information centre would also have a city map with their recommended walking trail. The map I got from the tourist information centre in Bern marked out the locations of the water fountains in Bern, making it easy for tourists to find the water fountains.
9. During my holiday in Switzerland I relied on the free WiFi offered by the hotels, train stations, supermarkets, fast-food restaurants, and so on. I have to admit this is not suitable for those who want to stay connected all the time because not all places in Switzerland offer free WiFi, and sometimes I failed to connect to the free WiFi for unknown reasons. Thus I would suggest to those who want to stay connected constantly to consider activating data roaming or purchasing a local prepaid SIM card.
I did not sum up the amount of money I saved but I believe it was a good amount. As mentioned above, there are many articles available on the internet on how to save money during a holiday in Switzerland.
In summary, the 9 ways I used to save money during my holiday in Switzerland are
- Buying a travel pass
- Traveling in second class
- Drinking from the tap
- Drinking from the water fountains
- Buying food from supermarkets
- Declining to add on hotel breakfast
- Utilizing free public transport
- Exploring on foot
- Using free WiFi
I hope the above methods I shared, based my personal experience, are useful money-saving tips for the readers who are thinking of, or would be, visiting Switzerland.