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Top 7 Tips on Travelling in Switzerland on a Budget

by in Lifestyle on 17th July, 2018

Summer is here and holidays are just around the corner! So if you are planning a holiday to the beautiful country Switzerland, which as we all know can be expensive, here are some of our top money saving tips! Recently we went to Interlaken, Switzerland for 4 nights and 5 days.

Tip #1 – Travel Passes

Find out the things you definitely want to do and tally up the cost of all the train journeys and activities that you’re planning to do. Find out the cost of the travel passes (Swiss pass vs Regional pass) that are available and then see which is cheaper. Now, this issue really is going to be unique to your travel plans. However if you are looking at itineraries similar to ours or even are using ours, then we recommend the Bernese-Oberland Pass purchasable online and also at Bern train station. Some things to consider about travel passes and based your itinerary:

  1. Convenience – the Bernese-Oberland regional pass seemed to be essentially a ticket for all trains and boats in the Bernese-Oberland region and especially the Interlaken area. Busses are also covered (however not all companies). ‘Pro-stop’ company busses were included with the pass. The convenience is that you don’t have to pay or spend time buying tickets for each journey you make (which really saves time). The only activity from our itinerary that wasn’t fully covered was the Jungfraujoch trip, but the tickets were discounted to CHF.99 each with the Bernese-Oberland regional pass.
  2. What’s covered? A huge amount! Check the map of what’s covered for you here.
  3. Going off your original plan? Impromptu trip? Your regional pass will likely cover your extra unplanned transport expense!

Bonus Tip!

What’s also worth looking into is Airport transfer passes to go along with the Bernese Oberland regional pass. This can be a cheaper option than purchasing one-way tickets for airport transfers.)

Top Tip #2 – AirBnB

We found that Airbnb prices were a lot cheaper than hotels in Interlaken (not in Zurich though!). With facilities to cook your own food, you have the flexibility of not having to eat out all the time, rather only when you actually want to. Food can be expensive in Switzerland, so personally, we only chose to eat out food we know will be special in Switzerland (e.g. Cheese Fondue – there are halal versions for Muslim travellers, check out our blog).

We had a simple breakfast with toasts, made our own sandwiches packed for lunch, fruits for snacks and pasta for dinner! It will also save you time to eat when and wherever you want, with whatever beautiful view you like.

Top Tip #3 – Google maps is your friend!

Google maps are incredible for travelling to a lot of destinations as long as you have 4G going. Some UK phone plans cover Europe without extra costs (check your plan). So navigating around with google maps should save you from getting lost. Train and bus times with platform number were well accurate. Check your google maps before you head out. It could save you time! It will save you having to buy local maps…. If anyone ever does that anymore!

Just remember to carry with you a power pack for your phone, as you will definitely need it if you are using phone data regularly. (Check out our battery pack review here.

Top Tip #4 – Carry a water bottle

It’s ridiculous how much we can end up spending on buying water bottles and disposing of so much plastic waste! In Zurich and Interlaken there are drinkable (unless otherwise stated) water fountains that you can fill up at. This is really handy because if you visit Switzerland in the summer it can get baking hot. So water will be your best friend!

 Top Tip #5 – Airmiles

So this tip is about playing the long game. Collecting Airmiles can save you a great deal on flights to Switzerland. In particular, if you fly with British Airways, being a part of their Avios Airmiles rewards is a great way to save lots of money. How much you say? Well… We paid £70 in total for two people to fly from London to Geneva and then from Zurich back to London again! The great thing about Avios Airmiles is that as long as you have a transaction once every 3 years… They don’t seem to expire and there are numerous ways to collect the points.

  1. Fly with BA… Obviously.
  2. Shopping at Tesco /Tesco fuel and using their club card and setting the rewards for this to Avios Airmiles and linking it to your BA account.
  3. Shell drivers club and setting the rewards to Avios air miles
  4. Purchasing your routine online products but going through Avios’s website (many different retailers reward your spend with Avios if you go through the Avios website).
  5. American Express BA credit card rewards your spending using their card with Avios Airmiles.

Now a super clocking up if Avios Airmiles could be going to Avios’s website selecting to shop at Tesco Direct (online), using your Tesco club card set to collect Avios, and purchasing using an American Express British Airways card!  The points can really stack up for doing very little extra when spending money on things you would have ordinarily bought!

Top tip #6 – Time of your booking

Off-seasons are always good as most of us know but also booking your flights and accommodations well in advance will save you some quid.  Right before the holiday season and during weekdays can also be a good time to visit, as you can experience fewer crowds of tourists. Do put some time to research by reading various forums.

Top tip #7 – Buy tickets before boarding

Now, this seems like an obvious thing but we saw people during our trip who didn’t buy the ticket before boarding the train (or any travel pass). They had to pay a lot more if not double than the normal ticket price to the ticket checker. Plan your journey, check the train time and get to the station on time. Simple!

It’s not always necessary to have a lot of money in order to travel. There are many ways you can make it affordable by knowing money-saving hacks, staying with your friends, backpacking, taking road trips etc. It’s the experience, people, culture and the journey that makes travelling really worthwhile!

Farzana

Farzana

Farzana is a self-described wanderlusting wife with a travel enthusiastic husband, together they enjoy travelling to adventurous places, beautiful landscapes, meeting new people, learning about new cultures and the diversity this beautiful world has to offer. They share their experiences and the lessons they learn through their journeys. Which they aim and hope to inspire others through to be more adventurous travellers and be more mindful of the beautiful creations of this world that God has blessed us with.