How to travel to Switzerland on a budget? — 3 tips on how to save money in Switzerland trip & how to travel Switzerland cheaply?

Anyone who has studied or heard about Switzerland knows that it is quite costly. Indeed, the expense of visiting Switzerland, such as the cost of reserving a hotel, eating, or transportation, is significantly more than in other Schengen Area countries that I have visited. So, how does one go to Switzerland on a budget (how does one go to Switzerland on a budget)? To discover out, read our Switzerland travel advice on how to save money in Switzerland, how to save money while in Switzerland, and how to explore Switzerland inexpensively!

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An aerial view of the Old Town Wall in Lucerne, Switzerland.

 

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Driving in Switzerland | how to travel to switzerland on a budget

 

Switzerland
Winter in the Swiss Alps

Before traveling to Switzerland, I had to spend a lot of time researching information and studying the experiences of previous tourists. In this post, I’ll show you how to save money when going to Switzerland, which I used on a recent trip to Europe and it truly works.

Wengen, one of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland

 

Catch a train to Gornergrat
The train from Zermatt to Gornergrat

 

Skiiing in Zermatt

To clarify and go into further detail on how to go to Switzerland on a budget (how to save money when traveling in Switzerland), I’ll divide this post into three sections: hotel costs, food costs, and travel costs in Switzerland.

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Lurcerne Old Town

 

Railway to Jungfraujoch
Continue the trip by catching train to Jungfraujoch

How to travel to Switzerland on a budget: Accommodation cost

When I was looking for a hotel or an Airbnb in Switzerland, I couldn’t help but think, “OMG, why is everything so expensive?”

If you go as a backpacker, the cheapest hotel is likewise $35 per night/person in a shared room bunk bed. However, this sort of accommodation is exceedingly unusual, with most of them costing between $70 and $80 per night. It is much more costly if you go with a family like mine (four people).

My hotel in Wengen, look at me, do you think me like a experience character in a Discovery Channel footage!

 

Hotels in Zermatt

 

Lago Lucerne Hotel
Lago Lucerne Hotel, a luxury hotel in Luzerne

I was traveling with my family of four people, so after some research, it appears that Airbnb is the best option, with discounted credits that would greatly decrease the cost. You should create a new Airbnb account using the link provided below; your first booking will be reduced by up to $40.

meggenhorn-castle-vineyard-lake-lucerne-switzerland
Zermatt hotel

If you go with a large group, each individual who registers for an account on Airbnb using the link above to rent a room will save a significant amount of money. Not to mention that Airbnb is usually substantially less expensive than a traditional hotel reservation.

The second hotel cost-cutting idea is to rent a home in Switzerland from Vietnamese hosts. I stayed at Angela Nieder’s house in Lucerne. Her residence is incredibly handy for transportation because there is a bus stop directly in front of her house, a railway station a few hundred meters away, and a Coop grocery nearby.

From the balcony where you can enjoy a wonderful view and close to nature, fresh air over Rotsee lake (shared with 1 other guest room).

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.

An Airbnb Designer Flat with fantastic view in city center of Lucerne

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 view from Hotel Crystal

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…

Coop supermarket in Lugano

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.

Migros

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 :”>

Burger in Coop

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.

fondue hotpot (1)
Fondue hotpot

fondue hotpot (1)

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.

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Cable car

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).

Lucerne Railway Station inside
Inside a station | how to travel to switzerland on a budget
Luzern Engelberg Express
Luzern Engelberg Express to Lucerne | how to travel to switzerland on a budget

 

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Self driving in Switzerland

 

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Trolleybus in Lucerne

 

vbl lucerne bus
VBL Luzern bus

 

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Boat | how to travel to switzerland on a budget
Mount First

When traveling across Switzerland, you could get discounted travel permits to save money on transportation. The following discount travel passes are available: Swiss Travel Pass, Half Fare Card, Tageskarte, and SuperSaver Ticket.

Swiss travel pass | how to save money in switzerland trip

The Swiss Travel Pass is both the most handy and the most costly pass. With this sort of Pass, you may utilize all modes of public transportation, including trains, buses, and boats, as well as receive a 50% discount on most forms of cable cars and mountain trains throughout Switzerland. This Pass also includes a 25% discount on train tickets to the Jungfraujoch mountain.

Swiss Travel Pass price list. | how to save money in switzerland trip

Half Fare Card

As the name suggests, the Half Fare Card provides a 50% discount on all public transportation in Switzerland, including trains, boats, buses, climbing trains, cable cars, and ferries. When you use the Half Fare Card, you will receive a 50% reduction on the ticket price to Jungfraujoch mountain. While the Swiss Travel Pass only provides a 25% discount.

Swiss Half Fare Card

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 a valid time of 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

Tageskarte is a sort of cheap ticket available to Swiss citizens. This is the most advantageous and least expensive of the tickets I listed above. However, because it is only available to Swiss nationals, you will need to ask someone who lives in Switzerland to purchase it for you. This ticket is tough to purchase since you must verify availability for different areas.

Tageskarte ticket | how to save money in switzerland trip

This ticket costs CHF46 and may be used for free on all modes of public transportation within 24 hours, as well as a 50% discount on the train ticket to the Jungfraujoch mountain.

If you obtain aid from someone in Switzerland to buy it, you may check the quantity of tickets available for each region on this page.

SuperSaver Ticket

Supersaver ticket

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.

SuperSaver ticket has a % black sign next to it as shown. | how to save money in switzerland trip

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 !!!

When buying a SuperSaver ticket plus a Half Fare Card, the final ticket price is very cheap.

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).

Price comparison table of all types of discount Swiss travel pass.

The image above is a comparison chart that I used from Travelpx.net to choose which discount pass to purchase in order to save money when traveling in Switzerland. As you can see, the Tageskarte ticket is the most cost-effective.

However, I did not invite my Swiss friend to get a Tageskarte ticket because she lives in another city that was not on my itinerary. As a result, purchasing a Supersaver Ticket and a Half Fare Card is the best option.

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.

Train-to-Zermatt-Switzerland
Train to Zermatt, Switzerland | how to travel switzerland cheaply

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 flag that everyone wants to line up to take pictures with at the top of Jungfrau Mountain.

The website sbb.ch is also where you can buy tickets to the summit of the Jungfrau mountain, which contains Europe’s highest train station. However, I did not purchase this ticket online, but rather in the ticket counter at Lauternbrunnen railway station.

On the train to Jungfrau Mountain | how to travel switzerland cheaply

When checking the ticket to Jungfrau on sbb.ch, the fare seems to be less expensive than purchasing on https://www.jungfrau.ch since the sbb site assumes you already have a Half Fare Card. If Half Fare Card is unchecked, you will see the exact price of this ticket.

Cable car for skiers

If you visit between May 5 and October 21, you can get a Good Morning ticket to Jungfrau peak for CHF135 per person (the regular price is CHF190). If you already have a Half Fare Card, you will receive a further reduction in the ticket price to CHF85.

Jungfrau Wengen village

 

Jungfraubahn

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.

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