How to Travel Switzerland on a Budget

Switzerland is like Nature Theme Park and is famous for everything is expensive. When we visited Grindelwald and Zermatt, we figure out some tips to save money.

Grocery Store is Your Best Friend

Eating out in Switzerland is very expensive. We are from NYC and eating out at restaurants in NYC gets pricy, but we can always find inexpensive street foods like Tacos and Kebabs. We’ve seen those youtube videos saying how McDonald’s in Switzerland is expensive. It is in fact true. We paid about CHF 10 for one McDonald’s burger. (We tried it just for fun!)

Luckily, a grocery store like Coop Supermarket wasn’t super expensive. We found that it was like shopping at Whole Foods. We bought bread, fruits, and pre-made salads at the Coop Supermarket. We sometimes find those items on sale.

Pack Your Snacks and Lunch and Water Bottle

In Switzerland, you will probably spend your day visiting mountains and hiking. You will be hungry when there is no restaurant around. We recommend packing your own snacks, sandwiches, and water bottle. Water in Switzerland is very clean and you can fill your water bottle in public fountains. You can have a mini picnic with an amazing view.

*On our first day in Switzerland, we were about to buy a bottle of water at a train station kiosk, and we were shocked at how expensive the water was. Local people told us to go to the grocery store instead, but fortunately, we found a water fountain on the train platform.

Staying at Airbnb

The pricing of Airbnb is increasing (especially since the Pandemic) but if you can find a good deal, Airbnb could be wonderful because you can then cook and prepare your meals. We made cheese fondue when we were staying at Airbnb in Zermatt. It was so worth it! (Grocery Stores sell many types of cheese fondue mix)

Eat Breakfast Well ☕️

We stayed at a Hotel in Grindelwald (Hotel Bel-Air Eden). Breakfast was included. It was nothing fancy but we enjoyed our freshly brewed coffee, bread, cheese, boiled eggs, and yogurt. We ate very well so that we could enjoy our day without getting hungry too soon! The same thing applies when you are staying at Airbnb. We made sure to eat a healthy breakfast to start our day!

The hotel we stayed in Grindelwald ? Bel-Air Eden

Plan Your Trip Well

The Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Half Fare Card can help save money but you need to know exactly where you are going. I did a lot of research on whether we should get the Swiss Travel Pass or a Swiss Half Fare Card. It really depends on your itinerary. Since we stayed in Switzerland for 7 days we went with the Swiss Half Fare Card. I will briefly explain the Swiss Travel Pass and Swiss Half Fare Card below.

Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Half Fare Card

Swiss Travel Pass

From SBB website

The Swiss Travel Pass gives you unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat, as well as many other advantages. The price depends on the duration of the travel days.

  • Unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat
  • Unlimited travel on premium panorama trains (seat reservation fees and/or surcharges apply)
  • Unlimited use of public transport in more than 90 towns & cities
  • Free admission to more than 500 museumsLink opens in a new window.
  • Mountain excursions included: Rigi, Stanserhorn, and Stoos
  • Up to 50% discount on many other mountain excursions
  • Up to 30% discount on SBB RailAway offers link opens in new window. Available at all ticket counters within Switzerland.

Swiss Half Fare Card (CHF 120)

It is the ideal companion for short trips and excursions throughout Switzerland. The Swiss Half Fare Card has a validity of one month and can be obtained at nearly every Swiss railway station as well as all points of sale worldwide.

  • Up to 50% discount (50% discount on travels by train, bus, and boat, and most mountain railways)
  • 50% discount (50% discount on the use of public transportation in more than 90 towns and cities)
  • Only persons domiciled outside Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein are entitled to purchase this ticket
  • Children from their 6th up to their 16th birthday who are accompanied by at least one parent (holding a valid Swiss Half Fare Card and corresponding ticket) travel free of charge with the complimentary Swiss Family Card.
  • Children under 6 years of age travel free of charge
  • The Swiss Half Fare Card is available as an e-ticket
  • Please note: To receive the Swiss Family Card directly, add the child as a passenger under ‘Add passengers’ when you buy your Swiss Half Fare Card

Get SBB Mobile App to Buy Your Train Ticket

From SBB website

SBB Mobile App was very useful and user-friendly. We even got a sign-up bonus after we bought our first ticket through the app. Just make sure to buy the right ticket depending on what kind of discount pass you have to avoid getting a ticket or overpaying for your ticket. For example, we had Swiss Half Fare Cards so we need to make sure to buy 50% off tickets. You can always buy the train ticket the day you travel, but you will get some discount when you book your train early.

Pack Light

Most train stations in Switzerland conveniently have coin lockers. We used them a couple of times when we wanted to explore the area without carrying our big backpacks. The lockers offer different sizes and prices were depending on the size. We only brought one backpack each, so we were able to fit both backpacks in one small or medium-sized locker.

Switzerland was one of our favorite place we’ve visited. We can’t wait to visit again in the future. Feel free to comment on your Swiss travel tips to share.

More About Switzerland ? Grindelwald, Switzerland – Perfect 3-day Itinerary –

Looking for Travel Insurance? Check SafetyWing! We usually get SafetyWing’s Travel Insurance when we travel overseas.

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3 thoughts on “How to Travel Switzerland on a Budget”

  1. Pingback: Fun Things to Do in Zermatt, Switzerland | 2-day Itinerary – TOMOKA and TENZIN

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