Great Tips to Tour Switzerland on a Budget
If you’re interested in (or are already planning) a trip to Switzerland, you’ve surely heard tales of its majestic mountains, tasty cheeses, milky chocolates, stylish watches, and—insane prices. As one of the most orderly and beautiful countries in the world, Switzerland is sure to be quite expensive, right?
Although some prices you can come by when visiting this astonishing land might be a bit of a culture shock, the truth is that traveling to Switzerland doesn’t necessarily have to empty your pockets. Whether you’re planning to just visit Basel on a budget or want to see a little bit of everything this country has to offer, you can organize this tour in a way that will save you a lot of money and still allow you to make this visit count.
Grab a pen and a piece of paper and start taking notes: here’s how to travel to Switzerland when you’re on a budget.
Use ride-sharing services to save on transportation costs
Plains, trains, and automobiles can prove to be very expensive solutions when you’re about to travel to any new country, and Switzerland is no exception. If you want to cut the costs and have some fun along the way instead of buying some expensive tickets, take the time to investigate the available ride-sharing services to save a lot on transportation alone.
Ride-sharing isn’t only a great way to travel on a budget, but also a unique opportunity to meet new people and, who knows, maybe even create lasting connections and friendships. You might yet get to meet a Swiss coming back home this way, which is a great occasion to talk to a local about everything you wanted to know before even crossing the state border.
Go for hostels and couchsurfing instead of hotels
When a colleague and myself went to visit Bern a few years back, we made one of the best decisions of our lives when we opted for couchsurfing instead of pouring a significant sum into classic hotel accommodation.
Whether you decide to search for a perfect place on websites such as Airbnb or you intend to employ some of your connections to find a flat to crash in for a time, this option will save you a ton of money. Hostels in Switzerland are also quite presentable, so you can take your pick among the available ones easily online.
Once again, just as is the case with ride-sharing transportation, staying out of hotels will not only keep you on a budget, but will also create situations where you can meet and greet locals and learn a lot about their homeland.
Check the cities you’re visiting for low-cost public transportation
If you’ve grown accustomed to touring the cities in taxies or rent-a-car vehicles, traveling on a budget in Switzerland is not going to work for you. Luckily, there is a pretty awesome alternative out there, and, believe it or not, it is actually the official public transport.
Even if you’re not a fan of public transportation in your own country, it’s challenging to find anything bad to say about the way the Swiss handle theirs. The means of transport available are crazy versatile, the network is exceptionally rich and ramified, and ticket fees are reasonable and easy to buy inside and outside of the vehicle itself.
Who’d believe that riding public transportation could be an adventure you’d enjoy? Give it a try and it will not disappoint.
Buy and prepare your own food to save precious cash
Brace yourself for this next advice because here comes the harsh truth: the food in Switzerland is pretty expensive, especially if you enjoy trying the local cuisine in bars and restaurants. Although you should definitely indulge yourself and go for one meal in a place like this, if you keep up with this practice you’ll be out of money very, very quickly.
Instead of spending precious savings like this, plan to buy ingredients in a local supermarket and prepare your own food in your chosen accommodation. If you happen to have a roommate who can give you an advice or two on how to prepare some dishes like the Swiss do it, even better.
Follow the good old “When in Rome” principle
One of the first things you’ll notice in Switzerland is that meat is very expensive and the locals eat a lot of vegetables, so be sure to consider doing the same. Another point to have in mind: having a pint of beer will cost you significantly more than you might expect, so if you’re up for a few rounds, stick to hostel bars where you won’t be charged as much.
Observe and listen to the locals to get a gist of how they live to blend in and save some money along the way.