Apart from great cheese and chocolate made from smooth, rich Alpen milk, Switzerland is known for being rather expensive – and rightly so! A regular Starbucks coffee will set you back £8, a McDonalds happy meal £6, and the average Burger King meal £10.
Switzerland is a well organised, very clean, and beautiful country. It’s well worth a visit, but unless you can survive on just fresh air, you’ll be wise to make savings whereever you can.
In the UK, children over 5 require tickets for travel on public transport, but in Switzerland (and most other European countries), this is from 6 years old.
Children between the ages of 6 and 16 can get reduced rate tickets on Swiss public transport. Depending on how much travel you’ll be doing, it may be cheaper to get a Child Travel Pass. To get a Child Travel Pass, go to the Travel Information desks at your nearest SBB Station with your child’s passport and CHF30. They’ll ask for the name of two adults that your child usually travels with, and your child can travel free when travelling with either of these adults, for a year. This includes public trains, busses, cable-cars and boats.
By buying your tickets on the SBB website 24 hours before you travel, you can save up to 50% on your ticket price. However, this ticket is specific to the train and time you bought it for and it cannot be changed or refunded.
From time to time the SBB run promotions such as 2 for 1 on travel cards. With these travel cards you can travel on all public trains, buses, ferries and cablecars all day, until 5am the next day. (If the travel card is valid for 24th November, you can travel until 5am on 25th November.)
Even when travel cards are not on sale, it may be cheaper to buy one than to buy a ticket specifically for your destination. Day Travel Cards currently cost CHF75 full price, and that is cheaper than a one-way ticket from Basel to Bellinzona which currently costs CHF81.
I’ll say it again, Switzerland is an incredibly beautiful country and well worth a visit!
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