Thursday, December 06, 2012

Switzerland on a Budget

The words "Switzerland" and "budget travel" are not often found in the same sentence. Wilkommen, tightwads, to The Frau's blog. Cheapskates, you've come to the right place, even if Zurich may, after your first CHF 30 ($32) plate of Kung Pao Chicken, seem to be the completely wrong place.  (For The Frau's Top 10, "No way, that cost what in Switzerland?" blog party, see The Frau's post about the cost of living in Zurich.)

Anyway, The Frau would like to apologize ahead of time for those of you who may try to buy used socks at a Swiss flea market and find that they're out of your price range. Zurich wasn't listed as the world's most expensive city this year for nothing.

Save money! Go to the dentist in Germany.

But fear not. The Frau is here. And she once was able to bargain a seller down to CHF 1 ($1.08) for a pair of used baby socks at a Swiss flea market (the things she goes through for Baby M!). It wasn't easy, but then again, it's not easy to save money in Switzerland.

So in honor of The Frau’s article on how to save money in Zurich in easyJet Magazine this month, she’d like to give those visiting and/or living in Switzerland a few additional tips.

Take Advantage of RailAway Offers
Every month and also for every season, the Swiss train system partners with places like ski resorts, zoos, and hotels to offer discounts to train riders going there. The catch? You have to buy the tickets at your local Swiss train station before you depart. So if you’re buying a RailAway offer to the zoo, you need go to your closest train ticket office before you start your journey and buy the rail, transfer, and zoo ticket together.

Try your luck at SuperSaver Tickets
These are limited and train-specific, but if you’re lucky, you might find a great train fare (up to 80% off) by searching SuperSaver Tickets online. For example, The Frau was once able to find a ticket from Zurich to Lugano for only CHF 11 using SuperSaver Tickets. Now that was a real deal. 

Rent an apartment instead of staying at a hotel
If you’ll be staying in Switzerland for at least a week in one location, try renting a Swiss holiday apartment instead of staying at a hotel. For example, last January, The Frau was able to rent an apartment in Oberwald for six adults and one baby for CHF 1000 for the entire week. Plus, you will save money by being able to cook your own meals. Make fondue for six for CHF 50 instead of CHF 200 by shopping at the grocery store.

Eat at grocery store restaurants   
Don’t want to cook your own food? Then do the second best thing. Eat at grocery store restaurants. Coop, Migros, and Manor all have buffet restaurants that are open during store hours (so don’t think of using them for a late night dinner or Sunday meal). For lunch at Coop, for example, you can try penne with mushroom cream sauce and a small side salad for CHF 10,95.

Drink from the tap

The Frau has never understood the high prices of beverages in Switzerland. So instead of BYOB, BYOS—bring your own Sigg bottle and fill it up with water from Swiss sinks and fountains to carry with you when you’re out and about.

Do you have any additional money-saving tips? The Frau does. Click here to read more about how to save money in Switzerland.


lauren said...

I saw your article this month when flying from Edinburgh to Geneva and it made me smile as I read your blog routinely! Thanks for the great posts.

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Chantal said...

Hi Lauren,
Thanks for reading!

Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead said...

Hi there,

I saw your article while on a flight from Paris back to Berlin and I had to stop by. :) Seems like you're making the most of Zurich -- and who wouldn't?! We lived there for about 2 months when we first moved to Germany 11 years ago. Such a great city -- but we're very fond of Berlin now too.

Chantal said...

Berlin is an amazing city as well. I don't think any place can match its history. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

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