Travel Switzerland on a Budget

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Posted on 09/04/2019

Switzerland conjures images of majestic, snow-capped mountains, adventurous hikes in the Alps, and picturesque villages with high-end chalets.

While Switzerland is certainly one of the most beautiful countries in the world, it is also one of the most expensive. Swiss workers get paid a higher income to compensate for the lofty cost of living; however, for the average traveler, the prices may come as a shock and make you feel limited in terms of what you can see and do in the country.

For reference, I stopped by a local mall called Globus for some lunch and ordered Chinese food - about the equivalent of a plate at Panda Express - and two water bottles. The total cost amounted to roughly 53 USD.


Fortunately, there are ways to go Swiss for less.

I highly recommend eating in as often as possible. Although groceries in the country are also expensive, Coop is a budget-friendly option where you can load up on water, snacks, and other foods. A bottle of water at Coop is roughly around 2 USD, whereas other stores and restaurants will charge 4 USD or more.

Traveling outside of Geneva is also fairly costly. During our first trip outside of Geneva, we purchased train tickets for three adults to the neighboring city of Lausanne, spending more than 120 USD. This made the prospect of traveling the countryside impossible, thus we looked into renting a car to make day trips, which ultimately saved us more money and time.

For instance, if you were to rent a budget car from Mobility, you could pay a maximum of 110 CHF or roughly 112 USD within a 24 hours time period and 200 km range. To examine the rates, check out the Mobility site here.

After renting the car, we made one day trip to the French side of the Alps, visiting Chamonix and Parc de Merlet in the Rhone-Alps, right above the Chamonix Valley. We made it back to Geneva the same day and headed for the Bernese Oberland region the next morning. In less than 24 hours, we made it to Gstaad and Lauenen, both of which fall in the Bernese Oberland region in the greater Canton of Bern, which is the German-speaking side of Switzerland.

For more on our day trip to these regions, stay tuned for Friday's blog!

Primary Photo Credit: Photo on

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