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August trip with 13 & 15 yo kids from San Diego

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EvaLuna
EvaLuna
5 posts
new member
May 24, 2020 - 8:49 PM

I purchased tickets for myself and my 2 kids (ages 13 and 15) for their first Switzerland visit for Aug 4 - Aug 22. Tickets were from Skybooker. I am assuming we will need to cancel, but I am holding off to see how things evolve over the summer. I was planning to buy the 2 week rail pass since it's really a great deal as both kids would be free. And, it would be even more of an adventure! Now, even if we can travel this summer, it seems renting a car would be safer... I'm sad about that! And if we need to postpone to next summer, my older one would be 16 and would pay full fare...

So, if tourists are allowed from US and if I have a choice , would you postpone the trip, or would you proceed but just rent a car, or go ahead and risk the trains? If we can't travel this summer, is there any chance that SBB would honor the free ticket for my daughter since it would have been free for her had we been able to travel this summer? Thanks!

Snowin81
Snowin81
13 posts
new member
May 25, 2020 - 3:11 AM

I have rescheduled/pushed back my trip twice now. I have finally made my plans for the last week of July. I have a feeling it’s not going to happen. Hoping for the best. We will be traveling from Florida. Get the rail pass. So convenient. Most towns don’t allow for cars. Wash those hands and just allow for space amongst strangers. The rail is the way to go. I really hope you get to enjoy this trip in August. Fingers crossed for all of us.

Steph
Steph
2293 posts
top member
May 25, 2020 - 4:47 AM in reply to EvaLuna

Hello EvaLuna,

It's really hard to say, how things are going to develop with regards to the current situation.

If you're able to come, however, I would also stick with the plan of using public transport, but this is just a personal input. Find details about renting cars below:
- www.myswissalps.com/car/carrental

Should you postpone your trip to next year your older child would get a 15% discount on the Swiss Travel Pass, see below for details:
- www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass/details
- www.myswissalps.com/train/ticketspasses/practical/discounts

Hope this provides some guidance.

Fingers crossed for all travellers and kind regards,
Steph

Check out these pages for links to detailed, official information:
- www.myswissalps.com/coronavirus
- www.myswissalps.com/coronavirus/prevention
- www.myswissalps.com/coronavirus/planning

Last modified on May 25, 2020 - 4:48 AM by Steph
Annika
Annika
6262 posts
expert &
moderator
May 25, 2020 - 3:13 PM in reply to EvaLuna

Hi EvaLuna,

That's a tough choice! I understand you're hesitant about public transportation. It's good to know though that the SBB and other public transport companies are doing all they can to ensure safe travels. They've intensified their cleaning routine and are urging travelers to use face masks if they can't keep distance. Mountain transportation is expected to open on June 8, and those companies too will operate under strict regulations. A "Clean and safe" label is being prepared for tourism-related companies that commit to fully following all rules. We keep our coronavirus pages (linked to by Steph) up to date, and we'll explain about this label once there's more information.

My advice would be to wait a bit and see how things develop. In a couple of weeks, there might be more information on options for traveling to and in Switzerland, and this will hopefully help you decide. If you do decide to travel by train, you can buy your digital rail passes online (www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass/price) and receive them within minutes, so you can arrange for them shortly before departure. Car rental can usually be arranged up about 4-5 days before traveling, and the companies mentioned at www.myswissalps.com/car/carrental allow cancellation up to 48-24 hours in advance.

I hope that you, Snowin81 and all other travelers get to enjoy Switzerland this summer!

Last modified on May 27, 2020 - 6:36 AM by Annika
harveyshot
harveyshot
48 posts
active member
May 25, 2020 - 5:52 PM in reply to EvaLuna

Hi EvaLuna

How has your experience been with Skybooker? We booked through them last year for a European road trip that was scheduled for last March/April. It took a lot of back and forth with them to finally get a full refund with no additional fees. At the start of this virus mess they wanted to give us half of our money back and charge us $50 to do so. As things got worse they finally relented to a full refund with no additional fees. I did remind them they charged us a fee when the original tickets were purchased. Although they do have an F rating with the BBB, they did give us an excellent price for main cabin, one connection flights both ways.

For us (road trip lovers), car rentals are the way to go. Driving in foreign countries is an adventure that you have to be up for. Train travel is nice but with a car you can stop where and when you want or go off on a side road that looks interesting. The few (10, I think)) towns that don't allow cars are easy enough to get to by public transportation. Of course you'll be with two teenagers so that might skew the whole car thing. Just depends on their attitude.

Hope all works out for you. We're looking at the end of September for our 2nd attempt.

Last modified on May 25, 2020 - 6:37 PM by harveyshot
EvaLuna
EvaLuna
5 posts
new member
May 26, 2020 - 12:03 AM in reply to Snowin81

Thanks, Snowin81, Steph and Annika. It's good to hear your input that I should still stick with ppublic transport. As for my teenagers' attitude, harveyshot, it's really hard to say. This kind of a trip will be first for them. My 15 yo daughter is very easy going and adventurous. My 13 yo son is the opposite, but I have faith that he will rise to the occasion!

Regarding skybooker.com for purchasing tickets, I started out at skyscanner.com, and the flights are with Lufthansa and Swissair, but when i got the receipt, it said it was from skybooker.com... (?) I called them recently regarding protocol for refunds if a trip isn't possible due to coronavirus, and they told me to call back in a couple of weeks. If I let them do the canceling, chances are I'll get a full refund. If I cancel in anticipation of not being able to travel, I might not get a refund... I would really love to stick to our plan - maybe there will be less tourists this summer and it will work out for us!

Annika
Annika
6262 posts
expert &
moderator
May 29, 2020 - 6:41 AM in reply to EvaLuna

Hi EvaLuna! I just wanted to inform you about the latest plans presented by the Swiss government. If all goes well, mountain transportation and other public transportation (including tourist trains) will start operating again from June 6-8. And borders with neighboring countries and Schengen countries should be opened by early July. We can't tell yet if and when visitors from other countries are allowed though. We've listed the latest updates here: www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/does-the-corona-virus-affect-trips-to-switzerland.

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