Hi Melissa, and welcome to MySwissAlps!
>> If I purchase the Swiss Travel Pass for the 4 adults and use the junior card for the 2 youngest, will I receive any discount on our tickets from Lucerne to Como, and then again for the Salzburg to Zurich ticket?
You would buy a Swiss Travel Pass each for yourself and your husband, a (cheaper) Swiss Travel Pass Youth for each of the 17-year-olds, and order a free Swiss Family Card as well, which will provide free travel for both your 13-year-olds.
They will cover you as far as the border, so from Buchs SG to Zürich on your trip from Salzburg, and as far as Chiasso on your way to Como by train.
There's also a PostBus route from Lugano to Menaggio on Lake Como, which is covered fully by the Swiss Travel Pass should that route suit your plans.
>> I do not want to buy a ticket that brings us to the border and then another ticket for the Italian portion because I would like a direct train that we don't need to change until Milan for the last leg to Como.
Having a pass that covers you to the border, then a separate ticket for the trip from the border to your destination in Italy doesn't mean changing trains if you have selected a direct connection. When the conductor asks to see your ticket, you just show the Swiss Travel Pass etc while you are still in Switzerland, and then your ticket for the Italian sector of the journey once you are in Italy.
>> My research so far tells me that the Swiss travel pass is probably not worth it for the few times we would need it. But if that is the only way that the 13 year olds are free
You can also get a free Swiss Family Card if you buy a Swiss Half Fare Card.
If you are using point-to-point tickets, you could buy a Junior travel card each for the two younger children to cover travel within Switzerland:
www.sbb.ch/en/travelca rds-and-tickets/railpasses/jun ior-travelcard-children-co-travelcard.html
>> if it offers a discount for the package golden trip Pilatus ticket, maybe it is worth it. (I would like to get the Golden Pilatus ticket that includes the boat portion but I can't tell if there is a discount offered for the golden trip, maybe only a discount on the cablecar up the mountain?)
The Golden Round trip route is: boat Luzern to Alpnachstad > cogwheel to Pilatus > cable car and gondola to Kriens > bus to Luzern (or vice versa)
The Swiss Travel Passes plus Swiss Family Card will provide
- Free travel by boat to Alpnachstad for all
- 50% discount on the cogwheel and cableway for both adults and the two older children. I think the two younger children would travel free, but I'm not sure, as the validity of the Swiss Family Card for Pilatus is not specifically mentioned anywhere I can find.
- Free travel for all on the bus from Kriens to Luzern.
The price list for Pilatus is here:
www.pilatus.ch/fileadm in/files/informieren/f ahrplan/Preisliste_201 8.pdf
>> The only other time we would use the pass would be our last 2 days before we fly out of Zurich, as we plan to see the sights there and will use the tram as much as possible.
Most of the sights in Zürich are within walking distance of each other, but if you plan to take at least 2 tram trips in one day, a 24-hour pass might be worth it. A 24-hour pass costs the same as 2 single tickets.
Another option to consider would be a ZürichCARD
www.zvv.ch/zvv/en/trav elcards-and-tickets/tickets/other-tickets/zuerichcard.ht ml
Using a Swiss Travel Pass for trams in Zürich would be a waste of money if you were not also doing day trips out of Zürich on the same day.
Next time you post, if you could break the text up into paragraphs, that would make it much less daunting to read :-)