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Travelling by car in Switzerland - car rentals

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Bhaskarguha6
Bhaskarguha6
8 posts
new member
Dec 8, 2020 - 7:29 AM

Why car rental is not very popular in Switzerland. Since I will rent a car if there is any drawback please advice.

Anna
Anna
1014 posts
top member &
moderator
Dec 8, 2020 - 2:28 PM in reply to Bhaskarguha6

Hi Bhaskarguha6,

Switzerland has an excellent public transport system. In general we recommend using the trains to travel but sometimes travelling by car makes more sense and offers the freedom and flexibility to plan your itinerary more freely.

If you plan to drive, be sure to read this first. It gives you some insights about travelling by car versus train: www.myswissalps.com/carversustrain

Please be aware that some destinations are designated car-free zones and you may still have to take public transport. In which case, you might want to consider getting the Swiss Half Fare Card. Details here: www.myswissalps.com/swisshalffarecard

You can find more information about renting cars to travel from this link: www.myswissalps.com/car/carrental

Hope that helps!

Regards,

Anna

Bhaskarguha6
Bhaskarguha6
8 posts
new member
Dec 8, 2020 - 10:25 PM in reply to Anna

Thank you Ana for the links you provided which I am going one by one . However I am travelling with family of 4 (2Adt 1Youth 18yrs and 1Chd 15yrs) trying to save money by renting a car and now wondering is it going to be big hassle free parking as well I will end up paying more than Swiss Travel Pass. Car rental is cheaper ($400 for week automatic at Zurich Airport) however dont know the parking and gas price plus fee for International driver.

mestettler
mestettler
21 posts
new member
Dec 9, 2020 - 3:42 AM in reply to Bhaskarguha6

Hello Bhaskarguha6,

I was in Switzerland several times in 2018 and 2019. The price for gasoline was between 1,50 and 1,60 CHF per LITER. If you're accustomed to paying by the gallon, that's roughly 6.00 CHF per gallon depending on the exchange rate. Almost everywhere I went I had to pay for parking, including at the grocery store. You may or may not have to pay for parking with your hotel reservation.

I can vouch for the Half Fare Card. It's how I travel throughout Switzerland when I'm there. I believe myswissalps.com can help you figure out what is more economical, car rental, Half Fare Card or the Swiss Travel Pass, good for 3, 4, 8 & 15 days of travel.

Bhaskarguha6
Bhaskarguha6
8 posts
new member
Dec 9, 2020 - 6:12 AM in reply to mestettler

Hi mestettler,

Thanks for the reply. However I was wondering how half fare works. CHF 120 times 3 adult and 1child is 15 which is free plus talking Glacier Express which is CHF 152 so will get it from CHF76 for 3adult but how about other child will cost me? Is 15yrs old child travel free?

Ildiko
Ildiko
1069 posts
top member &
moderator
Dec 9, 2020 - 1:59 PM in reply to Bhaskarguha6

Hi Bhaskarguha6,

The reason I usually recommend travelling by trains and not cars is that Switzerland has an amazing train system and it many cases it is easier to use that. The second reason is that if you are not used to driving in the mountains it can be tricky at first (www.myswissalps.com/car/drivinginthemountains).

You'll find a downloadable spreadsheet at How to choose the best Swiss rail pass in 5 steps (www.myswissalps.com/train/ticketspasses/practical/chooserailpass). It will help you to calculate and compare your costs.

Children from 6 to 15 (inclusive) can get the Swiss Family Card and travel with it for free if they are accompanied by at least one parent (who has a valid Swiss Half Fare Card and the discounted ticket). You can get the Swiss Family Card for free while ordering a Swiss Half Fare Card. Read more about it at www.myswissalps.com/swissfamilycard. (Make sure to check all the tabs.)

Here is how the Swiss Half Fare Card works: www.myswissalps.com/swisshalffarecard/howtouse. More information about the validity of the Swiss Half Fare Card: www.myswissalps.com/swisshalffarecard/validity.

If you have a Swiss Half Fare Card, you can get the Glacier Express tickets for half price. Note, that the seat reservation is not discounted, just the ticket - and in case of the Glacier Express you need to book your seats in advance: www.myswissalps.com/glacierexpress/tickets.

I hope this helps, please let me know if you have other questions too.

Take care,

Ildiko

Last modified on Dec 10, 2020 - 8:02 AM by Annika
harveyshot
harveyshot
51 posts
active member
Dec 10, 2020 - 12:14 AM

Might as well jump in here while I’m waiting at the Chevy dealership for my oil change.

If you really enjoy road trips and are comfortable driving in mountains, you should do it. Yes, there will be expenses related to driving but in my opinion they are worth it to have the freedom and flexibility to travel on your schedule.

My wife and I were supposed to do a two week Western Europe road trip last March/April spending a few days in Switzerland. We all know what happened to kill that trip. Considering I’m pushing 72, I don’t think it will ever happen now. Bummer. I was really looking forward to it.

Anyhoo, I spent A LOT of time trying to figure out all of the myriad of passes available in Switzerland. It is confusing. If you’re driving you can at least cut down on some of the choices (but not many:)). In my research I found places for free or cheap parking. It did seem we could save a few bucks with the half fare card, but barely. You have to pay attention to where you can use each pass and if it’s good for 100 or 50 percent off. Being Switzerland, you have to put in the work to save money. As for car rentals, I think you can do better than 400 a week but I guess that depends on the vehicle. We were going to rent a compact for two weeks for about 300, but that was Amsterdam. Oops, I see you mentioned an automatic. Yeah, those will Jack up the cost and you’ll need something bigger so maybe 400 isn’t bad. ????

I still say if you need a spreadsheet to figure out ways to save money while traveling around Switzerland, something is wrong. Can’t they just reduce the prices and save everyone the headache? I’m sure I’ll be told why it’s necessary but I can’t see it. Maybe keep the riffraff out?

Hope it all works out for you.

Bhaskarguha6
Bhaskarguha6
8 posts
new member
Dec 10, 2020 - 7:00 AM in reply to Ildiko

Hi Ildiko,

At first I like to thank all the admin & moderator. You guys are really good and very prompt with reply. Really helpful.

Bhaskarguha6
Bhaskarguha6
8 posts
new member
Dec 10, 2020 - 7:02 AM in reply to harveyshot

Hi harveyshot,

Thank you very much for your advice. Sorry to hear that your plan didnt work out this year but I am pretty sure next year it will be. Hoping for the best and keeping my finger cros for my trip as well for yours.

JaneEB
JaneEB
128 posts
active member
Dec 10, 2020 - 7:20 AM

Hi harveyshot,

The spreadsheet is a very useful tool to work out which pass would be of the most benefit based on a proposed itinerary. It also gives a clear indication of the likely travel cost of the trip and helps budget.

The cost of living is high in Switzerland and so the prices seem high to some. There is not a lot of sense in booking a holiday to a country that you know is expensive and then moan about the prices because you have not bothered to research costs and complete the spreadsheet to find the most cost effective pass or mode of transport during your trip.

Hope to return to Wengen soon and travel the new cableway.

Jane

Bhaskarguha6
Bhaskarguha6
8 posts
new member
Dec 10, 2020 - 7:29 AM in reply to JaneEB

Hi JaneEB,

Thanks for the spreasheet info. It was very helpful.

Ildiko
Ildiko
1069 posts
top member &
moderator
Dec 10, 2020 - 9:33 AM in reply to harveyshot

Hi Harveyshot,

I am so sorry about your cancelled Swiss holiday and I hope you still find a solution and opportunity to visit Switzerland.

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I guess you are right, if someone loves load trips or if they have special circumstances travelling by car can be better for them.

Regarding the spreadsheet, I found it interesting what you said. I guess there are different type of people, for many of us (including me) spreadsheets help to see clearer and makes the decision easier. But I am sure there are also people who don't need it at all. :)

Concerning the prices in Switzerland, true that Switzerland is not a cheap country, but you cannot do anything against it. This is how it is. It also has a very stable and improved economic. There are many tips written here on how to save money while travelling in Switzerland - for those, who are interested in it: www.myswissalps.com/plantrip/doityourself/savemoney. And also worth reading: www.myswissalps.com/swissfranc.

Take care,
Ildiko

harveyshot
harveyshot
51 posts
active member
Dec 10, 2020 - 4:38 PM in reply to JaneEB

"and then moan about the prices" if that snarky comment was aimed at me you're wrong. We knew the costs and we were ok with them. My point is you shouldn't need a spreadsheet to save money as a tourist. Can you imagine what it would be like if stores did this? Buy this card and you'll get 50% off this but only 25% off that. Or buy this card and get 100% off this but only 50% off that and 0% off the other. Or buy this card and get 50% off everything but pay extra if you have kids.

Our plans for the other countries on our trip and visiting their sights was easy peasy.

As I stated before, I spent A LOT of time on the spreadsheet modifying it for the places we wanted to visit and after all that I could only manage to save a few bucks on our itinerary. Again to my point, if the powers that be are going to give you a discount anyway if you jump through their hoops, why not just lower the prices and do away with the passes? No one has yet to answer that to my satisfaction. I can understand transportation passes for residents but you'd think the tourist industry would want to simplify things.

Phil

Ildiko
Ildiko
1069 posts
top member &
moderator
Dec 10, 2020 - 8:39 PM

Hi there!

Just a quick note to everybody that we appreciate every opinion and experiences here on the forum. Also, according to the forum rules, we would like to keep the nice tone of voice and be kind to each other. I hope you agree with me. :)

Regarding the prices, it depends on the personal itineraries how much you can save if you get a rail pass. These rail passes are passes: if you travel more you'll save more compared to the original prices.

Usually it is quite clear where anyhow can you use a rail pass - of course, there are always exceptions. On each of the detailed rail pass pages there is a "Where it's valid" tab with the related validity map and also a list with the most popular destinations/routes. (For example - Swiss Travel Pass: www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass/validity.)

Ildiko

Danielsan
Danielsan
139 posts
active member
Dec 11, 2020 - 5:22 AM

Hello forum folks,

In 2018 (September) I spent two weeks in Switzerland. I bought the 15 day Swiss Travel Pass. Almost any time I inquired about prices, issues, etc. on MySwissAlps.com, I was pretty much steered towards the STP, which, in my opinion, pretty much trumped all other discount cards/passes, since I never did the spread sheet calculations, (pretty much because I just never took the time to do it) and I was very happy with my decision. Since my travels included Lucerne, Lugano, St. Moritz, Zermatt, Montreux, Wengen and back to Lucerne, (all by train) it never occurred to me to seek any regional passes, since the STP seemed to cover quite a bit of it, in either full coverage, or a percentage there of. A lot depends on individual/family interests, time spent in a particular region, modes of transportation desires, etc. I spent the entire two weeks on trains, boats and cable cars (and some hotels). The STP was the right decision for me. If folks want to take the time to work the spreadsheets, and can save a few bucks, more power to them. I saved up lots of money for my trip, knowing full well that it was going to be fairly expensive, and worked/spent within my budget (okay, maybe a little more?) I was a solo traveler and, obviously, didn't have a lot of other considerations to worry about. There is a lot of time on one's hands nowadays, with the current worldwide situation, so why not make the best of it researching things. I hope this helps anyone in any way. Good luck to all planning a trip to Switzerland. Enjoy the research and anticipation, as I did. That was also a big part of the trip for me...happy travels when they resume. Hopefully sooner than not.

Danielsan

Shroffchetan
Shroffchetan
137 posts
active member
Dec 13, 2020 - 3:34 AM

With due respect to members opinion I would like to share my experience

I travelled in May 2017 and bought 8 days Swiss Travel Pass (STP). Since we were based in Interlaken we travelled to every place every day. Also we visited chocolate and cheese factory and other museums which were included in STP. We visited Mount Titlis, Jungfraujoch and Gornergrat and availed discount. Also it was hassle free and my son (12 years) traveled free. I have not done detailed cost analysis but I found it to be very useful. I thought trains in Switzerland are experience in itself and turned out to be major attraction for my family

My guess is the Swiss half fare is more useful if you are travelling by car / interested in hiking

unfortunately every year price of STP is rising and attractions/ lifts / train routes are getting excluded. Switzerland is making STP less attractive every year. Th

Annika
Annika
6371 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 13, 2020 - 2:58 PM in reply to Shroffchetan

Hi all!

Thanks for sharing your experiences and tips in this thread. Let me address some questions and concerns below.

Pros and cons of the wide range of Swiss rail passes

@harveyshot/Phil: the vast offer of Swiss rail passes is something we as MySwissAlps.com have no control of. It has its pros and cons. The main pro of the current offer is that there are many solutions available, allowing each traveler to pick (combinations of) rail passes and tickets that suit their particular plans and preferences. If things were simplified, choosing a good discount product would of course be much easier. But it would also mean that less customization for all different kinds of (tourist) traveling was possible. It may be interesting to realize that, historically, Switzerland is a country with lots of regional and local transport companies, that co-exist along with the nation-wide SBB network. All of these smaller transport companies may set their own prices and have their own offers, and they negotiate to create offers and discount percentages for tourist rail passes. This partly explains why there are many products (including regional passes), and why the amount of discounts offered for attractions and routes differs for each pass.

Public transportation

As for prices: yes, Switzerland is expensive and that also goes for transportation. On the other hand, you do get value for your money. Swiss public transportation is highly efficient, well-maintained and generally runs smoothly. This can only be ensured with ongoing, high-level maintenance. That comes with a price. To create attractive offers, rail passes for both tourists as well as Swiss residents are available. In nearly all cases, a rail pass does help to save (a significant) amount of money, but of course things can be different if you mainly travel by car and only make a few trips by public transportation.

How MySwissAlps.com tries to help visitors choose their pass

As mentioned, we don't control which rail products are available. What we can do, is provide several tools to assist our visitors in the process of picking the right pass. Some of them prefer to calculate their costs as precisely as they can, to ensure they pick the cheapest option for their plans. We created the spreadsheet for them. Other tourists rather base their decision on other criteria, like flexibility or ticketless traveling. That's why some prefer the Swiss Travel Pass, which I understand has been a very convenient choice for the both of you, @Danielsan and @Schroffchetan.

We try to provide as much information as possible on each of our rail pass pages, on www.myswissalps.com/train/ticketspasses/practical/chooserailpass and the downloads available there. These downloads don't only include the calculation spreadsheet, but also a general overview allowing visitors to study the main differences between rail passes at a glance. And of course there's the forum for anyone still not sure which pass or ticket to pick.

Swiss Travel Pass prices

@Schroffchetan: yes, I agree that the Swiss Travel Pass price increases of the past few years aren't attractive. As for next year: the initially planned price increase for high season luckily has been postponed (www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/overview-of-the-swiss-travel-system-passes-in-2021). I think it's still the most convenient and comprehensive pass for anyone relying heavily on public transportation, but of course each traveler has to decide for his/her own which product best matches their budget and preferences.

pvonk
pvonk
269 posts
top member
Dec 13, 2020 - 10:33 PM

"In my research I found places for free or cheap parking. "

Ah, but will you find spaces available? At busy times, parking can be a challenge.

pvonk
pvonk
269 posts
top member
Dec 13, 2020 - 10:36 PM in reply to pvonk

To MSA: hmm... why are our pics (avatars) widened? I look like I put on 100 lbs. The settings page has the picture correct. : >)

harveyshot
harveyshot
51 posts
active member
Dec 13, 2020 - 10:48 PM in reply to pvonk

Everything in Switzerland is a challenge. That's where the research comes in. Being a die hard road trip aficionado (sort of), I wouldn't take a train unless I absolutely had to. Too much sitting. Might be the AADD talking. :) If I could drive to Europe, I would.

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