How to get around on budget when you are studying in Switzerland


Switzerland is Europe’s most expensive country, so it’s important to budget for the higher living costs when you are studying or working there. If you’re planning on studying abroad in Switzerland, don’t let that put you off though. However, there are some tips and tricks for getting around without breaking the bank.

For example, instead of taking a taxi, take the bus or other public transit, or even walk.

One of the biggest expenses is accommodation; even staying in a dorm can cost you around $30-$40 per night. Try couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is one of the biggest cost savers in Switzerland for students. This allows you to find locals who are allowing travelers to stay for free.

In Swizerland, the average daily expenditure is around $210, but with these tips, you can do it cheaper.


Public transport isn’t that cheap in Switzerland, but is there a more affordable option? Yes. Some apps like BlaBlaCar allow you to share rides with people for a very low cost, and can be cheaper than taking a train. This also gives you a chance to meet locals and expand your social group.

On the weekends or on vacation time from university, get out of town and enjoy Switzerland’s beautiful countryside by sharing rides or taking a bus.  This day trip allows you to enjoy Switzerland, and also cross the border to either Germany or France.

Four Best Places to Visit

1. Zurich
Zurich is known for its high cost of living and has been ranked, after Singapore, the second most expensive city in the world. For travelers, this can sound daunting. However, this beautiful city offers many things you can do for free!

Firstly, let’s talk about transportation. Did you know you can hire bikes for free in Zurich? After paying a small deposit, you’re given a bike, and you get your deposit back when you return it.  That’s one great deal.

You can also enjoy beautiful walks while seeing the sites with a tour guide, again for free. You will even find free water to drink everywhere in the city. Many sites also offer free swimming. You can enjoy botanical gardens, museums, and much more for free or for a very low cost.

2. Geneva
Just like every city in the country, Geneva has a lot to offer.

The top four things that you can do on a budget are:

  1. Visit museums
  2. Walk through Jardin Anglais
  3. Tour the city
  4. Visit the Jet d’Eau

One of the most popular activities in Geneva is a food tour. It’s a great way to enjoy the culture, and some delicious food. Switzerland’s chocolate is famous, of course, and you can enjoy samples as you go. A food tour takes around three hours and costs around USD 100.

3. Lucerne

Lucerne will likely not break the bank. The city has a lot to offer, and you can enjoy all of it while staying under budget.

One of Lucerne’s most famous landmarks is The Chapel Bridge, also known as the Kapellbrücke. Walk across the bridge to cross the river Reuss, and enjoy the view.

Buy a 24-hour zone bus ticket to go anywhere you want in the city for a nominal fee.

Hike up Mt. Pilatus, and enjoy beautiful forests, magnificent views, and pretty little waterfalls.

4. Zermatt
Skip the taxi lineups and take a bus or travel on foot to stay on a budget.  Cook your own food to avoid hefty restaurant bills. As one of Europe’s premium ski resort towns, Zermatt is pricy.  The ski resort spans Italy and Switzerland, so you can glide your way from the Switzerland paradise to the Italian wonder.

Ways to Get Around on Budget

1. Move Around Less
Switzerland is a really small country, so spending more time in one location will save on accommodation costs. You can easily do daytrips and explore a lot from one base. The longer you stay in one place, generally the better the rates you get. If you choose to stay at a hostel, hotel, or Airbnb, often there are discounts for longer stays.

2. Book Accommodation With Kitchens
Eating in a restaurant or ordering take-out can get expensive, so you’ll save quite a bit if you opt for accommodation with a kitchen so you can cook meals at home. Buy local produce and cook yourself some tasty, affordable food.

3. Drink Tap Water
Not only is the food expensive in Switzerland, but also drinks, including bottled water. Luckily though, Switzerland’s water is really clean and you’ll find water fountains everywhere. Carry a water bottle and fill it up as you go.

4. Pick up a Swiss Rail Pass
A Swiss Rail Pass allows you unlimited traveling anywhere in the country. It’s good value and convenient, and covers buses, trains and boats. No need to buy tickets as you go – just hop on and enjoy the ride.

Different passes are available, depending on how much travelling you plan to do; unlimited travelling from 3 to 15 consecutive days. The pass also offers a 50% discount on cog trains, funiculars, and cable cars and gives you free entry to museums!

In a Nutshell …

Put Switzerland on your list for studying abroad! You’ll love the country, and will be amazing by the beautiful scenery everywhere; the snow-covered mountains, little villages, rolling hills, crystal clear lakes are all worth the adjustments.

Chocolates and cheese are a bonus. Budget or no budget, there is always a way to get the most of your stay here. Grab a Swiss Rail Pass and you are ready to explore!

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