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Eurail and Swisspass Comparison - Review my math

  • 8 August 2023
  • 31 replies
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  • Keeps calm and carries on
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I'm looking for guidance on whether I should get the Swiss pass or Eurail pass.

This will be for one adult and one 6 yo (she gets rides free)

 

Below is my itinerary.

Day 1 Paris to Geneva

Day 2 to Montreaux

(Golden Line pass)

Lucerne

Day 3 (Titlis)

Day 4 (Golden Round Trip)

Day 4 Zurich.

 

 

Based on my research, (All amounts in EUR)

1. Let's say Paris to Geneva costs $60 for 2 in advance.

2. Seat reservation of $30x2 Eurail

3. Both passes get me rides on the GoldenPass.

4. Titlis costs 129 w Eurail, 62 for SP

5. Golden roundtrip both have the same $41 surcharge.

 

I should factor what I'll assume to be small amounts for local trips on the tram/bus if I do not have the SP.

I  will need 3 days of the WP 257 and the minimum for Eurail is 4 days at 194 and

They both come about the same? $420 or so? Factor in local trips in Lucerne and Zurich, I probably should get the SP as it’s more convenient than scrambling for change to get tram tickets?

Not staying city center in Geneva, Lucerne.

 

Thanks

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Best answer by thibcabe 9 August 2023, 01:22

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oh oh, i misinterpreted. I thought the entire ride from ZRH to FRA was free. I think i’m overanalyzing…

thanks for your time.

Userlevel 7
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@AnnaB tourists get the Family Card (equivalent of the Junior Card) for free if they buy the Swiss Half-fare card (1 month for 120 CHF) or Swiss Travel Pass.

 

Thanks. I didn't realise that there were different conditions for the normal 1/2 tax Abo and the tourist 1 month 1/2 tax Abo when it comes to travelling with children. 

Yeah it took me some time to get that...

Userlevel 7
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@AnnaB tourists get the Family Card (equivalent of the Junior Card) for free if they buy the Swiss Half-fare card (1 month for 120 CHF) or Swiss Travel Pass.

 

Thanks. I didn't realise that there were different conditions for the normal 1/2 tax Abo and the tourist 1 month 1/2 tax Abo when it comes to travelling with children. 

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Yes German advance tickets are quite cheap on bahn.com.

Please note that Basel Bad Bf is the border point, from there Saver Day Passes, half-fare or Travel Pass is not valid. Either you buy a ticket Zurich - Frankfurt Airport or Basel - Frankfurt Airport, usually both costing the same.

Trains from Zurich to Germany do not go through Lucerne.

Saver Day Passes are a great deal since yes you have to buy them in advance (otherwise the price goes up to 39, 49, 59 CHF) but you can then travel unlimited across the country. Your dates are fixed and you do not need to decide where you're going until you board the train.

Now you decide whatever you want/need.

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So I’m looking at the Saver day pass, wow I have to buy this way in advance and set the day that it will be used.

I actually just booked my return ticket to the US as a more desirable flight became available. I will now fly back from FRA. This will give me one extra day whether it be in Lucern, Zurich or FRA.

I will probably still travel to ZRH late day 4 and need to hang out in ZRH day 5 or a nearby day trip. The only issue w this is most trains to FRA route through Lucerne so there’s some back tracking. I”d have to leave from ZRH in the afternoon on Day 5 for my US flight from FRA (2pm day 6).

When I priced the train from ZRH to FRA I got a quote as low as 48CHF. Could I buy a day pass and use that to get to FRA (It’s in Germany)?


Hotel wise I’d prefer ZRH than Lucerne due to my Hyatt status.

 

4 day SP is 49CHF more which is the cost of the ticket vs Half Fare to FRA If I go day 5 than morning of day 6)

Looks like SP is the way to go despite it probably being slightly more expensive. Previously the math was SP 292 (60 for Titlis) vs the 277 math with 2 day passes 29x2 + Rigi 39 and 60 for Titlis.

This is a difference of 15.

Userlevel 7
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The kid will travel for free everywhere (on trains, buses, boats, trams, cable cars,...) whether you choose the Swiss Half-fare card or Travel Pass.

To use the half-fare discount : you buy half-fare tickets on ticket machines, ticket counters or on sbb.ch/SBB app, at any point until boarding. It is really easy, don't worry. You show both the ticket and the half-fare whenever asked.

As you discovered half-fare is always the first price shown since millions of Swiss people have it.

On Day 3 when buying Lucerne - Engelberg "return" you'll get a 7 zones ticket valid for the whole day, including on Lucerne buses. No need to buy another ticket.

Maybe this link will help : https://www.seat61.com/train-travel-in-switzerland.htm

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How do I use the half fare card on the local bus and tram. i'd need to take them in lucerne on day 3 in which I won't buy the day pass. 

I also will need to take it in zrh. Buying it each trip is such an inconvenience although if I do sp I can't use it when I am in zrh day 5? I also realized the price of 3.20 that I wrote is half fare. 6.40x2 if I do sp as it will no longer be valid. Plus another 6.40 for my kid. That ain't cheap for a short ride. 

 

 

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@AnnaB tourists get the Family Card (equivalent of the Junior Card) for free if they buy the Swiss Half-fare card (1 month for 120 CHF) or Swiss Travel Pass.

@kaiotes the Junior Card has the same validity as the Swiss Family card although the first one is for residents or tourists who don't buy the half-fare card/Swiss Travel Pass. You'll get the free Family Card, don't worry.

Now it's up to you if you prefer the Swiss Travel Pass or the Half-fare card. The half-fare is generally better value but maybe not for a short 3 day trip.

 

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I am getting more confused

Your link goes to a junior pass than family card?

I was leaning towards sp for convenience purposes as it was 292 sp vs 277 half 

 

From the site, 

Practical: parents do not need a SwissPass themselves to buy a Junior Travelcard for their child.

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I am getting confused. Myswissalp sure includes half off pass in the qualifying list?

 

The parents need to travel with a Swiss Travel System rail pass: a Swiss Travel Pass, Swiss Travel Pass Flex or Swiss Half Fare Card.

The Swiss Family Card is free of charge

 

https://www.myswissalps.com/swissfamilycard.

Userlevel 7
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Here's the information in English about the Juniorkarte.

https://www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-and-tickets/railpasses/junior-travelcard.html

 

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**W the half price 

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Hmm. Then I gotta get the sp. As this 30 would exceed my costs w the sp

 

232. + 60 for titlis? If I don't do Golden round-trip rigi is completely free including boat and cog correct? 

Userlevel 7
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If you use the Swiss Travel Pass,  then the children 6- 16 get the family card for free, but if you buy a Halbtax Abo, then you need the Juniorkarte för 30 CHF for the children.

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I got that link from the sbb site.

 

Translated version says junior card? English version site says family card. 

 

Another popular forum

The Swiss Family Card is a free add-on to any Swiss Travel System rail pass. You can request for one when you order such a pass. If you forgot to do so you can get one at staffed Swiss rail stations. Below you can find who's issuing Swiss Family Cards.

 https://www.myswissalps.com/swissfamilycard/price

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I put in the wrong link, but it still costs 30 CHF.

https://www.sbb.ch/de/abos-billette/abonnemente/junior-karte.html

 

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https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/planning/transport-accommodation/tickets-public-transport/swiss-family-card/

 

This is the family card, you're talking about a different card

Userlevel 7
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@thibcabe  Are you sure that the SBB Familienkarte is for free? At least the Information in German on the SBB website says it costs 30 CHF.

https://www.sbb.ch/de/abos-billette/abonnemente/junior-karte.html

 

 

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For the rental of sled and skis those cost money. I initially misinterpreted that they be included.

For titlis. Tubing is included. 

On your comment of buying saver day pass are you saying not to get the half off pass anymore or. 

Once I get to zrh, my hotel is at the airport. I intend to get into town in the morning before my flight in the afternoon, I saw the price of the ticket at 3.20 each way. Does my kid also need a ticket (if I didn't have the sp/half off passes)? If I had the half off, can I buy this in the app? 

 

 

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Ah that's too bad for Pilatus... at least boats run to Vitznau (the departure for Rigi) even in April as far as I know.

Rigi (boat + cogwheel train) is fully included in a Saver Day Pass too so you'd save money. I don't know how it works for winter activities since the day pass probably only covers the journey.

What you could do is buy a Saver Day Pass in advance and decide on the day itself where you'd like to go. No need to buy tickets to Titlis/Pilatus/etc. in advance : if the weather is bad you'll lose money imho and it's not cheaper anyway.

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Thank you so much for explaining. This has been very helpful. I forgot to do the return for Engelberg.

So actually on the boat, there wont be one to take as it is not in service in April. They will only have Kriens–Fräkmüntegg–Pilatus Kulm–Fräkmüntegg–Kriens I’m kinda bummed by this now.

 

Debating whether to go Rigi instead as they have all inclusive winter activities (Pilatus charges extra)

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You can find more info here about the (free) Family card : https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/planning/transport-accommodation/tickets-public-transport/swiss-family-card/

Yes they won't have to pay anything as long as you get the free card. A price for children is always listed if you don't have the Family card (tourists) or Junior card (residents).

Ah yes you're right about the Ice Flyer. Then it's 60 CHF.

I searched Lucerne - Engelberg on sbb.ch/SBB app. Click on the price and select return. It offered me a ticket valid the whole day in 7 zones, which include buses in Lucerne. You may be able to get tickets for 6.80 CHF (just for Lucerne - Engelberg) but then it is tied to a specific train and you lose flexibility whilst not saving much.

Either you buy tickets at ticket machines by card or cash or you buy them online on sbb.ch/SBB app (covers the whole country). Short-distance tickets are usually valid 1h from the chosen time.

Yes the Saver Day Pass would cover everything from your accommodation in Geneva to the one in Lucerne.

Lucerne - Zurich one-way costs 12.50 CHF, valid the whole day. You can get cheaper tickets bought in advance but then they're tied to a specific train (saver tickets).

Lucerne - Alpnachstad by boat is 15 CHF + Kriens - Lucerne 3.10 CHF = 30.60 CHF

You may also need public transportation from/to accommodations so it's more convenient to get the Saver Day Pass and simply hop on hop off as you like.

The Saver Day Pass indeed does not cover Alpnachstad - Pilatus - Krienz so you pay the half-fare price, 39 CHF.

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Most important question.

So the Kid (6yo) doesn’t have to pay any fee for Golden Roundtrip nor Titlist due to Half Fare/SP????? None of these sites fare pages are explicit and confused me immensely

Why do they have a full column of prices for kids 6-15? My kid is 6yo. Can you reconfirm that my kid is FREE????

 

    Titlis. I think your 48 excludes the Ice flyer supplement. Myswissalps site shows a 60CHF price  
    https://www.myswissalps.com/titlis/tickets


For the Lucerne to Engelberg, I did random sampling for far out dates and got under 8CHF. Where is the additional 10 coming from?

How do I pay for the local city tram/busses w the half fare on day 3? Do I pay cash or? I’d need 2 trips intracity on day 3 (on S 4, 5 or bus 14) as my hotel is not at the city center.


The reason to get the saver day pass is to cover the cost of the Golden Pass trip? (along w w trip from Geneva to Montreaux )?

Why buy it on day 4? SBB shows ticket from Lucern to Zurich at only 10? What’s the value add of that pass on the last day?  I see the boat ride costing 4 to 15 CHF. 29 vs 10+15 = 25is for the sake of convenience?

https://www.pilatus.ch/en/booking/prices

It doesn’t mention anything about the day pass. I guess the 39 supplement does NOT cover the boat ride from Alpnachstad  to Luzern

 

Updated Summary:

Golden pass (day pass cost)

Titlis 60

Golden Roundtrip 39

Half Fare card 120

Day pass 29x2 58

Total of 277

 

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Let's count per adult to make things easier.

The kid will travel for free everywhere in Switzerland with the Family card (either with half-fare or STP).

- 120 CHF Swiss Half-fare card

- 48 CHF Titlis -> https://shop.titlis.ch/en/home (I don't know why your link is quoting 60 CHF, it's usually correct)

- 39 CHF Pilatus (boat is covered by the Saver Day Pass)

- 2 x 29 CHF half-fare Saver Day Pass* (for days 2 and 4), prices vary like air fares so buy in advance

- 18.40 CHF Lucerne - Engelberg, it also includes transportation within Lucerne

Total : about 285 CHF

With a Swiss Travel Pass :

- 232 CHF 3-day Swiss Travel Pass

- 48 CHF Titlis

- 39 CHF Pilatus

Total : about 320 CHF

I think this should be correct. The difference is not that big but still 70 CHF less for 2 people :)

*Valid for the whole day on all public transportation of the country

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So you are saying the 50% half fare card at a cost of 120 CHF or 125 EUR will allow me to get half off on Titlis? I see a charge of roughly 135 when I plugged it into their calculator.

https://shop.swiss-pass.ch/#/en/product/excursionTitlis

 

that is 70 more than the SP

Golden roundtrip is 78+39*104%  = 122  This is an additional 200 that I’d have to pay for these two trips vs the SP.

https://www.pilatus.ch/en/booking/prices

I was assessed a fee for the kid. Does the kid get it for free w Half fare pass?

 

For Golden LIne, I couldn't find a official link but one site said w the kid the cost is 40 Montreaux to Lucerne.

https://www.happyrail.com/en/depart?from=luzern&to=montreux&departure=2023-09-29T06%3A00%3A00&return=

------------------

Golden line 40

Titlis 125

Golden round trip 122

Half Fare pass 120

Total is 400+ and this excludes my Paris to Geneva trip, let’s call that 60. or 460 which makes it the worst card to get.

 

let me know if I made a mistake w my math.

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