Just when I was so proud to travel to Geneva for 49 euro, I missed my 7 am train by 2 minutes and I had to purchase an immediate ticket for 126 euro in Gare de Lyon, Paris. I was so angry with myself that I almost burst into tears but mummy helped me to calm down through phone. Money cannot buy happiness but it can definitely buy an urgent ticket. This was definitely a sign indicating how expensive the trip will be. However, I did not catch it at all as I was still collecting my emotions to start the solo trip with a positive note.
Buy a cheaper ticket starting from 49 euro from Paris to Geneva. It is around 3 hours by train and you will pass through the beautiful eastern part of France. Do make sure you buy a ticket with a seat because 3 hours is a long time to stand. After I got off the train at Genève-Cornavin train station, I was intimidated by all the police officers standing in the passage. I felt like walking on a runaway with Anne Wintour and her squad gawking at each of my moves. Well, it lasted only for a minute and then I was physically and mentally in Switzerland.
Do have patience and wait in the long line to buy your Swiss pass before getting off the station. Swiss pass offers you a discount on transportation and other activities. It is worth having it ahead of time. On the other hand, do remember the Swiss pass is very expensive. It can go up to 500 euro. There are various kinds of Swiss pass and each has different benefits. So do not rush to buy the pass. Share your itinerary in detail with the salesman and based on your need, they will recommend the Swiss pass that best fits you. You can also buy bundle tickets to visit attractions in and near Geneva at the station to save some money.
Use the locker room and walk weight free. All the stations in Switzerland have a locker room. So if you are planning to travel to a city for some hours and do not want to carry heavy luggage all the time, these locker rooms will save you. The lockers are of various sizes from small to extra large. So, do not hesitate to try the locker room just because you have a piece of large luggage. I always carried a small bag to hold my identity cards and other necessities and left the rest of my belongings in the locker. Do carry a small bag with you all the time. It comes super handy. The lockers are safe, automatic and accept both cash and card. If you are paying with cash, do carry extra cash when you return to pick up your bags because you might need to pay extra charge. I love this facility as it helps explorers explore more of the country.
Exchange or use ATM to collect Franc currency in the station. They have currency exchange offices; multiple ATM booths of various banks and it accept international debit/credit cards. I did a mistake of not withdrawing money in the station and it was difficult to find ATM booths that accepted my international bankcard in the city. Unlike Paris or Los Angeles, Geneva does not have many ATM booths. You can pay using a bank card if you wish, but the best way to expense smartly is by carrying Franc in cash. In this way, your bank does not charge you every time and you can control the currency exchange rate.
Switzerland is crazy expensive. I want to visit so much but I know that I will have to give up so many things (chocolate and cheese fondues every night, wine, nice central accomodation, staying in a cottage,…) I just keep it on my list for better times.
Yes, Swiss experience is incomplete without cheese, wine, chocolate and cute cottages. I am sure you will love the country. It’s a unique experience 🙂