Reasons NOT To Buy The Swiss Travel Pass

Reasons not to buy Swiss Travel Pass

Everyone buys the Swiss Travel Pass without really thinking about it.

It is popular and heavily marketed, but not always the best option for a lot of people.

Below are my list of reasons why you should NOT buy the Swiss Travel Pass.

1. It’s Too Expensive (For What You Use)

The Swiss Travel Pass is one of Switzerland’s most expensive travel passes.

And many people will not get their money’s worth out of it.

On average, it costs around 50 CHF a day, but most train trips visitors take are less than that.

For example: the journey from Lucerne to Interlaken – it is 34 CHF one way, second class.

That is less than the 50 CHF a day it will cost you for the Swiss Travel Pass


2. It Doesn’t Cover Everything

One of the biggest selling points of the Swiss Travel Pass is: “just buy it and get on the train/bus/tram”.

And yes, that is true.

BUT, it does not cover:

  • 95% of mountain excursions: Jungfraujoch, Pilatus, Matterhorn Glacier Express etc.
  • seat reservations on panoramic trains

So, if you buy it to avoid bookings, tickets or other hassles, think again.

3. There Are Cheaper Passes

Don’t get trapped thinking the Swiss Travel Pass is the only solution.

The Swiss Half Fare Card is a great alternative for those of you on a budget.

It is cheap, gives you huge discounts and lasts for a long time. You can read more about it here.

I also have a post comparing it to the Swiss Travel Pass here.

Another option is to buy the Super Saver Day Pass or even Super Saver Tickets for specific journeys you take. The discounts for those can be significant (up to 50%).


4. Regional Passes Are Often Better

Regional passes are also available, which might be more helpful if you plan to stay in a particular area for a number of days.

For example, the Tell Pass covers the whole area around Lucerne, Lake Lucerne and even further.

And the Berner Oberland Pass is perfect for those roaming around the Interlaken/Jungfrau Region.

Sometimes, you have to think a little outside the box to get the best deal!

5. Pass Lengths Are Restrictive

The Swiss Travel Pass is great when it fits your trip and itinerary, but what if you are traveling for 5 days, 3 weeks days or a month.

Bad luck: You are either going to overpay, have to buy two passes, or have to buy single tickets along the way.

The Swiss Travel Pass is only valid for 3,4,6,8 or 15 days.

Sure, you can get the flex pass and validate the pass on the days you need it, but that adds to the price and complexity!

6. Discounts Only Apply When The Pass Is Valid

One of the great benefits of the Swiss Travel Pass is that you get

  • huge discounts on mountain excursions
  • free entry to 500 museums

BUT, if your pass is not valid or activated on the day you enter the museum or ride that gondola, then you will be paying full price for that trip or museum.

This means you might need to “waste” a day on your pass just to get the discount, Which, might be worth it if the trip is normally over 100 CHF (like the Jungfraujoch and a few others). But for many trips, it is a waste of a day!

More On The Swiss Travel Pass

Mountain Trips

Jungfraujoch,   Pilatus,   Mount Rigi,   Mount Rigi

Pass Comparisons

Jungfrau Travel Pass,   Interrail,   Car Rental

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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