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Need Advice - Switzerland/Italy Trip

We are flying from the US for a trip. We plan on going to Italy and Switzerland. Our flight stops in Zurich with a connecting flight to Italy. Since we plan on going to both countries would we be allowed to not take the connecting flight and start our trip in Switzerland and work our way down vs flying to Italy and then having to back track? I can’t find anything close to this anywhere.

Posted by
873 posts

The Washington Post just had an interesting article on "Skip-lagging" as it is called in the industry, where passengers get off at intermediate destinations. It almost always causes the rest of the entire reservation to be cancelled. Obviously that would be a bad thing. If you want to do open jaw - US to Zurich and Italy to US with train travel between legs it has to be booked that way. Can you change your reservation? Even for a significant cost going open jaw would maximize your time on the ground for what you really want to do.

Posted by
4547 posts

What places do you intend to visit? Maybe someone could post an itinerary based on that where you can do a loop of sorts. Even if you backtrack along the same route, you can stop at different locations.
It's that or fly to your furthest destination and work your way back by train.

Posted by
848 posts

As Nick said, if you want to change your itinerary, change your ticket or you may find you don’t have a flight home or face fines or both. The airlines have put out the message that they are coming down on those that “skip lag.” Or as others have suggested change itinerary to coincide with your flights.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you everyone for the advice! I’ve never heard of the skiplagging thing until today. I called capital one (that’s who we booked the travel through) and they weren’t able to find anything close to what we needed. For a flight change. Even offered to pay the difference to just land in Zurich and was told no. So we’re stuck with the flights. So the plan right now is fly into Rome and leave for Florence, Milan/Lake Como, Interlaken, Laugerbrunnen/Murren, Zermat, Rome. Plan on take the train to all these places. So if anyone has travel advice, I’m all ears.

Posted by
4547 posts

So the plan right now is fly into Rome and leave for Florence, Milan/Lake Como, Interlaken, Laugerbrunnen/Murren, Zermat, Rome. Plan on take the train to all these places. So if anyone has travel advice, I’m all ears.

How many weeks do you have for this itinerary? About a month would be ideal, certainly at least three weeks.
On arrival head to Florence
Train to Milan/Lake Como
(both of these routes served by Trenitalia/Italotren)
Someone else will have to assist with Switzerland to Italy travel routes, but you can depart the lakes in morning and be in the Alps by evening at latest. I would choose one base--you don't need separate stays in Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, and Murren.
Next, train to Zermat (see train schedules on the SBB website)
train to Rome.

You might compare the journeys from Florence and from Milan to Zermat and to the BO area, as it may make more sense to break up the trip on the journey north or south.

Posted by
16707 posts

No worries; you can do a nice loop through Switzerland without backtracking (except in Italy). Rome to Florence to Varenna on Lake Como (via Milan). From Varenna take the train north to Tirano and ride the Bernina Express train or a regular regional train on the scenic route to Pontresina in Switzerland. Overnight here (2 nights if you want to explore with the free transport pass included with your hotel). The take the train to Luzern for 2 nights (stop here instead of in Interlake which is very close to Lauterbrunnen). Then Golden Pass train to Lauterbrunnen via Interlaken Ost.

To return to Rome, you have 2 options, assuming your trip is this summer.

Ride the train back to Luzern and change to a train to Lugano or Locarno using the Gotthard Pass route. Overnight in one or the other—-both are Swiss cities on lakes. Then continue by train to Milan, where you pick up a train back to Rome. OR,

Take the train via Spiez and Brig to Domodossola,changing there to a train going to Locarno. Then proceed as above.

Note: if your trip date is before June 8 or in mid-September or later, you can skip the change to Locarno and ride straight to Milan. The Locarno detour is to avoid a construction closure of the tracks south of Domodossola. There will be a bus link across the gap, and if you don’t mind that, you could avoid the Locarno dogleg even if going in June-September.

Consider spending the last night before your flight out in Fiumicino, a little beach town adjacent to FCO airport. There are hotels with shuttles to the airport, or take a taxi for the 5- to 10-minute ride.