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Switzerland RS Tour. How much to convert to CHF?

I am taking the Rick Steves 10 day Switzerland tour. I am wondering what would be an appropriate amount of money to convert/withdraw into Swiss money (CHF)?

I will have a couple of hundred euros on hand.

Posted by
8526 posts

I would start with 100 CHF. Depending on how you use cash vs card, it could be enough for the entire trip. Plenty of ATM machines along the way if you do need more.

I know you will enjoy this tour!

Posted by
7656 posts

I think the best advice anymore is to verify your credit card has no foreign transaction fees, and that it is contactless capable for "tap" purchases (it will have the little wi-fi looking symbol on it). Your credit card then, you can use in most places you would have used cash, even for small purchases, in the past. Someone mentioned getting out maybe 100 CHF, that works, but you likely will find yourself trying to use cash up near the end. I do think it is wise to have some CHF in your pocket.

As a comparison, I will be in Spain for 3 1/2 weeks next month, I have maybe 85 euro on hand, I do not anticipate using an ATM during the trip, unless I want to restock my backup cash, I always have about 50 euro on me when traveling, just an old habit.

Posted by
270 posts

There is usually a minimum amount that you have to withdraw from an ATM. You might want to start with that amount and get a feel for how much cash you are using.

Posted by
33128 posts

Swiss machines tend to vend CHF100 notes. If you ask for CHF100 you likely will get one note only.

If it is set up for 5s or 20s, asking it for 85 or 95 or 80 may give you money in denominations you prefer. Then again, except for a couple of pieces of fruit from a market I've never had a CHF100 turned down by anybody. Tough for paying for a McClean toilet though.

That said, I was travelling independently in Switzerland for 10 days this July - not on a RS tour - and left with the same CHF30 in my wallet that I came with, and the same coins,

Posted by
17 posts

My wife and I recently traveled to Switzerland for a 9-day trip. I withdraw 100 CHF cash from an ATM at the Zurich airport and that was enough, although we could have used another 50 or so for bar tabs (instead we just used a credit card, which was accepted). While the Swiss prefer the swipe method they also were able to take the chip cards. My Visa card charged a 1% transaction fee but the interest rate on the card was extrra low so there's tradeoff. The exchange rate on CHF btw is extra low; it was $1.04 in July but may be even lower now, given the Euro is under a $ now.

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Posted by
17 posts

I meant the tap method, not swipe. I don't know if any credit card machines accept swipes anymore...

Posted by
32244 posts

I normally use the method that Carol suggested in the first reply, and start with CHF 100. I either obtain that at my local credit union before departure, or make a stop at an ATM soon after arrival. I usually pay hotel bills and other larger bills with a credit card, but the cash is useful for meals and other smaller purchases.