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Travel pass question

I’ll be visiting Switzerland next June with my kids (13 & 15) and think I’ll be buying a 3 or 4 day travel pass. I’ll have a rental car, but I think the pass will save me in the long run as I plan on doing a lot of travel in the Jungfraujoch region.

My question is whether I should buy the pass now or wait? Do prices increase i.e in the new year? Is there any benefit to buying it early? Do they usually have promotions, so it would be best to wait?

Thank you!

Thanks!

Posted by
20336 posts

There just was a special that expired a day or so ago, but it was a discount on a 1st class pass only. And I can't recall if there was a restriction on the validity dates.

With the free Family Card, and the fact that it will be valid on the Schilthornbahn in 2019, could be worth it.

I don't know if there is a price increase coming for 2019, Rick Steves people will know. But the pass is always priced in Swiss Francs. So if the CHF increases in value between now and June, it will cost more in June in terms of your home currency. But it could go the other way as well. Any time you plan an trip outside of your home country's currency, you become a currency speculator, whether you like it or not.

Posted by
61 posts

Thank you! I don’t think the Schilthornbahn is included next year... is the family pass valid in 1st class, too (in case they have another promotion)

Posted by
20336 posts

According to the official price list for Dec 9, 2018 to Dec 14, 2019 it is. Note this verbiage.

The Swiss Travel Pass is valid on the entire journey Stechelberg – Mürren – Schilthorn.

https://schilthorn.ch/cmsfiles/tariffs_schilthorn_2019_english.pdf

The Family Card would be valid, otherwise the kids would be riding 2nd class and the parents in a different car in 1st class. But I would not keep my hopes up for seeing this deal again, This last one was just SBB trying to get in on the Cyber Week Black Friday action.

Posted by
61 posts

That is confusing.. the SBB website says that the Schilthorn is only included through 2018. When I went to buy the pass, and a ticket to the Schilthorn, it was not included but I did get a discount. I didn’t finalize the purchase as I’m waiting to hear back from people on this site. Thanks again for your feedback!

Posted by
20336 posts

All I can say is, print out the document and show it at the ticket window.

Posted by
8889 posts

skcaitmads, the prices for Swiss Pass are fixed. They are set by the Swiss Railway companies a long time in advance. When they do change (rarely, every 2-3 years) then the date they change and the new price is published a long time in advance.
In those cases, it is the date the pass is for that sets the price, not when you buy it.

So there is no benefit in buying early.
Of course if you buy from a foreign reseller in a foreign currency, then they may charge more than the "correct" price and their price in whatever foreign currency may fluctuate because of changing exchange rates.

The prices and details of the passes are here
Swiss Pass: https://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/travel-in-switzerland/international-guests/swiss-travel-pass.html
Swiss Half Fare Card: https://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/travel-in-switzerland/international-guests/swiss-halffare-card.html

When I went to buy the pass, and a ticket to the Schilthorn, it was not included but I did get a discount.

Are you saying you were trying to buy a Swiss Pass and a ticket for the Schilthorn online?
If you have a Swiss Pass, you don't need to buy any tickets for the routes covered. You already have a ticket (your Pass).
And even without a pass, you don't need to buy tickets in advance. There are some advance purchase discount tickets on some trains, but in most cases the fixed price applies and a ticket is valid on any train that day.

Posted by
8889 posts

is the family pass valid in 1st class

There are 1st and 2nd class versions of the Swiss Pass (see here https://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/travel-in-switzerland/international-guests/swiss-travel-pass.html ), your choice.
The family card is an add-on that allows your children to travel free when they are travelling with you, which implies in the same class as you.

Children between 6 and 16 years of age who are accompanied by at least one parent (holding a valid STS ticket) travel free of charge with the complimentary Swiss Family Card.

On the Schilthorn, and many other mountain lines, there is no 1st class.

Posted by
33140 posts

If you buy a Schilthorn ticket in advance what will you do if the day you have planned turns out to be the rainy or foggy one of the week?

Posted by
768 posts

I've taken each of my kids to the region when they became teens and they loved taking the trails--even returning as adults to do the same ones. Click on my name to find the link where I have maps and pics of those trails.

Note that in June some of the higher trails (typically around First) may be covered with snow. Tourist info will be able to update you when you arrive.

I've always bought my pass when there--harder to lose!

Posted by
16894 posts

You cannot buy a Swiss Travel Pass more than 6 months in advance of the travel start date, which will be pre-validated. Special offers like extra days could come any time during the year, but more likely to be early than in peak travel season.

The Muerren-Schilthorn leg was fully covered in 2018, but we were told that a rival rail route started a lawsuit about that, which is why this route was for a time shown as discounted 50% on the Schilthorn's 2019 price list. The link Sam provided has been edited (since I printed a copy last month) to again say the whole route is covered, so the Schilthorn must have won their court case to be allowed to make that offer.

While the Swiss typically announce any product changes much further ahead than other railways in Europe, there can be reasons for features to change on shorter notice.

Tim, yes, it does mean that it's covered 100%, unless you're talking about an optional reserved boarding time. However, the nearby Mürren – Allmendhubel route is not fully covered.

Posted by
20336 posts

A note about the SBB site re Schilthornbahn. They don't show prices for the Swiss Travel Pass, but for the "GA" General Abonnement, which is one year pass costing several thousand CHF. 99.9% of the time, they are equivalent, but in this special case, the GA only gets a 50% discount, but an STP gives 100%.

Posted by
61 posts

Thanks a million to everyone who took the time to respond. I like to get as much as I can booked ahead of time, as oftentimes there’s a financial benefit, but I think I’ll wait on buying the Swiss Pass. I appreciate your advice!

Posted by
393 posts

My wife and I visited friends in Zurich a year ago. We got the 7 day pass. It was very expensive but convenient for two reasons:
1) we could hop on/off any train or bus and not worry (and their phone app is great)
2) our friends don't own a car and they only use the Swiss system, so we were able to travel together.

If you're renting a car, and you have 3 (or more) people, you may want to weigh the cost/benefit
We're going to Italy this next spring and we'll NOT rent, since parking is expensive ....