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Two questions???

First question: We'll be going on the Alpine My Way tour AFTER spending time in Paris & taking a river cruise. The way we figure it, we'll have to take a 3rd suitcase for things we'll need for this portion of our trip that we won't need for the RS tour, but we don't want to be lugging the extra suitcase along with us. We were told when we contacted RS that we could store the extra piece of luggage on the bus, (& we really appreciate this), but we'll still need to deal with it after we dock in Basel & take trains to Zurich & Salzburg where we'll meet the tour. We'll have it to deal with again when the tour ends in Chamonix & we extend our trip by taking trains to Montreux. Is there a way to inexpensively & safely send our extra bag from Basel to Geneva (or Montreux) to be waiting for us when we fly back to the states at the end of our trip? We're looking at Express Luggage, but it sounds like you need to pick it up the same day & that wouldn't help us.

Second question: Transportation from Basel to Salzburg was harder to arrange than we expected. We ended up booking a train from Basel to Zurich & then Zurich to Salzburg, but there's only a 14 minute transfer time between the two. We'll only be going from platform 8 to platform 9, (not sure what that distance will be), but can any of you more experienced European train travelers let us know if that's cutting it too close?
Thanks in advance for your help!
Judy & Bob

Posted by
108 posts

Hi Judy,

I don't know about the bag delivery but going from platform 8 to 9 should be easy. At best it's getting off one train and walking 20' to the next train, at worst is taking the stairs down into the tunnel then walking 20' under the tracks, and back up the stairs to your train. 5 minutes tops for the average person. Just remember, there is no "Please remain seated until the train has come to a complete stop ......" rule like on airlines. People get up and are waiting at the door as the train is pulling into the stop. :)

Posted by
11507 posts

Well that all sounds difficult and stressful.. why not just pack take one bag each ( so when you say third suitcase you mean to share.. not a third one each right?)

I think you will find most of us can travel for up to a month with one small to medium bag.. luggage storage and hauling it around is such a hassle in Europe.

We are going to Europe for a month( and will be in Paris for a week for my umpteenth time) and I am still taking one 22 inch bag.. and no.. I do not look like a slob.. We are struggling a bit with the climate differences.. doing Greece and Mallorca ( so needing warmer weather clothes, and Dublin, Amsterdam and Paris.. all of which we will need rain gear , long pants and sweaters) so I get its hard.. but numerous travels with larger cases and I have sworn off of them for life.. I always came home with stuff I didn't wear and a sore back ! lol

Ps I thought most river cruises were casual.. not like some ocean cruises with formal nights.

Posted by
11613 posts

You could ship the extra stuff home from your last city on the cruise before the tour starts. Or pack lighter.

Posted by
16894 posts

I also encourage you to pack lighter, with items that can layer, mix & match, and be washed. For instance, if you want to wear a nicer dress in Paris, nobody will know that it's the same one for a few days. Likewise, a gentleman shouldn't need more than one blazer. See also Switzerland's other baggage handling services.

Tracks 8 and 9 are accessed from the same platform at Zurich HBF; map available under the downloads menu here.

Direct trains between Basel and Zurich depart about every 10 minutes (but some slower and some faster) and you probably could use your existing tickets on an earlier departure.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks everyone for the very helpful info. LOL -- I thought I might be "asking for it" when it came to the luggage question! We've easily managed 3 weeks with a 21" case, but the things throwing us off are the different climates, & terrain & the river cruise. Though it is casual, we hear the evenings seem to require clothes we wouldn't bring for the rest of our trip. If we can arrange the 1 extra 21" case to be sent to & stored in Montreux, we'll go that route, otherwise, we'll do a pre-pack & see if we can cut enough. Those darn men's shoes take up so much space! We really liked having our hiking shoes a few years ago in the Swiss Alps, but maybe we can get by with regular tennis shoes which would also work for the rest of the trip. Being a small woman, I can get a lot into a 21" case, but it's harder for my husband. We found the site for sending luggage from station to station & storing it (12 SWF for 1st 4 days & 5 SWF for each additional day), & sent an email to arrange it, but haven't heard back yet. We've already looked into shipping the case directly back to the states but it's very pricey.
It's good to know there are earlier trains from Basel to Zurich we might be able to switch to, but knowing platforms 8 & 9 in Zurich are right next to each other makes us feel a lot more comfortable with our 14 minute transfer! Thank you Laura, for the earlier train info. & for directing us to the map, & also for the other link regarding sending luggage from station to station!
Thank you all for taking the time to answer our questions! We really appreciate your help!
Judy & Bob

Posted by
1 posts

One of my best travel solutions has been to bring older clothes I am willing to discard. As it is worn, I leave it behind & my wardrobe dwindles. As the trip progresses, it leaves room in my suitcase(s) for new purchases I get along the way to wear, or take home trinkets. I also pack an empty duffle bag in the bottom of my suitcase on occasion. The pictures also remind me of some old favorite clothing I no longer have, that hopefully someone in another country is enjoying. =)