Switzerland is known for its beautiful cities, stunning Alps, and rich, diverse culture. It’s all the best of Europe. Are you unsure where to start when packing for your trip to Switzerland? These are our top tips for packing the best Swiss vacation of your dreams.
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- Conservative Attire
Although clothing does not necessarily have to be conservative, it is important that your travel wardrobe be stylish and well-designed. Although it might seem a bit outmoded to wear jeans in Switzerland, you should not bring anything that is too “distressed”.
The majority of Americans’ “nice” clothes are likely to be the same as Swiss everyday clothing. This applies for both men AND women. Jeans are acceptable if they’re dark or black. It rarely gets hot enough to require shorts.
Although muted colors are the norm, you don’t have to limit yourself to black. Avoid anything too flashy. Evening out is a good time to dress up a bit more. You can swap your daytime dark jeans for a dress or maxi skirt and pair it with sandals or loafers.
Layers are essential for spring and autumn. Be sure to pack your essential layering items, as well as gloves and a scarf. Also, make sure you have comfortable shoes or boots that are suitable for all weather conditions (i.e. rain)!
- Portable Power Bank
Switzerland was designed for long, active days. This means that you will need a fully charged phone battery at least three hours after you leave your accommodation. To keep your music and GPS alive, make sure you have enough space in your backpack. You can download new playlists, audiobooks, podcasts and other media beforehand. Don’t forget your headphones!
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- Hiking Gear
The towering Alps of Switzerland are the main draw for most people. There are many ways to discover them. Summer activities include skiing, kayaking and hang gliding. River rafting is just one of many options. No matter what your travel plans are, you will want to be ready for some great hikes.
You can leave the heavy-duty equipment at home. There are many places that rent gear, so you don’t have to lug around bulky skis. For hiking, I recommend that you pack a few basics: a pair of comfortable hiking shoes, several pairs thick socks, and a rain-resistant jacket. You can fill a collapsible, reusable water container with high-quality Swiss water from water fountains or natural spring water drinking fountains anywhere there is a tap.
- Small First Aid Kit
You should also have a small first aid kit with you when you go hiking beyond the city limits. You are at risk of getting hurt in any outdoor activity, no matter how intense. So make sure you have a basic first aid kit with you.
You’ll be glad you carried a compact kit that fits in your palm.
Sunscreen can be expensive — as much as $20 USD! Sunscreen is a must-have commodity that you don’t want to leave at home. Sunscreen that is high in SPF and easy to use (e.g. clear spray) should be brought so you can apply it throughout the day. Bright sunlight, particularly when it reflects off of snow, can cause serious burns. While sunglasses may seem redundant, they are essential.
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Additional Packing Tips for Switzerland
- Get useful apps
A few apps can make your trip to Switzerland easier. I recommend that you download them before your arrival. Language apps are a great alternative to large-sized phrase books. However, it will be much more appreciated by locals if they can help you remember some common phrases. You don’t have time to learn? Google Translate saved me numerous times.
The app for SBB (Switzerland’s public transport) may be useful too. If you don’t want to miss out on the amazing opportunity to rent bikes, you can buy a Swiss travel card that will give you access to all Swiss rail, road, and waterway transports for a specified amount of days.
- Travel insurance
Apart from the mandatory plug adapter, voltage converter, make sure to purchase travel insurance. You’re bound to do some adventurous activities if you travel to the Alps. This insurance may be more expensive than standard travel insurance for winter sports such as skiing or snow trekking. However, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have it. World Nomads is our trusted source for travel insurance.
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- Exchange of currencies
Although the Swiss Franc is the currency of the country, exchanging dollars at airports for them will make you very rich. The fees your bank charges to withdraw money from an ATM internationally are much lower than the cost of bringing cash and exchanging it.
Switzerland is known for being expensive so don’t add any extra costs to your bill. You should only take out what you need. Visas can be accepted almost everywhere and there are minimal foreign transaction fees so a credit card will work best for you.