So I am a virgin traveler and decided at 26 it is time, so I decided to join the Forum's to get advice from more experienced travelers.
I am leaving for Lausanne, Switzerland July 14th and will being spending 6 weeks to travel and see all the beauty I can see in Switzerland and the surrounding countries. This would be were it gets a little fuzzy. I have no idea where to go, how to get there, and where to stay (hostels) will be the way I will be staying money wise--but where- which ones are good. Also, I was planning on bringing $4000 US dollars. How should I do the money exchange. I was told not to travel with credit cards because of the surcharge -so do I carry around that much cash?
Any help on all or any of these situation would be great and much appreciated.
Thank you- an excited virgin traveler
I was told not to travel with credit cards because of the surcharge -so do I carry around that much cash?
That is a crappy advice! Sure, you have to watch the surcharge, but often credit card is the only way to get money from the bank when you are abroad. Taking everything in cash would be madness!
Doing large cash withdrawals helps, this way you pay the fees only once instead of many times. And instead of using a CC go for a normal ATM card. Some banks have cooperation schemes. For example (IIRC) if you bank with Bank of America in the USA you can do free withdrawals from Deutsche Bank in Germany with your BoA ATM card. Ask your bank.
I have no idea where to go, how to get there, and where to stay
I strongly suggest getting a good guidebook. Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, Let's Go - all those are good for what you want. You might also read up on the internet and compile some notes into a Word file, this can be useful in some cases.
Well, to get to Lausanne, you're probably flying in from Geneva. Stay in Geneva for a couple of days, and enjoy Jet d'eau. (Tallest fountain). And everything else around it is great to explore by foot. ~ 30 minutes by train, you'll be in Lausanne. Really nice city as well.
Then maybe you can go to Berne -> Zurich -> Luzern -> Interlaken (while you're in Interlaken, go to Thun as well. More lakes and mountains. You might want to go to Jungfraujoch as well. *top of Europe* just expensive to go up there though...~ $125) -> Zermatt... Nice (In Zermatt, go to Gornergrat. Awesome view of Matterhorn aka Toblerone Mountain)
Yes, I suggest you bring a CC with you instead of that bulky money. But then, again if you really dont want to bring that credit card, exchange that $4000 to a gift card. at least with a gift card, you really have to pay attention with how much you're spending. But, I still suggest that you bring your CC as a back up. It's really expensive in Suisse. A big mac meal cost me about $12. So, convert
Swiss Transportation is awesome! Just get the Swiss Pass and travel around the country.... Very efficient. Everything is by train, but of course there are buses too. (Intercity/Regional train)
Most beautiful country I've seen so far, every city has something to offer; but I haven't been to New Zealand, though........
Hostels: If you're staying in Interlaken, stay at Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof.
In Geneva, I stayed at Hostel Geneve, it was just too small for me... Maybe you could look for something else.
Have fun!!! You'll enjoy it... Easy to get around, and almost all of them speak English. Would be nice if you spek some German and French as well..........