How to Travel for Cheap in Expensive Countries

Do some items on your bucket place seem unattainable? Think again!

Stark Raving
5 min readSep 28


Photo by the author

As much as I had dreamt of glacier hikes and big pots of melted cheese fondue, I never thought I would be able to travel to Switzerland. It is the most expensive country in Europe, with the cost of living around 88% higher than that of the UK. It’s no wonder when you know that the average wage is around 6,700 Swiss francs per month — or £6,000.

So naturally, I wrote off the idea of travelling to this land in the heart of the Alps, with its endlessly stunning landscapes.

Shoestring Switzerland

That was until I stumbled across an advert for a Coliving space in Liddes, which cost only 600 francs a month for two people. A converted chalet in a small village, the house has views of the spectacular mountains, and you can step out of your door straight onto fantastic hiking routes.

I order groceries online from a supermarket called Migros, where prices are slightly higher than back in the UK, but it is still possible to eat a tasty vegetarian diet for 70$ / £60 a week. I have my mountain bike here, and my main activities are cycling and hiking, so that’s all completely free. I have bought a discounted rail pass, which allows me to travel to nearby towns for half price — so I can check out Geneva and Lausanne on the stunning Lac Leman. In Europe’s most expensive country, I will still manage to live off 1000$ a month.

The truth is, you can always find cheap ways to travel, even in expensive countries.

*Sidenote: “cheap” is relative, and I am speaking with the privilege of someone who has an income, albeit a fraction of what the average Swiss person earns.

So, what are some tips for saving money in expensive countries?

Buy food from supermarkets

This doesn’t have to be a depressing thing — in fact, I love exploring foreign supermarkets and wondering what strange products are. You can often find great local delicacies as well. Cooking for yourself is an easy way of saving 30–100$ a day. Prepare sandwiches before going out for a day's exploring so you don’t find yourself stuck with only…



Stark Raving

Intersectional feminism and environmental issues. Let’s make the world a kinder, more sustainable place. Support my work!