Facts for the Visitor

US citizen: No visa required, visitors permitted to stay 3 months.
Japanese citizen: No visa required, visitors permitted to stay 3 months.

Language Skills Needed
Almost all Swiss speak English, French, and German. English is sufficient for any occasion.

Cash Machines
Available everywhere. Most are on the Plus and Cirrus networks.

US$ 1 = 1.7 Swiss Francs (CHF) on August 20, 2000.

220V, 50Hz. Plugs have 3 round pins.

International Certificates of Vaccination are not required.

A 15% service charge is added to restaurant bills as mandated by Swiss regulations. No additional tip is required nor expected.

Luggage Storage
Luggage can be left at almost every train station in a locker, a luggage storage room, or the rail personnel room for a small fee.

Switzerland has four official languages: Swiss-German (north, center, east), French (west), Italian (south), and Rhaeto-Romanic (south-east). Almost everyone in the service industry speaks these and English.

Phone Cards
Two types of phone cards are sold: Swisscom and ICM prepaid card. Many public phones accept Swisscom phone cards only.

Swisscom Public Telephones
Most Swisscom public telephones have an attached keyboard that provides telephone number searches free of charge. Key word searches are possible. For instance, if looking for a hotel in a particular town, enter "Hotel" in the "Name" field and the town name in the "City" field to get a list of all hotels with their address, phone number, and e-mail address or web URL.

Discount Train Tickets
Buying individual tickets when traveling around Switzerland is expensive. There are 3 options to cut costs for frequent travelers:
Swiss Pass: Valid 4, 8, 15, 21 or 1 month of consecutive day unlimited travel.
Swiss Flexi Pass: Valid for 3~9 days of unlimited non-consecutive day travel within a 1 month period.
1 Month Half Fare Card: For a CHF 104 fee, the 1 Month Half Fare Card entitles the holder to purchase almost all train, bus, and gondola tickets at half price for a 1 month period.
If you roughly know your itinerary, go to the information counter at any Swiss railway station and ask them to calculate a detailed list of all the cost options including train, bus, and gondola. The Swiss, being incredibly efficient, will give you all the prices, price differences, and explain the advantages and drawbacks of each. Most short distance Swiss rail tickets are valid for 1 day, distances greater than 87km are valid for 2 days, and long distance circular routes are valid for one month. Tickets valid for multiple days allow the bearer to stop anywhere along the journey.

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