Switzerland: the Alps, Zurich + more….

June 22-30, 2019  |  9 days / 8 nights |  $3,195

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“I’ve traveled all over the world, and Switzerland is one of the places that make me feel at home. The mountains are so vast. The air is fresh (and thin!) and being in the alps just puts me at ease. It’s such a special place, and I’m honored to be able to share some of my favorite corners of this beautiful country with you!” —— Mary, Trip Host for this adventure.

Trip Agenda

Day 1 – June 22
Your Trip Host will meet you at Zurich’s International Airport and escort you back to the hotel. Spend the rest of the day relaxing or getting your first glimpses of Switzerland’s capital city. Over dinner you’ll meet the other women on the trip and learn more about the adventure ahead! Dinner included.

Day 2 – June 23
A local guide will take us on a morning walking tour to learn about Zurich’s past, present and evolving culture. After our walking tour we’ll head east by train to one of the most authentic corners of Switzerland: Appenzell. Here you’re likely to see cows walking the street and hear yodeling from the nearby mountains. (Seriously!) We’ll enjoy a quiet evening exploring this cozy town. All meals included. 

Day 3 – June 24
After breakfast we’ll ascend 5,380 feet on a lift to a mountaintop, hike pass a 400-year-old church in a cave, and round the bend to find Aescher Guesthouse. Here we’ll go on a short hike (and get our lungs comfortable at a higher elevation!) and then be guests at Claudia and Benny’s table for a traditional rössti dinner, local beer and cheese, games and storytelling. Breakfast and an early dinner included. 

Day 4 – June 25
We’ll say goodbye to sleepy Appenzell and take a series of train, lifts, etc. to our next mountain town: Mürren, in the heart of the Bernese Oberland region. You’ll immediately feel a thousand miles away (and above!) civilization. And the views: second to none. All meals included.

Day 5 – June 26
Spend your morning as you wish. Relax on your balcony overlooking the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains, join a morning yoga session or visit the local spa. Then get ready for an afternoon hike with vistas and waterfalls that will take your breath away and lead us to the small town of Gimmelwald for dinner, laugher and more views. Breakfast and dinner included.

Day 6 – June 27
A local guide will escort us as we hike for 6-7 hours to the small town of Obersteinberg. For the hike plan on periods of steep elevation gain, uneven terrain and stretches of the trail that are exposed to the direct sun. And the occasional cow and mountain goat 🙂 We’ll be staying one night at a working alpine farm where there are no showers, hot water, and electricity. But trust us, the setting is worth it. And hey, it’s just one night! Dinner by candlelight will transport you to a simpler way of life — one you will never forget.  All meals included.

Day 7 – June 28
We’ll say goodbye to the cows and friends made at Obersteinberg and start the hike back to Mürren. The hike back is steep and straight down, but we’ll be stopping en route for a picnic lunch and to enjoy the beautiful views. After a celebratory toast at the end we’ll all take the evening to relax, rest up and revel in the amazing hike we just conquered! Breakfast and lunch included. 

Day 8 – June 29
After breakfast we’ll (sadly) say goodbye to the mountains and start the journey back to Zurich. We’ll rest and relax with a visit to Zurich’s ‘Bathing Sanctuary.’ Here you’ll get a once-in-a-lifetime experience navigating Irish and Roman bath rituals. It’s the ideal treat for your body after a long week of hiking and before your flight back home. After our spa visit we’ll toast our adventure with a final celebration, this time in Zurich’s trendy West neighborhood. All meals included.

Day 9 – June 30
On this final day, everyone will either start the journey home from Zurich or the next leg of their personal vacations. If you’re heading to Zurich’s International Airport, your Trip Host will arrange transportation. No meals included. 

Trip itinerary is subject to change but will always maintain a spirit of adventure and diverse activities.

Questions? Check out the FAQs for this trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is going on the trip?

This trip is made up of 12 women: 11 guests and your Trip Host. A major tenet of Living Big is to make international travel more accessible to women who don’t want to go at it alone. To learn more about the philosophy, click here.

Can I join the trip solo? Or can I invite a few of my friends to join me on the trip?

Yes and yes to both questions! Some women join Living Big trips on their own; there to make friends and see the world, and others join Living Big trips because they want to share the experience with their friends, sisters, mothers or daughters and don’t want to do any of the planning!

You’ll find that the trips are structured in a way that you’ll have a good amount of group time, but also a fair amount of independent time to explore on your own, with new friends you met in the group, or with the friends joining you on the trip.

Who is the Trip Host? And what is her role?

On this trip your Trip Host is Mary. To learn more about Mary, click here.

The role of the Trip Host is to be there to make sure everything goes as smooth as possible, even when the inevitable travel bumps come our way – such as an unexpected rainy afternoon, traffic, missing luggage, etc. But more importantly, to be a resource that will give you the space you need to really enjoy the experience. So if throughout the trip there is something your Trip Host can do to support you in this regard – please let her know. For example, if you’re not feeling well, having trouble sleeping, not getting along with someone, not satisfied with something, etc. please please share these concerns. No one needs a ‘Mother’ on this trip – that’s not our intention, but if there are small adjustments that can be made to create more space for you to enjoy the experience —- the Trip Host will see what she can do!

How much does the trip cost? And what is included/excluded in this price?

The total price per person is $3,195. This includes the following:

  • Planning: all trip logistics, including pre-trip negotiations with all hotels and vendors, onsite coordination, useful information leading up to your trip such as advice on what to pack, how much to budget for spending money, a cheat sheet for learning the local language, advice on local currency, etc.
  • Hotels: 8 nights accommodation based on a shared room.
  • Meals: see the daily itinerary for meals included each day. Dinners generally include a limited amount of hosted beer and wine.
  • Transport: all ground transportation, including airport transfers (on the stated first and last days of the trip) and hired ground transportation, are included.
  • Activities: all activities, unless specified in the itinerary, are included.
  • Gratuities for local guides and partners.

The following are not included in the trip fee:

  • Round-trip airfare is not included, but gives you flexibility in using airline reward miles or extending your trip as you wish. Each guest is responsible for organizing their own airfare and transportation to the stated start and end cities.
  • A set amount of wine and beer will be purchased with each hosted dinner, but each guest will be responsible for alcoholic beverages beyond this amount.
  • While not required, each guest is encouraged to consult their existing insurance policy to determine what is covered while on the trip, and if needed, secure an individual insurance policy for the trip.
  • Any additional activities you want to book along the way: spa services, private tours, cooking classes, etc.
  • Incoming/outgoing transfers if your arrival and/or departure falls outside the stated first and last days of the trip.
  • Spending money, additional tips for your Trip Host and excess luggage fees.

What are the health and physical fitness requirements to join on the trip?

Guests should take personal responsibility to ensure they are physically able and healthy to participate in all group trip activities, such as hiking for the duration, at the elevation and in conditions described in the trip itinerary and FAQ’s; hiking and walking on uneven surfaces; carrying your own luggage in/out of vehicles and trains, on uneven surfaces, during hikes (including the overnight hike) and up stairs; riding in a van and/or train for up to 3-4 hours; and riding in mountain lifts (or gondolas) up mountainsides. The days are active and full. The trip is physically strenuous and best enjoyed by anyone who is physically fit and enjoys very active days. You should consult with a medical doctor to determine if you are healthy and physically able to participate.

How high will we be hiking? Do I need to worry about being at such a high altitude?

The altitude of the three mountains areas we’ll be visiting are Mürren (at 5,413 feet) Obersteinberg (at 5,833 feet) and Ebenalp (at 5,380 feet.) You should plan on walking, hiking, transporting luggage, and carrying a back pack with an overnight change of clothing and supplies for the hike to/from and stay at Obersteinberg. Please see the FAQ on the health and physical fitness requirements for this trip, and plan on training and being in good physical condition for this trip.

Is there a minimum/maximum age to participate?

Women over the age of 21, that are physically able to participate in the trip itinerary, are welcome to join for this adventure. Please see the detailed itinerary and FAQ on minimum physical fitness requirements to learn more.

What should I do to secure my spot on the trip?

The first step is to request a spot, which you can do online (click here.) Once you request a spot, we’ll reach out to you to schedule a call to review the trip details, get to know you, give you a chance to ask questions about Living Big, etc. If after this conversation you’re on board to join for the adventure, you’ll receive a link to the registration page where you can formally register, submit your first payment and sign the trip waiver. Please note: registration is taken on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Is airfare included in the trip fee? What do I need to know before I book my flight?

Round-trip airfare is not included in the trip fee, but this gives you flexibility in using airline reward miles, to extend your trip any way you like, and to select the routes and airlines you prefer. Each guest is responsible for organizing their own airfare and transportation to the stated start and end cities.

  • Inbound flights should arrive into Zurich International Airport (code: ZRH) on June 22 by 3PM, local time zone
  • Outbound flights should depart fromZurich International Airport (code: ZRH) on June 30 at anytime

You will be required to share flight details at least 8-12 weeks before the adventure commences.

Will I be sharing a hotel room? Can I choose my roommate?

Yes, everyone will be sharing a room with at least one other person, but you will have your own bed. You can request a roommate preference, and share sleeping preferences, on forms that you’ll be asked to fill out 10-12 weeks before your adventure begins.

There is not an opportunity for women to pay a single supplement in order to secure a private room. Here’s why: single supplements, while convenient for some willing to pay the fee, often prevent many single women from traveling because the cost is just too high, so the decision was made early on to not go down that path as a means to encourage more women to travel. And we find that sharing a room with another woman, and having an opportunity to connect with other women and learn about their lives in this way, contributes to what makes these trips very special.

Can you tell me about the type of accommodations we'll be staying at?

You betcha! In Zurich, Appenzell and Mürren we’ll be staying at three-star hotels, all with private bathrooms and showers. The hotel in Mürren does not have an elevator so you will need to carry your luggage up 2-3 flights of stairs. We’ll be spending one night at a rustic mountain hotel with very minimal services (i.e. no electricity, shared bathrooms, etc.)

What kind of ground transportation will we use?

We will be riding local trains (so less then one hour with frequent stops) as well as regional trains (3-4 hours) to get from the airport and between cities. In addition, we will occasionally be riding in shuttled vans/buses. To get to the various mountain towns we will be taking lifts, cable cars and mountain trains that ascend hillsides and gain altitude.

What should I pack?

About 10-12 weeks before the trip you’ll receive a detailed packing checklist and advised on what type of clothes and supplies you’ll need. But in general you’ll want hiking clothes, hiking boots you’ve worn in, a backpack you can take hiking and will hold overnight supplies and clothing, etc.

Do I need to carry my luggage?

Yes, plan on carrying your bags to/from the airport, on/off trains and buses and in/out of hotels. Some hotels may not have an elevator, so be prepared to carry your bag up/down stairs. Bring a daypack to carry daily essentials while we’re out exploring, including the overnight trip that can hold a change of clothing and supplies for one night.

What will the weather be like?

Weather in June is relatively warm, with temperatures averaging between 70-80 degrees fahrenheit. There might be occasional light rain and winds.

What if I don't need every hotel/activity/etc. on my trip?

Unfortunately, refunds aren’t possible for unused hotel rooms, meals or activities. The total trip price is a package deal; credits are not given for services not used. Please contact Living Big if you have questions or concerns about any trip activities due to a physical condition. If there is a reasonable alternative, we can explore it.

How do I communicate information like allergies, injuries, etc?

About 10-12 weeks before we begin our adventure, you’ll receive a pre-trip packet of information. This includes forms, questionnaires and waivers that you’ll need to submit no later than 8 weeks before the trip begins. These forms allow you to share these important details. Living Big will provide meals as outlined in the official trip itinerary and will work with you to try and accommodate special dietary requirements; however, Living Big is not required to provide such meals, supplements and/or any special requests beyond what is outlined in official trip itinerary.

Do I need a U.S. Passport or Visa for this trip?

Yes, a U.S. Passport is required to visit Switzerland. Your U.S. Passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date and have one blank page for entry stamps. A Visa is not required. Entry requirements may change. While your Trip Host will attempt to keep you informed of changes, you should take personal responsibility to ensure you can satisfy entry requirements. Click here to learn more about entering Switzerland with a U.S. Passport. If you plan to visit another country before or after your trip, contact Living Big Travel to discuss any additional entry requirements.

Do I have to pay for the entire trip up front or can I make payments?

No, you do not need to pay for the entire trip up front. (Although you can, if you prefer.) Check out the Pricing, Payment and Reservation tab for payment details.

What if I need to cancel the trip?

If you decide you need to cancel your trip the following refund schedule applies upon written notice of your cancellation:

  • Cancellations made on or before February 28, 2019:
    • Your trip deposit is nonrefundable. If you paid in full for the trip the deposit is $500.
    • You will be reimbursed 50% of what you have paid to date, less the nonrefundable deposit.
    • As an example, if you made a $500 deposit, then made two additional payments each for $250 (total paid = $1,000) then the amount you would receive back is $250.
  • Cancellations made on or after March 1, 2019:
    • All payments made to date are nonrefundable.

Travel insurance helps protect against last-minute cancellation, trip interruption, and to cover medical treatment or emergency medical evacuation during your trip. We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance and flight cancellation insurance in advance of your trip. To learn about travel insurance, click here for a quick lesson!

What if the trip doesn't fill up or is cancelled?

The trip requires a minimum number of participants in order to take place at the stated price, since it takes into account group discounts, shared accommodations and other factors that create cost efficiencies. Once an adequate number of participants sign up for the trip, you will be notified. If a trip does not have enough participants, or if someone unexpectedly cancels, you will be refunded your deposit or you will be given the option to pay a trip supplement to continue the trip with fewer participants. Should additional participants sign-up after you have paid the trip supplement, this fee will be refunded. Your air travel itinerary is yours to decide, and we recommend you purchase flight cancellation insurance. Living Big is not responsible for additional expenses incurred by you in preparing for the trip including non-refundable air tickets, gear, medical equipment or travelers insurance.

What if I can't make payments according to the payment schedule?

If unusual circumstances arise and you can’t make payments on time please contact Living Big to discuss. Generally speaking, failure to make payments according to the schedule may result in losing your spot on the trip.

What is Living Big's policy on non-discrimination and violence?

Please take a moment to review the Living Big policy towards anti-discrimination and violence. Click here to review.

If you’re on board with this philosophy, and can join us in creating a safe, comfortable and judgment-free zone, then we’d love to have you join for an adventure!

Trip Pricing

This trip is nearly all-inclusive of meals, all lodging, all ground transportation, and all activities outlined in the itinerary, all the planning and booking (so you don’t have to do ANY work but show up!) and advice on what to pack, tips on international travel and a go-to resource who is here to answer any questions you have leading up to the trip, and on the trip, to help ensure that you have an amazing experience! Trip Fee: $3,195.

Payment Options

There are two options for payment:

  1. Pay the full amount by credit card or by check.
  2. Break your payments into equal monthly installments. Make a deposit of $500 to formally register for your spot, and then on the first of each month (following the month you made your deposit payment) your credit card will be automatically charged a set amount, so that the final payment is applied on April 1, 2019. If you decide to make monthly installment payments, you will receive a payment schedule based on when you register.

Requesting a Spot

If you’re interested in requesting a spot on this trip please make note of the following booking process and payment terms:

  • The first step is to request a spot, which you can do online. Once you request your spot, we’ll reach out to you to schedule a call to review the trip details, get to know you, give you a chance to ask questions about Living Big, etc. provided there are spots available on the trip.
  • If after this conversation you’re on board to join for the adventure, you’ll receive a link to the registration page where you can formally register, submit your first payment and sign the trip waiver.

Ready to join Living Big in Switzerland?

If you’d like to request a spot on this trip, or if you just want to learn more, fill out the form below and we'll be in touch very soon!
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