A candle or a chandelier
Camping in Switzerland
Switzerland has slightly more than 400 campgrounds. In 2016, the number of overnight stays was 2.79 million, following five years of constant declines. There was, however, a slight increase from 2015 to 2016. Campgrounds show that tourism in Switzerland is recovering again after several difficult years. Some 64 percent of campers hail from Switzerland, 14 percent from Germany and 8 percent from the Netherlands. The most popular camping region by far is Ticino, followed by Valais, the Bernese Oberland and Graubünden (source: www.camping.info).
Camping: dank clothes and wet feet? No, thanks!
Glamping: champagne included. Yes, please!
The travel industry is increasingly catering to this desire, offering beautiful and luxurious outdoor lodgings all over the world: circus wagons, mobile homes, chalets, tipis, yurts, safari tents and even tree houses. Campsite owners are also increasingly offering luxurious and comfortable lodgings with innerspring mattresses, wood burning stoves and bathrooms. Luxury camping is known as «glamping», a portmanteau of glamor and camping. This comfy camping is booming in Switzerland, too: at Lake Zurich, for example, vacationers can rent luxurious safari tents – and sip champagne for breakfast. Zurich is the most popular glamping region, followed by the cantons of Bern, St. Gallen, Aargau and Vaud (source: www.glamping.info).
DIY glamping: sometimes, more is more.
Keep your valuables safe
If you bring valuables like cellphones or portable navigation devices on vacation, it makes sense to take out additional «Simple theft outside the home» coverage as part of your contents insurance. It covers your property up to the stipulated sum insured, which is generally CHF 2,000. And, if this is not enough for you, you can double the sum insured with the «Super theft» coverage as part of your Zurich contents insurance. «Super theft» coverage is available for distances of more than 50 kilometers. It also provides coverage if your property gets damaged. Should you need more coverage, for expensive jewelry or photography equipment, for example, we recommend taking out insurance of valuables. Nevertheless, any valuables that you are not wearing or carrying should always be kept in a safe – for example, at the campground's reception desk.
The Swiss are buying RVs
Anyone who arranges their own glamping vacation combines nature and luxury with freedom and spontaneity. This type of vacation is gaining in popularity in Switzerland, too. According to Camping.Info (www.camping.info), while the number of caravans in Switzerland has been stable, the number of RVs is clearly on the rise. Since 2007, the number of registered RVs has risen 44 percent, exceeding the 50,000 mark in 2016. People who travel with caravans tend to spend two to three weeks at campgrounds, while RVers drive longer distances and switch campgrounds more frequently. Incidentally, the boom in RV sales is a pan-European trend. However, modern-day camping has changed considerably and has little in common with camping 25 years ago.
Campgrounds: shared bathrooms, not beds
In most European countries, you will have to use campgrounds if you travel with an RV or a caravan as wild camping is either prohibited or severely restricted. However, campgrounds come in all kinds of flavors: everything from a simple meadow with a wash house to well-equipped miniature villages with supermarkets, restaurants, swimming pools, saunas, TVs and fitness centers and WiFi.
BY THE WAY
It is generally cheaper to spend the night at a campground than a hotel, although the prices have converged at sought-after vacation destinations and high-end offerings during peak vacation season.
Driving with a caravan or RV
Whether you're traveling with an RV or a caravan, there are several things to consider when you hit the road with a total weight of about 3,000 kilos. Here are the most important tips:
- Take up the whole width of the road. Trailers need more room than a car, especially on roundabouts and at corners.
- Keep a wide birth when maneuvering: if you turn a corner, make sure not to turn the steering wheel until the caravan's wheel has also reached the corner. If you turn before that, the caravan will not swing around the corner.
- When you back up, you have to turn the steering wheel to the right to steer the caravan to the left (in the direction of travel): think ahead when steering your vehicle and plan your maneuver before you start driving.
- Brake gently and early. Cars with heavy loads have a longer brake path than the cars you usually drive without loads. Also, curves must be rounded at slower speeds with loaded cars.
- Passing other cars is much more difficult with a caravan: follow them patiently until you get to a clear spot and there is absolutely no oncoming traffic.
Check everything carefully before you get started
Tip for beginners
Make a checklist for every area and count the items that you have to check before you leave. Don't start driving until you come up with the same number. For the trailer, for example: switch, lever, brake cable, electricity, jockey wheel, emergency brake – six items. Caravan: windows, skylights, refrigerator, gas, kitchen drawers, closet, bathroom cabinets, faucets, trailer door, exterior lockers – ten items.