camping switzerland tips
Everyday Money

10 Financial Tips for Camping in Switzerland

June 18, 2024 - Daniel Dreier

Follow these simple tips to do more camping in Switzerland for less money.

From family-friendly campgrounds to remote alpine retreats, Switzerland has a lot to offer campers. It is also a central starting point from which to explore other European countries.

Here, offers simple tips for getting more camping for less money:

1. Borrow or rent campers instead of buying

Owning your own camper or caravan is convenient, but unless you camp a whole lot, the high cost of buying, parking, storing, and maintaining them is rarely worth it.

If you have a friend or family member who owns a camper or caravan, they may be happy to lend it to you for the odd camping trip. If not, there are plenty of rental campers available.

Camper rental companies often have affordable offers during the low seasons. A cheaper option is to rent from private individuals through online platforms like Mycamper, Gomore and 2em. These platforms include the necessary insurance when you rent vehicles through them.

Private rental offers can also be found on classified websites like Tutti and Anibis. If you rent directly from private owners, make sure that their car insurance has a rider which covers renting the car out to other drivers.

2. Cut the cost of camping gear

Second-hand camping gear – from gas grills to tents and camping chairs – can be acquired for a fraction of its new price, or even picked up free of charge. Classified websites are a great place to find these offers.

For items which you prefer to buy new, take a moment to compare prices. Comparison websites like make this easier. Some stores charge up to twice as much as others for the exact same product.

Borrowing and sharing between friends is a good way to make better use of equipment and save money. If you only camp occasionally, renting certain items can make more sense than buying them.

Renting out equipment when you are not using it (via platforms like sharely, for example) and selling equipment which you no longer need can also help to lower the costs of camping gear.

3. Get cheaper campground stays

Comparing the prices of campgrounds in the areas you want to visit is a simple way to get longer stays for less. Comparison website Gocamping makes it easy to find campgrounds in a canton or area, and sort them by price.

Some campgrounds offer discounts when you book in advance. If you are okay with planning ahead instead of camping spontaneously, taking advantage of these discounts can cut campground fees by up to 50 percent.

Many Swiss campgrounds accept Reka Money, and you can also book foreign campgrounds using Reka money via Eurocamp. If you are able to get Reka Money at a big discount (from employers, housing cooperatives, or industry associations, for example), then taking advantage of these offers can give you significant savings.

It is worth mentioning that memberships in certain clubs, such as the TCS motor club and the SCCV/FSCC camping and caravanning association, entitle you to discounts at many campgrounds. But it is important to compare the savings you would get from these discounts with the costs of club membership fees.

4. Use private campsites

Many farmers and other landowners in Switzerland make campsites available for campers in exchange for a fee. While these campsites are generally simpler than conventional campgrounds, they are often much cheaper. You can find many of these on websites like Nomady, Wohnmobilland Schweiz and Myfarm. For campsites in other European countries, take a look at international campsite sharing platforms like Campspace and Stellplatz.

5. Avoid fines

Rules for overnight stays in a camper or caravan on public property vary between cantons and municipalities. Camping in conservation areas, game reserves, national parks (Switzerland only has one), and hunting grounds is prohibited throughout Switzerland. 

The canton of Aargau generally allows one-night stays on public parking lots, with exceptions being indicated by no-camping signs. One-night stays on public property are also tolerated in Obwalden, as long as private and public interests are respected. In the rest of Switzerland, rules vary between municipalities, so getting informed ahead of spending the night is a must if you want to avoid fines.

You are generally allowed to spend one night at public roadstop rest areas, as long as you do not unpack any camping gear. This does not always apply to proper highway stops with restaurants and/or hotels. When spending the night is not allowed, this will generally be shown on signs.

6. Cut the costs of owning campers and caravans

Owning a camper which is compact enough to double as a van for your everyday driving is generally much more economical than owning a camper or caravan which will spend most of its time sitting in storage.

Renting your camper or caravan out when you are not using it can help cover the costs of storage, and compensate for the loss of value caused by time. Platforms like Mycamper, Gomore and 2em simplify rentals by putting you in touch with renters and handling insurance and administration for you.

If you only use your camper during the summer months, you can cut the cost of road taxes and car insurance by keeping your license plates on hold, and activating them for your camping season. This can be done at your local traffic authority or via mail. If you have a second car, using interchangeable license plates for your car and camper can make sense in some cases.

Comparing the prices of storage locations is important, as storage fees vary in a huge way. Specialized websites like make comparing prices relatively easy. Classified ads like those found on Anibis and Tutti are also a good place to find affordable storage. It is worth noting that storage facilities in countries bordering Switzerland are often much cheaper than those in Switzerland. Depending on how you use your camper or caravan, and how frequently, offers from across the border can be worth considering.

Small campers and camping vans can generally be parked in public parking spaces, and this can work out cheaper than secure storage in many cases. But take note that you will generally pay a higher partial-casco car insurance premium if you park mainly in uncovered, public parking zones.

7. Travel light

Tagging along all your camping gear, food, fuel, and water adds weight. Carrying around more weight requires using more gas, electricity, or other energy source, which in turn costs you more money. This is especially true if you have to add rooftop storage boxes.

Consider only bringing along the equipment and supplies which you will actually use on a specific camping trip. Filling up water tanks at your destination rather than before traveling is another way to cut your weight, fuel consumption, and costs.

8. Stay online for less

If staying online while camping is important to you, then using mobile Internet is generally your best option. Unless you have a Swiss mobile plan with unlimited data included in its flat fee, consider adding a mobile data option or prepaid data bundle ahead of your trip. This will help you avoid paying high standard rates for data. Alternatively, you can get an additional prepaid SIM card with an affordable data bundle or flat rate and use it to get online during your camping trip.

International campers should take time to set up affordable mobile roaming solutions before traveling. You can find the best available roaming solution for your mobile plan or prepaid mobile using the interactive roaming wizard. Another option is to buy a local prepaid SIM in the country you are camping in.

Alternatively, you can use the complimentary WLAN connections available in the public areas of some campgrounds.

9. Insure your camper or caravan properly

While overinsurance is always best avoided, having the right insurance can save you from huge expenses and even financial ruin.

When getting partial-casco car insurance for your camper or caravan, it is worth checking the coverage for damages caused by animals. Campers and caravans are vulnerable to damages caused by mice, for example, particularly when they are stored over the winter. Some Swiss comprehensive car insurance offers only cover damages by martens, but not other animals.

If you plan to deregister and store a caravan, it is worth noting that some household insurance providers let you add an optional rider that extends personal property insurance to cover deregistered caravans and mobile homes.

Liability for damages caused by a stored caravan or camper is also important to consider. For registered vehicles, liability is generally covered by the required third-party liability car insurance. With very few exceptions, liability for damages or injuries caused by unregistered caravans and campers is covered by Swiss personal liability insurance.

Liability for damages to rented, unregistered caravans is generally covered by personal liability insurance. The situation is more complicated when you rent registered campers and caravans. Only a handful of personal liability insurance providers give you the option of insuring liability for damages to rented vehicles. These include Allianz and Helvetia.

Standard Swiss car insurance does not cover your vehicle when you rent it out to third parties. This is not a problem when you rent out your camper or caravan through Gomore, Mycamper, or 2em, as these platforms have the necessary insurance. But if you choose to rent out your camper or caravan directly, make sure to get a car insurance rider which covers your car when it is rented out.

10. Consider insuring your camping gear and personal property

If you have expensive camping gear or equipment which you carry or store in your camper or caravan, it can be worth adding a rider for personal effects to your car insurance. This rider covers theft from locked vehicles, and also insures your things against damages incurred in traffic accidents. If you want to insure items which will not be locked up (including items in unlocked campers or caravans), this can be done using household insurance with a simple theft away from home rider.

More on this topic:
Hiking in Switzerland: Financial tips
Skiing in Switzerland: Money-saving tips
Hotel stays in Switzerland: Saving tips
Car insurance in Switzerland: Key points to consider
Free activities for kids in Switzerland

Editor Daniel Dreier
Daniel Dreier is editor and personal finance expert at
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