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Old 04.12.2011, 04:56
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First Time Traveling from USA to Switzerland

This is the first time I am traveling out of the United States and I am traveling alone and I would like someone to tell me what the procedure is when I get off the plane in Zurich. I will be flying directly from Atlanta, Georgia and I know I will go through customs. Will I pick up my luggage first? I am only carrying cash to turn into Swiss Francs when I get to airport, but do I have to declare it? How long does it take to go through all of this? I am suppose to meet up with my group about 1 1/2 hours after my flight lands. Will I have time? I would hate to miss them and have to find my own way. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 04.12.2011, 05:08
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Re: First Time Traveling from USA to Switzerland

to the EF!

I think you will find it a lot simpler than you fear.
  1. Passport control. A line that moves fast, the officer will almost certainly speak English, but chances are that s/he will just look at your passport and stamp it.
  2. Then baggage pickup, just like a US airport.
  3. Then customs, you will probably walk through without being questioned, indeed without seeing anyone.
You will find many money changers at the airport, there is no need to declare it.

Difficult to predict exactly how long all this will take, slowest part may be waiting for you luggage, but 1˝ hours should be ample.
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Old 04.12.2011, 05:11
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Re: First Time Traveling from USA to Switzerland

I can't thank you enough for your help!!! At my age it's just a little scary doing something like this for the first time!! I hope in the future to be a regular traveler and be able to help people out like you just have!
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Old 04.12.2011, 09:07
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Re: First Time Traveling from USA to Switzerland

You can bring Swiss francs from America if you want to avoid changing money over here. Tell your bank that you are going to Switzerland and need a thousand Swiss francs (or whatever) and they will pull the money out of your account and call you when they have the francs. It usually takes about 3 or 4 work days. Easy peasy.

P.S. All of the signs in the Zurich airport are in English, so don't be nervous. Enjoy our beautiful country!
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Old 04.12.2011, 10:15
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Re: First Time Traveling from USA to Switzerland

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I can't thank you enough for your help!!! At my age it's just a little scary doing something like this for the first time!! I hope in the future to be a regular traveler and be able to help people out like you just have!
You can also get money out at any ATM machine where you
will get a proper exchange rate BUT you will probably be
charged a fee by the bank.
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This user would like to thank HollidayG for this useful post:
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Old 04.12.2011, 12:03
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Re: First Time Traveling from USA to Switzerland

Correct, arriving at Zurich airport is a totally stress-free experience. Time from the plane arriving at the gate to leaving the airport should be less than 30 minutes. Plenty of time to have a coffee and croissant after passing through customs.

A tip: for an uncrowded private bathroom after arrival look for the bathrooms hidden behind the escalator going down to the underground rail stop in Terminal E. This will be the first escalator you use after disembarking from the plane. Always nice to splash the face with cold Swiss water after a long transatlantic flight
Also purchase a bottle of water after clearing security at Atlanta airport. That way you can drink during the night at your own convenience (helps avoid a headache the next day).
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Old 04.12.2011, 12:14
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Re: First Time Traveling from USA to Switzerland

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A tip: for an uncrowded private bathroom after arrival look for the bathrooms hidden behind the escalator going down to the underground rail stop in Terminal E. This will be the first escalator you use after disembarking from the plane.
Way to confuse the 'ol duck... I would just follow the crowd off the plane - they know the way (but I'll remember that one)

So NeGrammie54, what are you up to when you get here? And what month are you coming? Up for a touch of skiing?
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Old 04.12.2011, 12:26
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Re: First Time Traveling from USA to Switzerland

Now if only someone could describe where exactly you can catch the train to Zurich city center, we'd be all set...
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Old 04.12.2011, 15:22
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Re: First Time Traveling from USA to Switzerland

Where are you meeting your friends?

You will come out at arrivals 2. The exit to the taxis will be ahead of you.

There is also an info desk close by, turn left as you come out and it is on the left. Or at least there was prior to the renovations.

There is also a Credit Suisse next to the info booth, so you can change money there.

To get to the trains, go past the info and Credit Suisse, past the escalator on your right and there will be an exit door on the right. That will lead you to the trains etc.

It's a small area and everything is clearly sign posted so don't worry.

Here is the link to the Airport website: http://www.zurich-airport.com/deskto...spx/tabid-135/

A map for you:
http://www.zurich-airport.com/Portal...ft_2_gross.jpg

Have a safe trip and enjoy your stay.
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Old 04.12.2011, 21:26
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Re: First Time Traveling from USA to Switzerland

You have all been so helpful!! Thank you so much. I feel so much more relaxed about this now. I've definitely been stressing the last few weeks. I'm so glad I found this website!! I won't be doing any actual skiing, but other types of outdoor activities. I see that there is a bit of a shortage of snow right now, but I am hoping by the time I get there, that you will have an abundance of it! Thanks again! I'll be sure to come back and let you all know how it went! Merry Christmas to all!
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Old 04.12.2011, 21:50
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Re: First Time Traveling from USA to Switzerland

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You can also get money out at any ATM machine where you
will get a proper exchange rate BUT you will probably be
charged a fee by the bank.
For clarification... you probably Will NOT be charged anything by the bank on the Swiss side, but you probably most definitely will be charged by your US bank either a % or a per transaction fee. Best to check with them first.

Whatever the fees, it's usually cheaper and more efficient to use the ATM method when traveling to Europe/Canada to get your local currency than it is to bring cash and go to the currency exchange.

Another thing you can look into if you're the type of person who likes to actually have cash in hand before departure is http://www.ezforex.com. I used them when I lived in the US before I went on a pan-Asian vacation and they were very helpful, gave me a good rate, AND when I got back, they also bought all of my unused currency at the same rate I paid for it.
It's worth looking into if you have the time to plan for a mail delivery of your currency.
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