For anyone who has been to this country, the words 'Switzerland' and 'cheap' don't belong in the same sentence. This is one of the most expensive countries in the world, and the Swiss seem quite content with that fact. So, how does one go about touring the country on a budget? Well, the first thing to do is to find people you can stay with for free. Sounds difficult, but not if you are members of communities like www.couchsurfing.com and www.hospitalityclub.org. These online communities bring people from around the world that match up travellers and hosts. I have been a member of these communities for about four years and have had the opportunity to stay with people in many areas around the world. And of the 16 nights we stayed in Switzerland, we had housing for 13 evenings. At an average of $100/night, that came down to around $1300 for savings for our trip. As a bonus, many of our hosts also served breakfast and dinner for us. Naturally, we assisted with the cost of the food and preparation, but it was still over 50% cheaper than eating out.
Another option is to load up on food at the local grocery stores. We did that in almost every city and only ate out 3 or 4 times during our trip. And finally, getting the Swiss Pass was a huge savings. We rode the trains and/or buses everyday and went to a lot of museums. For about $260/person for a 15 day pass, we were able to save about 50% on transportation and major sites.