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Airfare deals - How to Be the One on the Plane Who Paid the Lowest Price

Airfare deals - How to Be the One on the Plane Who Paid the Lowest Price

Note: we are not paid directly by any of these resources and use them to find travel bargains just like you would.

For good airfare deals, we use Google Flights (Google.com/flights) and Skyscanner.com.

Many of the large online travel booking sites have been bought and owned by the same companies so the prices they yield are almost the same. The Frommers travel organization did a study of all the major airfare booking websites and Google Flights (Google.com/flights) and Skyscanner consistently reported good airfare deals.

For International airfare deals: Airtrek.com books a substantial number of flights and they do deals with airlines for volume deals. We have been using AirTreks for years now. After searching fares and coming up with goods deals, we then called AirTreks and they always had as good or better rates.

Be flexible – Dates, Times, & Airports - It is amazing that just changing your flight timing a day or so, different hour, or even to a nearby airport will yield great airfare deals. Again, Skyscanner offers a "Whole Month" option where you can see cost of flights on days around the day you are interested in and an "Everywhere" option to evaluate possible savings to nearby airports.

On the average, flying on these days offer the best airfare deals: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

Again, on the average, these are the best days to purchase for airfare deals: Saturday through Tuesday afternoon. Click here to learn more.


Booking ahead can yield good airfare deals – 8 weeks Domestic (average 19% savings) and 24 weeks International (average 27% savings). If you are flexible in your travel plans, waiting to book the last minute can also yield airfare deals if you can risk not finding a flight or possible higher prices.

Basic Fares - The major airlines need to compete with the budget airlines and are offering lower service 'Basic Fares'. They can be good airfare deals but be sure to read the details. Sometimes they are non-cancelable and regularly have fees such as luggage, seat selection, and possibly other fees. But if that is OK, go for it - we do.

Airfare alerts are a good way to find airfare deals. You can go to the following websites and enter in your flight plans and when good fares come up, they will notify you - Yapta.com, Skyscanner.com.


Airfare deals in Europe: Many booking websites do not include flights from budget airlines. You can use Flycheapo.com when searching flights in Europe to locate the budget airlines that service your needs and then you can go to their websites to book your flights.

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Click here to see many more free travel tips and bargain-finding strategies to travel for half the cost for all levels of travel.

Switzerland Montreux (6/4-7/2024)

Beautiful Montreux
Beautiful Montreux Switzerland!
Montreux is a picturesque resort town (see photo) on the shores of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman). It is on the Swiss Riviera that extends from Montreux to Lausanne in Switzerland’s French-speaking Vaud region. French-speaking Montreux is one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland because of its idyllic flower-decorated lakeside setting, amazing Belle Époque architecture, mountain background, and sprawling vineyards. English is spoken everywhere.

Montreux from the  Flower Path
Montreux from the  Flower Path
Along the shores of Lake Geneva, the Montreux Riviera has a mild Mediterranean climate. The atmosphere is perfect for relaxing, going on walks, discovering new areas, and the climate is ideal for wine grape growing. Montreux’s beautiful Promenade, with its flower-adorned banks and art installations along the lake, goes for almost 4 miles offering walks with a beautiful panoramic view of the lake and mountains as well as lakeside dining options.

Flower Path Chemin Fleuri Montreux Switzerland
Flower Path (Chemin Fleuri)

The Montreux-Vevey Tourism office is a good place to start your explorations with advice, maps, brochures, and booking reservations. It is located on the lake next to the boat jetty, just a short walk from the train station.

 

 

Montreux 1908 Belle Epoque paddle steamer
1908 Belle Epoque paddle steamer
A popular thing to do in Montreux is taking a wonderful CGN boat cruise on Lake Geneva. Passing by quaint lakeside villages with the Alps as the predominant backdrop is truly spectacular. Relaxing on a beautiful 1908 Belle Epoque paddle steamer (see photo), the only fleet of its type in the world, you relive the grandeur of how the wealthy traveled a century ago while appreciating the beauty of the surrounding scenery and the lakeside towns (see photo).

Lakeside Villages on Lake Geneva
Lakeside Villages on Lake Geneva
We very much enjoyed the popular roundtrip 2-hour loop out of Montreux. These historic boats also connect 40 lakeside villages on Swiss and French portions of Lake Geneva including Vevey and Lausanne (see below for description). If you wish, you can enjoy a lunch or dinner cruise aboard one of these beautiful Belle Époque steamers in their attractive onboard restaurant. Lake cruises depart from the boat jetty in Montreux by the Tourist Office - their website is CGN.ch.

Chillon Castle Chateau de Chillon Montreux
Chillon Castle (Chateau de Chillon) - Montreux
A highlight of a visit to Montreux is the well-preserved Chillon Castle (Château de Chillon), a medieval island castle on Lake Geneva constructed in the 13th century (see photos). It is located just outside of Montreux and is stunning with the Alps in its background. Cross the draw bridge to enjoy its interesting displays presented in several languages, including English, giving you the opportunity to learn more about the history of the Dukes of Savoy that dominated this region 800 years ago. With more than 300,000 people visiting every year, the castle is the most visited building in Switzerland.

Inside Chillon Castle Montreux
Inside Chillon Castle - Montreux
Chillon Castle is impressive in size and grandeur as well as its history, architecture, and paintings. An audio guide is available from the souvenir shop to learn more about the interesting castle and Medieval history of the region. You can do Chillion Castle in a couple of hours if you want to do it quickly. There is a souvenir shop to pick up something special if you like. Because a visit to Chillon Castle is an excursion, it is nice to have a meal next to the castle at self-service Cafe Byron.

Flower Path (Chemin Fleuri)
If the weather is good, it is enjoyable to walk the 2-mile 45-minute Flower Path (Chemin Fleuri) (see photo) to the Chillon Castle along the beautiful lakeside Swiss Riviera. It is a delightful route with flowers, art sculptures, blue-green waters, and the mountains in the backdrop.

Montreux Belle Epoque Eden Palace Hotel
Montreux Belle Epoque Eden Palace Hotel
The quickest way to get from Montreux to and from the Chillon Castle is by the 7-minute bus #201 from Escaliers de la Gare to the Chillon stop leaving every 15 minutes. You can also take a 4-minute Swiss Railways train to Veytaux-Chillon running every 20 minutes. CGN operates a 15-minute ferry from Montreux to Château-de-Chillon several times a day (disembark at the Chateau de Chillon stop).

Chocolate Train Train du Chocolat
Chocolate Train (Train du Chocolat)
From Montreux, we enjoyed the MOB Swiss Chocolate Train (Train du Chocolat) even though most the trip is on a bus (only 45 minutes is by train). This 7-hour excursion takes you through beautiful countryside to experience how Swiss chocolate and Gruyere cheese are made. From the train station you board the 1915 Golden Pass Bell Epoque train (see photo) where you are taken back in time to the plush velvety seats and ornate bar cars. While watching incredible views along Lake Geneva you get into the chocolate mood being served hot chocolate, chocolate, and pastries.

La Maison du Gruyere Cheese Factory Gruyeres Chocolate Train
La Maison du Gruyere Cheese Factory
The first stop on the Chocolate Train excursion is the La Maison du Gruyere where you learn how Gruyere cheese is made. There is a fun multi-media tour of the factory (see photo) with headsets provided in multiple languages. Then you are taken to the beautiful traffic-free medieval village of Gruyères, the cheese capital of Switzerland. You are given 2 hours to explore this quaint village, have lunch, and visit the castle.

Village of Gruyeres Castle
Pretty Village of Gruyeres & Castle
The village of Gruyères, one of the prettiest villages in Switzerland, has cobblestone streets and picturesque buildings, many of which have stood for hundreds of years (see photo). Inside the 13th-century Gruyères Castle (Chateau de Gruyères) is a museum covering 800 years of the region's architecture, history, and culture.

Gruyeres Castle
Gruyeres Castle (see photo) is interesting to visit with its descriptive texts and and historical information - there is an extra charge that you are given a discount. We explored the village and castle in about an hour and had time time for lunch at one of the nice restaurants overlooking the village. Try the specialties of the Gruyère village… fondue, croque-monsieur, and meringue dipped in Gruyere double cream.

Maison Cailler Cheese Factory Broc Chocolate Train
Maison Cailler Cheese Factory - Broc
The Chocolate Train tour now goes on to the chocolate… Arriving in Broc you visit Maison Cailler for an interactive tour of the factory (see photo). It is the oldest chocolate producer in Switzerland established in 1819. You learn the history of chocolate dating back to the Aztecs with Disneyland-like tour and then watch chocolate being made.

Cailler Chocolate Broc Chocolate Train
Cailler Chocolate - Broc
At Maison Cailler, you are also treated to about 10 chocolate samplings and can ask questions about them. From their store, you can purchase some chocolate to take home (see photo). Then you are taken back to Montreux - the ride is beautiful. Note: you can visit Gruyère and Maison Cailler in Broc on your own taking the local transportation and purchasing tickets at the sites.

Beautiful Swiss Countryside from Chocolate Train
Beautiful Swiss Countryside from Bus
The Chocolate Train out of Montreux can be booked (reservations required) on the MOB website: https://journey.mob.ch/en/products/chocolate-train. You can learn even more information about the Chocolate Train tour at this webside: https://www.travelingwithsweeney.com/all-aboard-the-swiss-chocolate-train/. Note: don't worry about the "Montreux, gare" destination because it is round trip back to Montreux.

Cheese Stored at Maison du Gruyere
Cheese Stored at Maison du Gruyere
Interesting fact: Switzerland has long been known for its fine chocolate and cheese. The Swiss chocolate industry produced over 200,000 tons of chocolate worth $1.7 billion in 2018. It mostly goes to Switzerland, Germany, UK, France, and Canada. The Swiss chocolate brands make up around 40% of the world’s global chocolate production. Alpine milk sets Swiss chocolate apart. It is sourced from high-altitude farms in the Swiss mountains. Due to it being denser and less aerated, alpine milk gives Swiss chocolate a rich fragrance and an extremely milky texture. I liked Läderach Chocolate with stores in many Swiss cities including Montreux.

Montreux Freddie Mercury statue Les Voiles de la Rouvenaz Restaurant
Freddie Mercury statue & Restaurant
Montreux is also known for its importance in the life of Freddie Mercury. The iconic Queen frontman lived here while Queen recorded six of their 15 albums including the last Queen album. Fans can visit his lifelike statue (see photo) on Place du Marché on the lakeside Promenade and the nearby free entrance Queen Studio Experience located in the Casino Barriere Montreux. Fans of gambling will also enjoy this. There are nice lakeside restaurants and cafes around Place du Marche - we liked Les Voiles de la Rouvenaz (see photo) for the setting and view.

Montreux Jazz Festival
Montreux has been a desired destination since the 19th century when famous artists, writers, and musicians began settling here. Since then, it has become a popular place for tourism and cultural attractions, including the famous Montreux Jazz Festival held in early July, the Music Festival in September, and Montreux Noel where Montreux is transformed for this Christmas event, one of the prettiest Christmas markets in Europe.

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces - Swiss Riviera
Wine has been an important part of Montreux’s local economy since the 12th century. The 2,050 acres of Lavaux Vineyard Terraces between Montreux and Lausanne along the lake shoreline are impressive and culturally significant (see photo). Lavaux sells mostly Chasselas wines, which are dry and aromatic - you should try some.

Some enjoyable day trips from Montreux…

Map Rocher-de-Naye
Taking you 6,600 feet high for a spectacular panoramic view of Lake Geneva and Alps mountain peaks, Rochers-de-Naye is accessible from a 50-minute vintage cog train, departing every hour from Montreux Gare (see map). There are hiking trails and a restaurant. Marmots, the mascot of the Alps, live here and are fun to see.

Vevey Old Town
Vevey Old Town
Nearby Montreux, the Old Town of Vevey with its historical monuments and museums bears witness to its rich heritage. It is much better than Montreal’s Old Town. It can easily be reached from Montreux by a 5-minute train ride in the direction of Geneva (first stop). A large variety of boutiques can be found in the narrow paved streets below the beautiful buildings, especially along Rue Du Lac street (see photo). Nice lake view restaurants are located along Vevey’s beautiful lake side Promenade where you can relax and have a meal or drink.

Alimentarium Food Museum Fork Statue Vevey
Alimentarium Food Museum & Fork Statue - Vevey
While at Vevey, we enjoyed visiting the Alimentarium Food Museum, the world’s first museum devoted to food and nutrition (see photo). Interesting interactive displays are presented in three languages, including English. It is located in a magnificent building, the former Nestle headquarters, on the beautiful promenade of Lake Geneva, opposite the statue of Charlie Chaplin and The Fork Statue in the lake that holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s tallest fork (see photo). Chaplin lovers will enjoy Chaplin’s World museum located in the Manoir house where Charlie Chaplin spent 25 years of his life.

Croque-Monsieur
As also described above, Gruyeres is a charming medieval village in the idyllic countryside of western Switzerland. It is officially one of the “most beautiful villages” in Switzerland. It is a lovely place for a short stroll and lots of picture taking, with the surrounding mountains a beautiful backdrop. At the end of the village, you’ll find picturesque Castle of Gruyères, built in the 13th century, with a small museum. If you have time, have lunch at one of the outdoor cafes to try traditional Swiss dishes, including fondue. At a minimum, you must try their signature dishes: fondue, croque-monsieur (see photo), and dessert of meringue dipped in Gruyères double cream.

Lausanne Switzerland
Lausanne is a gorgeous city on the northern shore of Lake Geneva, accessible from Montreux by train (23 minutes) or wonderful boat cruise along the Swiss Rivera. It has a hilly historic center with beautiful landmarks and architecture (see photo). Lausanne’s Gothic cathedral is considered a masterpiece, one of the highlights of the city’s historic center. There are a number of interesting museums and historical palaces. Lausanne is also the headquarters of the Olympic Committee so it is not surprising that it has a great Olympic Museum, one of the top tourist attractions in town.

Golden Pass Train Viewing Beautiful Countryside Lungern Switzerland
Golden Pass Train Viewing Beautiful Countryside
The famous Golden Pass panoramic train starts from Montreux to Interlaken, then on to Lucerne. The GoldenPass scenic route runs along the shores of Lake Geneva, past the terraced vineyards of Lavaux, beautiful countryside (see photo), and many impressive castles to the peaks of the Gstaad region and the Simmental Valley. You can travel this route in hourly intervals either on the modern panoramic train or on the recreated Golden Pass Belle Epoque train with upholstered seats. The Golden Pass Belle Epoque operates all year round - reserving a seat is required.

Pat Enjoying Breakfast at Our Hotel Montreau
Pat Enjoying Breakfast at Our Hotel
Montreux Travel Tip: Many hotels offer the Montreux Riviera Card that gives you free transit on buses and trains as well as discounts on many attractions (ex. 50% discount on Chillon Castle).


Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic Montreux
We enjoyed our stay at the elegant ‘Belle Epoque’ themed Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic Montreux located just across from the train station in the middle of Montreux (see photo). Its prime lake side location allows very easy access to local attractions, the Promenade, lakeside restaurants, lake boat cruises, and the train station. The bed is very comfortable, the rooms are updated with modern conveniences, and the Internet is good. The bathtub is nice for a soak after a day of exploring. 

View from our room Montreux Switzerland
View from our Room
Consider upgrading to a lake view with spectacular views you can enjoy from your window and balcony seats (see photo). The views can also be appreciated from the restaurant terrace. The restaurant is also very nice. The staff is very helpful and the Montreux Riviera Card was great for free transit on buses and trains as well as discounts on many attractions (ex. 50% discount on Chillon Castle).

While visiting Montreux, it is nice to use some Essential French Words:

Bonjour – Hello
Merci -Thank You
Au revoir – Goodbye
Oui / Non – Yes / No
S’il vous plaît – Pease
Excusez-moi – Excuse Me
Parlez-vous anglais? - Do you speak English
L’addition, s'il vous plaît – The bill, please

We loved our visit to Montreux!

 
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Travel for half the cost for all levels of travel from budget to luxury and 100's of other unique travel tips! From a former Economic professor, experienced traveler (106 countries), award-winning travel photojournalist/blogger, featured speaker at large travel shows, host of the travel TV show Plan Your Escape® TV aired on the CW network, and travel columnist for the Huffington Post, our popular 5-star customer rated groundbreaking and comprehensive how-to world travel book Plan Your Escape, Secrets of Traveling the World for Less Than the Cost of Living at Home reveals secrets how you can travel and see more for half the cost for all trips from weekend getaways to longer vacations and trips, experience more adventure and romance, safely realize your travel dreams with comprehensive planning tools and checklists, travel the world for less than $100/day for a couple, and much more!