The first weeks living here: Good to Know tips

If you’ve just moved here then it can all become a bit overwhelming very quickly. We’ve compiled a few pointers and tips that we feel are good to know to help you with the day to day situations in the first few months.

No Bank Account Yet?

Bank cheques are not used here but all bills can be paid with payment slips either online or at the post office at the counter using cash or a bank card.

What is the Number for Emergencies?

It is always good to memorise the appropriate numbers for different emergency situations and, yes, you can speak English with the operators.

Ambulance: 144

Police: 117

Fire Department: 118

No Doctor Yet?

If you haven’t chosen your house doctor yet, you can go to the Permanence Medical Centre at the train station (it’s on the basement floor next to the Coop) where you will be seen by a medical doctor. If you haven’t got your local medical insurance, you can pay cash. They are open 24/7.

How much is that?

Not everything has to be expensive in Switzerland, so here are some ways you can save money:

  • Sign up for basic loyalty programmes at the main grocery stores Migros and Coop for the Migros Cumulus card and Coop Supercard to get cash back rewards and other promotional offers. Also consider signing up for their free magazines where you can get great coupon offers each week.
  • Shopping just before grocery stores close at 6:30pm during the week or before 4pm on weekends you can find good deals on discounted foods that might otherwise be thrown out.
  • You can compare weekly offers from all grocery stores on Aktionis to make sure you are getting the best deal.
  • The Luzern Prozentbuch is a great book to have or get as a gift, it’s full of coupons to get discounts on public transport, museums, restaurants, cafès, local activities and more that are valid for one year. It can be bought in bookstores and kiosks.
  • Websites like Dein Deal and Groupon are great for deals on restaurants, beauty, home and leisure.
  • If you and your kids enjoy visiting museums throughout the year, it is worth investing in the Swiss museum pass – it gets you free entry to more than 490 museums in Switzerland! For prices go to Museum Pass
  • Reka Checks are a great way of paying for your leisure activities in Switzerland. You can buy them at Coop, Manor or Jumbo and very often employers will give/sell them to you. There are over 9,000 companies accepting them. You can pay for your public transportation, hotels, restaurants, travel agents, railways, leisure parks, fitness centres, museums, circuses, zoos, service stations (AVIA and BP) and they entitle you to savings of up to 20%.

This post has been published in our latest magazine, which you can read online here.


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