Switzerland Crown Jewel—flights after the trip ends

This trip ends in Lucerne, but the airport for return flights is in Zurich, 40-50 minutes drive away from Lucerne. The flight to Dallas that works best for us leaves at 11:50 am. It seems like that would be a very early departure from Lucerne to get to the airport in time for security, etc. This would be the morning after the gala farewell dinner that seems like it might be a lengthy affair.
Any thought on the timing? Perhaps we should book a hotel in Zurich, get there and enjoy seeing the city, then get to the airport the next morning without any travel issues.
If we do add the extra day in Zurich, any suggestions for must see places in our limited time?

We will be traveling on the September 13 departure. Thanks,


  • You might want to confirm with the airline how much time to allow for checkin. I'd assume 3 hours worst case which would have you leaving th e hotel at 8 am. When we left Basel it was so early the hotel restaurant wasn't open for breakfast so 8 seems reasonable. Not sure it's worth the hassle for only one night. If I did it I'd allow more time in Zurich.
  • Thank your lucky stars you don’t have to leave the hotel at 4am like we have to do on our currrent tour. The hotel and Tauck will determine what time you are picked up to get you to the airport at the recommended time.
  • This would be the morning after the gala farewell dinner that seems like it might be a lengthy affair.
    In 12 tours, I can't remember any farewell dinners being what I would consider a "gala affair" or especially lengthy. Remember, you and your co-travelers, especially the older ones, will be tired after 11 days on the road, and some will likely have early flights, like. You will have had much earlier goes on one or more days during the tour, what is one more? Besides, you can doze during the car ride and sleep during your flight. : ) Unless you take the train to Zurich later in the day and spend the night there instead of staying in Lucerne, you'll still need to get up early.
  • I took this trip last year and I agree with AlanS. The “gala dinner” was nice but was finished by 8:30 p.m. or so. I had a flight the next day around noon and I believe we left the hotel around 8:00 a.m. (rush hour) and I arrived with plenty of time for check-in. As AlanS notes, the tour director will set your departure and he/she leaves plenty of time for traffic issues, etc. so no need to stay near the airport the night before departure unless you want to. Loved that trip!
  • Don't sleep on your trip to the airport. Tauck requires its drivers to be knowledgeable about the area. Our driver took us through Zurich and pointed out some of the sights. We learned a lot about the country from him.

  • We just got back from this trip (it was wonderful!) and our transfer was at 4:15 AM for a 7:30 AM flight (on a Sunday morning...not much traffic). Drive (as noted above) took just under an hour so there was quite a bit of time spent in the Swiss Air lounge. But, it beats the heck out of missing your flight, especially in you are connecting through another European airport as we were.

    Our farewell dinner which involves a boat trip across Lake Lucerne had us back to the hotel at 9 PM. We'd packed earlier so were able to get 6+ hours of sleep which meant we weren't complete zombies. Slept quit a bit on the way home, not surprisingly.

  • Portolan, can't wait to read a review from you. We're booked for next year.

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