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Tips for Victorian travelers (or the tips of the first travel manual for women in history)

We analyzed what was the first travel manual for women.

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Tips for Victorian travelers © Getty Images

If we were an Englishwoman of the late nineteenth century, Hints to Lady Tavellers It could not be missing in our luggage. Written by Lillias Campbell Davidson in 1889, was the first travel manual aimed specifically at women, with practical tips to encourage you to go sightseeing.

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Because, until then, traveling the world had been a trust male, and the reputation of a lady did not venture far beyond the domestic borders.

Guidelines and warnings like these guided the steps of the most intrepid Victorians.


Traveling would be the greatest of sayings if it weren't for what the b weighsaúles-suitcase; Especially when you don't have maids carrying the load. To lighten, it is recommended not to carry more than one travel bag or a fashionable briefcase with the basics.

Don't do like Gertrude Bell, that he put the linen linens, silver cutlery and porcelain tableware in the trunk, to eat like a lady even if she was staying on the banks of the Euphrates in a tent.

Gertrude Bell: she was traveling "only" with her silver cutlery and linen linens © Getty Images

If you had to spend the night on the railroad or on the ship, don't forget the flannel robeWell, sleeping with the clothes of the day is most uncomfortable and the suit wrinkles. There are those who undress and cover themselves directly with the train blankets, a procedure totally unadvisable for unhygienic and reckless.

Take a large shawl to cover you, a Feathers pillow for the feet and a wool or silk hat, so you can take off your hat, because it is impossible to have a restful sleep with your hat on. Oh and the ivory last for mittens, that you will not forget!

It is convenient to take a portable bathtub. Although many resorts already have them for an extra charge, it will be difficult for you to find them as soon as you get off the beaten track. In inns in the Highlands and Wales, for example, there is no way to get hold of one of them.

In addition, they are most suitable receptacles for transporting your belongings, since they have a lot of space and come with a cover that is tied with straps. Now, you must make sure that it is perfectly dry before putting the clothes inside, and so on. Oh, and take a set of towels, because those supplied in hotels are not characterized by their smoothness precisely.

Add one bar of soap and a sponge; glycerin to moisturize skin and hands, which cracks a lot traveling, and sour milk for sunburn.

Travel with a bar of soap and a sponge © Getty Images


Never leave home without a brandy bottle for colds. Remember camphor tablets to prevent colds, homeopathic aconite, chamomile flowers, olive oil, marigold gauze, arnica ...

And, last but not least, Mint candy for dizziness and aromatic salts for fainting.


Whenever circumstances permit, avoid too copious or unhealthy meals on Route. In accordance with common sense and medical authority, Broths are the best food for the traveler.

Run away from the buns, limit yourself to puddings and kill the bug with salty crackers and sandwiches. Those of sardine, anchovies, foie gras or jam are too indigestible, and those of ham leave you thirsty; best those of tongue or those of chicken, lamb, boiled egg, salmon, prey or canned veal.

Control the diet © Getty Images

Important: don't neglect the opener; You could find yourself in serious trouble without this instrument, which makes an impossible task something simple.

The wine take it in moderation, and the spirits, or taste them. Replace them with coffee, hot chocolate, homemade lemonade or tea; although you do not abuse infusions: they are delicious and refreshing, but their consumption among British women is becoming an alarming evil, there are six or seven cups a day!


Maids are generally useless at the moment of truth, and worse than useless in emergency situations. So don't bother taking them with you on the train. If you insist that they accompany you, challenge social conventions and travel in your very first class car, because they will still be more useless if they go in their pertinent third passage.


The ball gowns and the platinum wig that May French Sheldon he took on his expedition to Kilimanjaro they would be completely inadequate. Nor do the tail dresses and fur coat that Gertrude Bell spent to explore Arabia seem appropriate ...

Dress simply. That the clothing is comfortable and the corset minimally comfortable. Flowers and jewelry are in very bad taste and expose you to embarrassing misunderstandings. Do not call attention with vulgarities.

Calm down, sister, here's your pack © Getty Images

The pride of the nation is at stake: it's up to you that the English are the worst dressed on the planet or not, so pay attention. A dress without pretentious ornaments and serious behavior will protect your dignity even if you travel alone from Maine to Florida.

Of course, the pants are completely out of place. It is commented that Mary Kingsley he used them in Africa, a pair that his brother had lent him and that was put under the skirts, to protect himself from leeches when crossing rivers and marshes. But she always denied it and preserved her honor at all costs: "I would have preferred to perish in the public hall rather than wear what you already know," he said in reference to this devilish garment, extolling, instead, the virtues of his plush skirts, which saved his life in the jungle, by stopping him from falling into a trap full of poisoned stakes.

White petticoats are inappropriate for travel: they not only get dirty right away, but they spoil badly, which forces you to carry many spare parts. Choose dark colors.

In summer a gray or brown silk dust coat, that reaches the hem of the dress and you can fasten up and down.

Before dead that simple © Getty Images

As for footwear, boots are much better than shoes; preferably those that are tied with laces, as the buttons usually fall in the most unexpected moments.


Keep part of your money in the secret pocket that you will have made in the petticoats for this purpose, reserving a small sum for unforeseen expenses in the pocket of the dress. The rest of the pounds give them to your companion, and it is he who is responsible for making the payments.


No, even if the wagon driver asks you to. Such demand is not supported on any legal basis, however unfortunate the life of the aforementioned is.


If you travel with an escort or companion, you should not bother him with continuous questions such as “Where are we going?”, “When do we arrive?”. It is an offensive and improper behavior that makes the trip tedious. If you get bored, look at the landscape or entertain yourself with a book, but don't be picky, Leave your partner alone and do not interfere with his provisions and plans.


Of the check-in your companion will always be in charge (for that you have given him the money before).

The most advisable for choose a comfortable lodging is to be guided by recommendations based on the personal experiences of friends and acquaintances (what in the future will be TripAdvisor).

It is preferable to look for a furnished room, this way you will save yourself transporting your own belongings.

Tip, yes or no? That is the question © Getty Images / James Tissot

The landlady is usually honest, but not the maids. Better not to subject them to temptation and lock up any valuable belongings.

Never get into a bed of another without making sure that it has been properly ventilated, because everyone knows the deadly effects they have Wet sheets for a lady.

If you travel alone, inform the employer so that, at lunchtime, he will take you by the arm to the restaurant; But free him from this obligation if you stay more than one night. Instead, ask a waiter to perform the escort function, so you will avoid the shame of crossing the room alone. Once at the table, order the dishes you want quietly; be quick and resolute in your decision, and don't harass the maître changing your choice every two for three.


Spouses are not essential travel items, as Mary Kingsley recalled: “Neither the Royal Geographical Society in its Hints to Travelers neither the Silver lords in their elaborate list of items necessary for the traveler in tropical climates make any mention of husbands. ”

When you arrive in an unknown city, pSurround yourself with a map and a travel guide, so as not to ask questions all the time.

Victorian women in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado © Getty Images

But don't hurry: lIndependent travelers are often considered and kindly by men, and a real gentleman will always be willing to help you. If it were the case to run into a rude man on the train or on the ship, lower the veil and turn your back, do as if you read or look out the window. A circumspect behavior is the safest way to drive away impertinence.

To avoid violent situations, look for a seat next to another lady or near an elderly man.

If your circumstantial travel companion starts a conversation, do not dispatch him. These familiarities are those of the trip and will not affect your good image at all; but don't be too intimate either, be cautious.

Remember that only men are enabled to initiate dialogue with a lady, never the other way around. You will see how pleasant the continental custom of exchanging obeisances with each stranger who enters the car is, and how unpleasant it is for human cordiality to return to the cold and repulsive glances used in the British Isles.


It is true that, often, travelers are looked at with curiosity, when not fear, distrust or hostility; but traveling does not entail greater risks than a London Season dance. That to Gertrude Bell she will be attacked by a caravan vaulter, because she was going on an adventure, not tourism. How Ida Pfeiffer, that being in Sumatra she was cornered by some cannibals armed to the teeth. "Come, come," the scout challenged them. You will not have the heart to kill and eat an old woman like me, with meat harder than leather”.

With this guide you will not resist anything © Alamy

Aplomb and composure are the best safeguard against dangerous situations. And, fortunately, poise and composure are no longer alien virtues to ladies. However, whenever there is a man by your side, let him handle the cotarro, do not intervene; you should only act for yourself if you don't find any gentleman close.

In case of shipwreck, forget about the jewels: food supply is a priority. Look for a life jacket; If you do not find it (supplies are negligently scarce at times), try on any light wood object, which will be your salvation from not having enough boats for the entire crew.

In any case, think that the biggest threat of a cruise ship is the bad sunbeds: check their status before lying down; otherwise, your pleasant nap on deck could be interrupted in an inelegant and abrupt way.

In the hypothetical case that your train or carriage lost control, jumping through the window is not the right solution. The only viable plan is to remain on board, Hold on tight and soberly wait for the moment to dump. Although, practically all railway accidents are due to badly subject luggage that bruises the heads of the passengers. To anticipate such accidents, place your heavy belongings under the seat.

Leave prejudices at home © Getty Images / James Tissot

How would Mary Hall (the first one that toured the African continent from Cape Town to Cairo): "Take all precautions and abandon all your fears." Don't anticipate misfortunes and get away from your insecurities; Only then can you enjoy the trip.


Never ridicule or laugh at customs and foreign foods, as rare as they may seem. If in Germany they serve you meat with marmalade or raw beef, or in Italy they give you peas with pods, or in France they offer you horse fillet and frog legs… don't make any comments and repress gestures of disgust.

Try to adapt your tastes to the new gastronomy, and if you really find it impossible, remove the products you dislike from the plate, but do it quickly and with disguise. The best travelers are those who eat cat in China and fish oil in Greenland, those who smoke sepiolite pipes in Germany, those who hunt partridges in Great Britain, those who wear turbans in Turkey and those who ride elephants in India.

Eye with the gentlemen little gentlemen © Getty Images / James Tissot

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