Ocean Travel Suggestions - 1923 - Pocket Handbook for Travelers

To the intelligent man or woman the opportunity to travel, and particularly to journey in foreign lands, usually comes as one of the most enjoyable means of recreation. Not only do such esteem it as a means of enlarging knowledge and widening one's horizon, but the change of surroundings and of everything which goes to make up living is apt to give pleasure. Such a one sets forth on a journey with expectations of a good time, and usually endeavors to make the most of a trip.

Unfortunately, many persons do not thoroughly enjoy traveling, and the fault frequently lies in or with themselves. To get the most out of a journey into strange lands and among strange peoples a traveler should possess a sense of humor and a degree of philosophy. He must be willing to make the best of any situation that may arise. it is not absolutely necessary for an American who travels to know any other language than English and yet a slight acquaintance with the language of every country he visits is apt not only to add to his pleasure, but to save him a good deal of trouble.

If he is not a linguist it will pay him in the end to acquire a few words of the tongue of the country in which he travels. Good phrase-books are to be had, but few books of this character teach one how to pronounce foreign words as they are pronounced by natives.

The man who depends on a phrase-book would gain if before he entered a foreign country he could take a few lessons in pronunciation. And, if he really wishes to get the most out of his journey, he should by all means read up on the countries he proposes to visit. A brief outline knowledge of the history of the country that is to be visited will prove not only of interest but valuable in interpreting its people, their institutions and their life.

"When in Rome do as the Romans do" is an axiom which to a certain extent the traveler finds it desirable to follow. Not literally, of course; but one should bear in mind that in a foreign country the ways and customs may be vastly different from those to which one is used at home, and govern himself accordingly.

Politeness is a much more generally distributed characteristic in Europe and the Orient that it is in the United States. One should never show irritation over small details in the examination of baggage, for a momentary lapse of good nature may cause several hours of needless delay. Anyone who is able to draw upon an unfailing supply of good temper and tact runs little risk of real annoyance while traveling.

Booking.—The rush season to Europe begins early in May and continues until the latter part of July. One might say that it is never too early to book berths and the transatlantic traveler would find it wise to decide upon the date of his return before leaving home, and secure his return passage. The homeward rush begins early in August and is still in full swing late in September. Often it is very difficult to obtain passage westward during those months and one who has neglected to do so is apt to find his stay in Europe prolonged far beyond his original intentions.

Clothing.—For an ocean journey the traveler should remember that a single voyage may provide many varieties of weather, particularly in the spring or autumn, and while light clothing is necessary on warm days it is wise to guard against chills and one should not journey without woolen clothing. No man should travel without an overcoat, and a woman should have a heavy wrap. On most of the big steamers one finds a great deal of 2dressing for dinner" these days, and even on the smaller liners many prefer it, not prompted by a feeling of snobbishness, but because of a desire to make a break in the day's monotony. A well-dressed party at a dinner table is apt to be a merrier party. A man should always carry along a dinner suit. In London he may have need of a dress suit. Usually on the continent there is small need for the latter. The dinner-coat is considered de rigueur for evening in most continental capitals and watering places during the summer.

Baggage.—Intending voyagers should remember that when two or more persons share a stateroom each has certain rights which the other ought at least to respect. It is unwise to fill more than one's share of a stateroom with superfluous bags. On a transatlantic voyage a man should be able to get along with a steamer trunk, a suitcase, a laundry bag and various toilet conveniences.

A woman who does not intend to dress elaborately during such a voyage should be able to do with very little more. On all steamers it is possible at certain hours to gain access to the baggage room, where one or more extra trunks may be stored. In traveling by train in Europe it is possible, as many voyagers do, to carry most of one's effects in numerous articles of hand luggage. This is one way of insuring their arrival at destination coincidently with the passenger. Unfortunately, however, the practice is abused.

Each piece of baggage should be marked with the owner's name and destination in full and should be of a character that permits it to be readily opened for customs examination. In traveling about in Europe baggage is not generally checked, but "registered" from one place to another. It is strongly recommended that in registering baggage on the continent the owner should be careful not to leave any jewelry in it, and that he should insure his baggage. This can be done for a small sum.

Heavy luggage should reach the steamship pier the day before sailing. The steamship companies allow 20 cubic feet of baggage free. All above that quantity must be paid for, the excess being charged not by weight, but by measurement. On all European railways, the free baggage allowance is now very small.

The baggage that would be needed during the voyage should be distinguished from that which is "not wanted" by tags supplied by the baggage masters of the steamship companies, or which may be obtained at the steamship agencies. If a trunk is desired to be kept in the stateroom, it should be not more than 13 inches in height, else it will not go under the bed. In more expensive staterooms, however, wardrobe trunks may be accommodated. Travelers should inquire of the steamship company as to just what baggage space is allotted in the cabin purchased.

Storage of Luggage—Should a traveler desire to leave in storage at the port of debarkation trunks or other baggage, to remain until his return, the same will be taken care of at his risk by the steamship company. If one lands in England and has baggage which he may not need in that country but may require in Paris, such baggage may be forwarded "in bond" to the French capital, to be passed there by the French customs authorities and without examination in England. Arrangements for this may be made with the baggage master of the steamer.

Steamer Rugs.—It is unnecessary for anyone who does not wish to be encumbered with luggage to include a steamer rug in his travel equipment, as rugs for the ocean voyage to Europe may be hired on board ship. However, if one expects to do a good deal of traveling on European trains a rug is an excellent thing to take along, as cold temperatures are often encountered when least expected.

How Funds Should bc Carried.—While a traveler should be supplied with enough cash for immediate needs, it is inadvisable to journey with a large sum of money on one's person. The safest and most convenient method is to carry either a Letter of Credit or Traveler's Cheques.

Anyone who takes the bulk of his traveling funds in the form of a Letter of Credit would be wise to carry in addition a small sum in the form of Traveler's Cheques. These last are issued by certain banks, steamship and tourist companies for sums of $10, $20, $50 and upwards, and are readily accepted anywhere at the equivalent of their face value in local money, though it is better to have all of one's cashing done in banks, at least while exchange is subject to fluctuation.

A third method of carrying travel funds is by the use of drafts issued by banks in the United States upon banks in other countries, or vice versa. Such, however, are payable only by the bank upon which they are drawn and if deposited elsewhere may require delay for their collection.

Forwarding Mail.—If the traveler does not know at which hotels he will stop in Europe, he should arrange before sailing to have his letters and other mail sent to some central point in London or Paris, such as his bank, his tourist agency or the office of the steamship company whose service he patronizes. Arrangements may be made after arrival in Europe for mail to be forwarded to various destinations. In many of the large European cities a number of American daily newspapers have branch offices which receive mail and forward it as directed.

Hogs.—Cannot be landed in Great Britain unless a license has previously been procured from the Board of Agriculture in London. This is not any arbitrary regulation, but is consequent upon an outbreak of rabies in England many years ago which had disastrous results. Forms of licenses must be obtained by direct application before the dog may be taken aboard the steamer.

Porters on Piers.—While many guide books assert that it is not necessary to tip the porter on a pier, and in some European ports one sees notices posted to this effect, the traveler is apt to find that unless he does tip porters on piers he may experience delay, if not actual trouble, in the handling of his baggage. One should make sure that one's baggage has been put on the tender, on the pier, and on the train.

The American Consul.—Many persons travel for months at a time without seeing an American consul. Others, through accident or mischance, find themselves in difficulties, and the recourse of such a one is the consul of his country. If there is no consulate in the particular town where the American happens to be, it will be easy to find out where the nearest is located, and these days the average American consul is g type of man who welcomes a call from a fellow-countryman and is ready to give his services in time of perplexity or need.

Return to Top of Page