With peak summer vacation time coming to a close (if you’ve been wondering why we haven’t been posting much lately, it’s because we’ve been on vacation!), I thought it would be a good time to check in with Emily Post and see what she had to say about traveling in the 1920s.
Some pretty solid advice:
- On trains (the main type of public transport at the time, most advice applicable to airplanes today), don’t eat smelly food (or smoke cigars) that are going to disturb other passengers. She mentions bananas specifically.
- Keep your children occupied so they don’t disturb other passengers.
- When traveling by boat to Europe (ie a cruise today), unless you are very wealthy and have many friends also traveling on board with whom to arrange a dining table, you should sit where the steward puts you and make conversation with your dining companions throughout the trip (a good story for another day is the time when Jaya and I were on a cruise with two other girls and the other four people at our dinner table basically did not talk to us the entire time!)
- Don’t bother people with incessant talking when it’s clear they are not in the mood to talk. Try out a few remarks, but if they go back to their book, you need to go back to yours.
- Don’t be an ugly American when traveling abroad (it’s impressive this was a problem as far back as the 1920s!)
- Don’t steal from other countries/monuments for souvenirs. And don’t deface historical monuments to leave your mark.
- Avoid traveling with others and potentially ruining their holiday if when traveling you are frequently in a bad mood, often don’t want to go along with what the group wants to do, get very frustrated with delays or bad weather, or get sick very easily. Don’t go on a boating trip if you get seasick, don’t go on hikes if you can’t walk very far, etc. The good traveling companion is cheerful, gets along with others, knows their limits, and avoids complaining about inevitable discomfort.
- Ladies do not have to travel with escorts. In fact, if you run into a gentleman of your acquaintance in your travels, you should take care not to spend too many meals with him or talk to him too much lest people start to talk.
- When registering in hotels, men always write their names as John Smith, unless they are traveling with their wives in which case they write Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. Women always write their names with the honorific, such as Miss Jane Doe or Mrs. John Smith.
- Wearing ball dresses on board a ship is in the worst taste because it implies that you have nowhere else to wear your best things. The most formal you should be is semi formal.
- Don’t worry about what to called titled people if you happen to reach those circles while abroad, just call them “you” when you are speaking to them.
Bad Advice for Today:
- Always tip 10% and don’t occupy a table by yourself if you are only having a simple (ie less expensive meal).
- Bringing letters of introduction. (Although, I guess, Facebook introductions are kind of the same thing?)