The experienced traveler never makes the mistake of wearing jewelry or loud clothing, choosing instead a becoming and quiet suit, for those whom we casually meet measure us by our looks and behavior, not having had the opportunity of judging our personal worth.
A quiet, courteous, self-contained demeanor marks here, as always, the true lady. She answers civil questions, or offers needed assistance, though chary of continued conversation with strangers, and avoids loud laughter, gossip or discussion of personal or family affairs. She never forgets that the baggage cars and overhead racks are the proper receptacles for luggage, and when the cars are crowded occupies only the seat to which her ticket entitles her.
For the traveling suit, black, brown and gray are desirable, made with plain skirt, coat, basque and wrap suited to the season, with the addition of a heavy shawl or rug for possible cool weather. The dress must fit well, but not too snugly, nor be so close about the arms as to hinder movement and removal, as a sleeping car is not the most convenient place in which to make or unmake one’s toilet. Choose black gowns, or those which match your suit, and if the journey be for more than a few hours, select a soft hat or bonnet which will not be injured by a few bumps when you feel inclined for a nap.
If your journey extends over the night, take instead of a night gown, a pretty, loose wrapper in which you will be at any moment presentable, and in which you can pass to the ladies’ toilet to complete dressing. Remove your corsets, and in place of boots, substitute knitted slippers with wool soles. Never put on new shoes for a journey; pack them in your trunk and encase your feet in a pair of soft, loose, common-sense boots that have been worn enough to become shaped to the foot.
Carry a supply of large safety pins with which to fasten to the curtains of the sleeper, clothing and other articles likely to be lost in such a place. Much comfort will be found in a light cape with attached hood to be drawn up over the head, thus screening from unavoidable draughts. And this suggests a word about the bed. The writer has found from experience that much less dust and smoke are inhaled and the jar of the car less apparent by having the bed made with the head toward the engine.
In a crowded car always take the first available seat, but where choice is possible, the temperature will be found more agreeable and the motion less tiresome in the center of the car. There is a fresh air crank on every train, so that it is not always possible to avoid a draught, but disastrous consequences may often be averted by sitting so as to receive the air in the face rather than in the back of the neck; and just here is where the shawl will do one good service.
The cinders and dust unavoidable on a journey are deleterious to the skin, and water, especially if cold, should be sparingly used on the face. So carefully cover face and neck with vaseline, cold cream, or whatever similar preparation best agrees with the skin, wash in hot water, afterwards rubbing in a trifle of the emollient, and always in such a way as to smooth out incipient wrinkles which, without care, may soon be established facts. A similar process may be advantageously used on the hands and feet, as the former are inclined to chap and the latter to swell, if the journey is long.
It is especially desirable to take a lunch with one, no matter how short the ride, as unexpected delays often occur in places where food cannot be obtained. Last summer, by an accident to the train before them, a party were stranded for ten hours in the depths of the Canadian forest. For miles and miles there were no houses except the huts of the train men, and but for the well-filled lunch baskets of the more provident travelers, there would have been considerable discomfort before the regular lunch station was reached. For holding the lunch there is nothing better than light paste-board boxes, which can be thrown away as emptied.
The satchel ought to contain a drinking-cup, teaspoon, smelling-salts, camphor, one’s favorite remedies for colds, constipation, diarrhea and headache, and such other medicines as are suggested by individual needs. Stomachic derangements can usually be avoided by eating regularly of light, digestible food, avoiding sweets, nuts and lunches, and by carrying a bottle of strong black tea or coffee steeped without boiling. A few spoonfuls of either added to a glass of water with sugar, makes an agreeable beverage. A slice of lemon in the tea is relished by many. By carrying a small alcohol lamp on a long journey, a cup of hot drink may be had whenever desired. Even the small lamp over which curlers are heated will serve if there is some arrangement for supporting the tin cup. A friend who travels extensively, always packs with the lamp a tin of sugar and ginger, mixed in proper proportions, and is thus enabled to ward off many a cold or bowel trouble by the timely use of this simple remedy.
A small down of air cushion is indispensable if one is out for any length of time; the comfort it gives more than compensating for the trouble. An amusing book is not the least important part of the outfit, as time sometimes drags heavily where one misses connections or is detained by accidents. But reading should not be indulged in while the cars are in motion, on account of the increased eye strain. Indeed, the eyes should often be closed and given entire rest, as they become greatly fatigued by effort necessary to distinguish the rapidly changing object. Serious troubles have frequently resulted from this unsuspected cause.
I also include among my impediments a sketch and note book, tables, pencils, postals and envelopes, some of them addressed before starting. With these at hand, it is easy to let one’s friends know of one’s movements, and with a little forethought one need never be that worst of all nuisances, the unexpected guest.
H. Maria George (1892, May) Traveling Refinements and Comforts. The Ladies’ World Vol XIII (No. 5) 14. Retrieved from http://victoriantimes.us/etiquette/traveling-refinements-and-comforts