The Confessions of a Travel Advice Junkie
by Victoria Alexander, author of The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen
I love to travel!
Oh, I don’t like getting from point A to point B. That’s always a hassle and I’m really disappointed that in 2017 we still don’t have transporters, but that’s an entirely different blog post. I’ll do anything to make traveling easier. I rarely go anywhere new without at least two travel guides. Yep—I am a travel advice junky.
Now I’ve fallen in love with 19th-century travel advice for women. A lot of it holds up today.
In 1883, travel writer Ruth Danby advised the wisdom of a collapsible portmanteau (expandable suitcase) and praised “fortunate travelers whose luggage was so small as to go under the seat of the railway carriage (carry-on).” Those travelers get the first cabs, reach hotels first and get the best rooms. But Ruth also had a few words for those pesky American lady travelers and their massive luggage.
“I have been told, I do not know with how much truth, that since American ladies have begun to travel in Europe so much, the railway hotel porters either die or break down on an average several years younger than used to be the case.”
In 1875, Florence Hartley stressed ladylike behavior.
“There is no situation in which a lady is more exposed than when she travels, and there is no position where a dignified, ladylike deportment is more indispensable and more certain to command respect. If you travel under the escort of a gentleman, give him as little trouble as possible.”
Personally, I feel compelled to give gentlemen I’m traveling with as much trouble as possible.
But the best travel advice I’ve ever gotten was probably just as good in the 1800’s.
“Always order the house wine. It’s usually local, cheap and good.”
Works for me.
So, what’s your best travel advice?
Really, it’s too much to expect any normal man to behave like a staid accountant in order to inherit the fortune he deserves to support the lifestyle of an earl. So when Derek Saunders’s favorite elderly aunt and her ill-conceived—and possibly fraudulent—Lady Travelers Society loses one of their members, what’s a man to do but step up to the challenge? Now he’s escorting the world’s most maddening woman to the world’s most romantic city to find her missing relative.
While India Prendergast only suspects his organization defrauds gullible travelers, she’s certain a man with as scandalous a reputation as Derek Saunders cannot be trusted any farther than the distance around his very broad shoulders. As she struggles not to be distracted by his wicked smile and the allure of Paris, instead of finding a lost lady traveler, India just may lose her head, her luggage and her heart.