Regency Traveling Tips for the British Isles or the Continent

Traveling in the British Isles or on the European Continent was something done regularly by Regency people and you could find people like Madame Récamier, Madame de Staël, Eliza de Feuillide, Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, or Josephine de Beauharnais traveling regularly. To make their vacations or trips as comfortable as possible, one writer gathered a variety of Regency traveling tips. Here they are in their entirety:

Regency Traveling Tips in the British Isles 

  • Where persons travel for pleasure, or when they are not compelled by business to travel fast, sixty miles in winter, and seventy in summer, is distance enough to go.
  • In good weather, it is right to go one stage before breakfast, which gives the traveller an excellent appetite for that meal; but when the weather is cold or moist, it is better to take breakfast before you set out. Three, four, or five stages, according to their length, may be taken after breakfast. Stop at a good inn about six o’clock to dinner, and remain there all night. In travelling, indeed, for pleasure merely, you ought to keep nearly the same hours for your meals that you do at home. That system greatly promotes the advantage of a journey.
  • Tea taken two or three hours before bed time, is a refreshing meal, and does not prevent sleep.—Suppers should, if possible, be avoided.
  • The wine at inns is in general bad. Some people take with them Madeira or Sherry, which are not injured by travelling, having no sediment.
  • It is better to submit, with a good grace, to the inconveniences of travelling, than to put yourself out of humor, which is injurious to health, and destroys the pleasures of a journey.
  • It is proper to carry some amusing or instructive books to read, when you stop in the evening; and perhaps some medicines, which are not always to be had good at country towns. Costiveness should be particularly guarded against, which travelling, particularly if the meals are irregular, and the journey rapid, is very apt to produce. Eating brown bread, and drinking malt liquors, may prevent this complaint.
  • In general, the sheets and beds at English inns are perfectly safe; but it is always better to pay attention to both these most important particulars, and to ascertain before your bed-room is fixed upon, that it has not been recently painted.
  • It is a good plan to have what may be called, “sleeping trowsers,” of linen or cotton, which are an excellent substitute for sheets, if there is the least apprehension of damp[ness].
  • What is called “neck pillow,” has lately been invented at Edinburgh, which is found of great use in rapid travelling.
  • It is highly proper, and often essential for safety, to lock the door of your apartment, to prevent intrusion, when you are asleep. (To accomplish this, the traveler suggested using an “auger, by which I can fasten a door where there are no bolts or where the lock is deficient.”
  • When travelling in remote parts of the country, it is prudent to ascertain where the best inns are, for, by reaching early the place where you propose to stop, you are likely to secure as good accommodation as the road can furnish.
  • In some districts, wheaten bread is not always met with. Some biscuit, therefore, of the sort you prefer, or loaves of bread, should be taken with you; also some tea and sugar.
  • As sitting much in a carriage, is fatiguing and unwholesome; it is rule with some, when the weather is fine, to walk a part of every stage, before going into the carriage.
  • It is a great advantage to have all the luggage on springs: it is not only carried safer, but with much greater facility to the horses.
  • It is a good rule either for the master or servant, to walk round the carriage, when it stops, to see if all the wheels, etc. are right.
  • When travelling in cold weather, the best mode of securing warmth is, by, having a candle or lamp burning in the carriage, even in the day time, but still more so at night. This useful practice was accidentally used by a gentleman, who finds it much butter than any other mode of obtaining heat, whether by fur-shoes, Shetland stockings pulled over the shoes and legs, or bottles, or white-irons or copper-boxes filled with hot water. A common stable lanthorn, with a creuse of oil of good quality, so fixed in it, that the oil shall not be spilled by the jolting of the carriage will answer extremely well; and may be had for half-a-crown; or a small lamp may be so constructed, as to be hung up in the carriage, for the double purpose of obtaining heat, and of enabling one to read in the night time.
Regency traveling tips

Mail coach leaving Piccadilly with travelers by George Scarf.  Courtesy of Wikipedia.

 

Regency Traveling Tips on the Continent

  • Diet. — Experience having taught people of all countries, the mode of living the best calculated for their climate, a traveller, whilst he attends to what agrees or disagrees with his own constitution, should conform as much as circumstances will admit of, to the customs of the inhabitants, in regard to diet, dress, exercise and rest.
  • Water. — In many foreign countries, the water is bad. Where this happens, it should be boiled, and drank when cold. If that cannot be done, it should be filtrated through a piece of fine linen, and either some toast, a little vinegar, or some juice of lemon put into it. Very indifferent water, boiled with a little tea, becomes safe; or it may be rendered sweet, by charcoal powder.
  • Exercise. — Violent exercise after dinner is prejudicial, and more so in warm countries than in cold ones. Those, therefore, who travel on horseback, or in any vehicle, whose motion is rather violent, will act prudently if they eat and drink sparingly. After a long journey on foot, it is unwholesome to take a plentiful meal, or to sit near a great fire.
  • Carriages. — Travellers in carriages are very liable to have their legs swelled. In order to prevent their being thus incommoded, they ought to wear shoes rather than boots, to untie their garters, to alight occasionally, and to walk as often as opportunity permits it, which will favour the circulation. The glasses of the carriages also should not be kept up, as the air would soon be affected, so as to be injurious to respiration. A frequent change of posture is of use.
  • Bathing. — Cleanliness requires people to bathe oftener when they are travelling than when they are at home; yet they must be careful never to bathe when their blood is agitated, or the stomach full, or the day very hot. The cool morning and evening hours are the proper times for taking this salubrious recreation. Where bathing cannot be practised, it is advisable frequently to wash the body with cold water.
  • Sleeping. — Damp beds are very often found in inns but little visited, and in rooms where fires are seldom made. Too great precautions cannot be taken against the mischiefs thence arising. It is better to lie down upon clean dry straw, than upon a damp mattrass or feather-bed. Travellers should, if possible, carry with them a light coverlet of silk, one or two pair of sheets, and one or two dressed hart skins, about six feet six inches in length, and three feet six inches in breadth. One of these skins should be put upon the mattrass or feather-bed, to prevent any disagreeable contact, or nauseous exhalations. Sleeping with the windows open, in hot climates, is extremely unwholesome. Those who travel on foot should never sleep under the shadow of a tree, or near a field of hemp.
  • Fruit. — Fresh fruits, and even the ripest grapes, relax the stomach in hot climates, and an immoderate meal on them would infallibly produce the most dangerous consequences, if bread were omitted to be taken with them. Thirst, however, is more effectually quenched by eating fresh fruit, and a morsel of bread, than by drinking water.
  • Marshy Countries. — In marshy districts, the air is remarkably unhealthy. In such situations, it is necessary to look out for dry houses to reside in, and to sleep in the upper stories. Proper exercise should be taken, avoiding both the heat of the sun, and evening damps. A just quantity of vinous liquors, and victuals yielding good nourishment, is necessary in such cases.
  • Hot Climates. — Travellers in hot climates should abstain from meat as much as possible, particularly at night, otherwise they are liable to putrid fevers, which are seldom easily removed. Sweet or boiled wines, as they check the powers of digestion, and tend excessively to inflame the Wood, ought to be used in the most sparing manner. Those who have perspired copiously from the heat of the sun, should shelter themselves as much as possible during the falling of the dew; and if they cannot avoid the evening damps, should by no means sit down, for continual exercise is the only means of preventing the fatal consequences which so often result from cold and dew.
  • Clothing. — Travellers, who walk much, or take violent exercise, should wear a flannel shirt next [to] their skin. If their clothes have been thoroughly wet, they should endeavour to get dry beds, and clean shirts, and should rub their skins with dry flannel before they go to bed. If they cannot get dry clothes, they should keep their bodies in constant motion till their clothes have become dry upon them.
  • Injection. — A traveller should never visit an hospital before he has breakfasted; for a body void of food is apt to contract contagious disorders. Before visiting the sick, it may be advisable to eat a little bread dipt in vinegar, or to take a glass of wine, with a little sugar, and the juice of half a lemon. The mouth and nostrils should likewise be washed with camphorated vinegar, and during the time of being in an hospital, the spittle should never be swallowed.
  • Miscellaneous Articles. — Travellers should not neglect to carry with them a bottle of vinegar de quatre voleurs, some French brandy, arquebusade, or Peruvian balsam, laudanum, James’s powders, and a small bottle of Hoffman’s drops.
Regency traveling tips

“The Advantages of Travel, or, ‘A Little Learning is a Dangerous Thing.'” Courtesy of Walpole Library.

References:

  • Sinclair, Sir John, The Code of Health and Longevity, 1818

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