Travel in Victorian Times

Although there are no record of Emily traveling to France, in the passenger lists of the 1890’s she may have fallen below the radar or simply not have been recorded. Passports were not crucial as they are today, but helped to save time and inconvenience. As described below by William Miller in his travel guide Wintering in the Riviera, the reason why is was best to carry a passport.

Travel Check List


…a passport is sometimes useful; it now costs little, and should always be taken. It is easily got under the directions contained in Bradshaw’s Continental Guide, and the visas of the foreign consuls seem now to be unnecessary, at least for the countries in which we were to travel. It is particularly important in some towns, to facilitate the obtaining of registered letters. Even ordinary letters occasionally, as I have found (1872) at Brussels on a former trip (having unfortunately lost my passport at Strasburg), will scarcely be delivered at the Poste Restante without production of the passport or other presumable evidence of identity; and it is said in guide-books, although we have never experienced the benefit of the information, that it operates as an admission to certain places of public resort.


In Emily’s time, a century or more before air-travel and the cheap airfare, all Continental travel had to be done by sea and rail. Unlike today it was possible to take a whole trunk (the size of about ten on the standard ten kilo suitcases on a journey, although, like today there were restrictions on weight too, however, the allowance was quite a bit more than now!

Some ladies seem to travel with their whole wardrobe, or at all events with a useless number of changes of raiment. On one occasion we met a gentleman and lady, who had with them nine huge boxes, nearly filling up the top of a large omnibus, besides smaller articles, including their maid’s modest provision. This is a grievous mistake. Ladies ought to travel with the least possible quantity of changes. More than is fairly needful is inconvenient in many ways. Apart from causing detentions to others, it is a source of anxiety, and is most expensive in countries where the luggage is all weighed, and every pound or extra pound must be paid for.

Bradshaw’s Guide, the definitive travel book of the time