Steamship Travel Tips of 1912

Steamship Travel Tips of 1912

Mr. Burris’ “Don’ts for Travelers” show how travel has changed in a century, and how it has not.

Charles Walker Burris published a “textbook on the Canal Zone and Republic with a Guide to the Pacific Coast” in 1912, the era of the Potter and Hobby family’s steamship travel.  His information on steamship travel, Canal history and construction, and Pacific ports is helpful for editing and enhancing Will Hobby’s and the Potter’s letters and journal.  

“Don’t drink strange water,” and “Don’t go into the jungle alone,” are as true today as then.

Other admonitions remind us how times have changed:

  • Don’t fail to remember a long voyage with no likelihood of getting your linen laundered will call for quite a supply of collars.
  • Don’t fail to remember that rubbing the gum side of your postage stamps over your hair will, in a measure, prevent them from sticking together–a bane to the traveler in a tropical county.
  • Don’t forget there is always painting being done on board ship.  While the officers and crew will try to safeguard the passenger’s clothing, a little watchfulness on the part of the latter will assist in avoiding damages.
  • Don’t forget your fountain pen and a small bottle of ink.
  • Don’t fail to carry your own drinking cup.  It is necessary on the Canal Zone and should be made so in all other places.  If you should neglect to provide one, here is a design for a sanitary drinking cup that you can make out of any clean piece of paper in a few seconds:

One never-outdated tip: “Remember the country is right if you approach it right;  keep your mind clear, your good nature to the front, and the troubles of the country will probably pass you by.” 

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