Handling Baggage Abroad

In England, and where English is spoken on the continent, this has now become “luggage.” It is not checked but “registered.” In France it is bagage and is enregistre or expedie. Various words for “porter” are porteur in France, Gepacktrager in Germany, cargador in Spain and Spanish-America, carregador in Portugal or Brazil, fachino in Italy. In Spain the portero is the baggage master, and should not be expected to bend his own back to material burdens.

Heavy baggage may be registered from the landing-place to any address in London upon the payment of a small fee and the charges for any excess weight. It may be registered from England to any continental country, saving trouble, and in some cases expense, such as harbor dues and porter fees between trains and boat. The baggage master on board ship usually is an expert in these matters, and can tell you where heavy baggage can conveniently be stored or shipped, and may offer to attend to the matter. Most tourist companies, and several delivery agencies in London, will call at almost any hotel in Europe, through representatives, and take trunks for delivery at other hotels, or to hold in storage. In France, baggage that does not need to accompany the owner may be shipped by grande vitesse if haste is necessary, petite vitesse if a short delay is possible, and as freight at much less cost if there is no hurry.

Porters in at least uniform caps meet trains throughout Europe. Those who wish the services of one have only to lower the compartment window and beckon to one as the train comes. His fee will usually be the local equivalent of a dime per ordinary package from train to cab, heavier pieces and longer distances accordingly. No load one man can carry calls for more than 25c unless carried beyond the station precincts. In Japan “red caps” are found at every important station, and expect about the same for their services as do their American colleagues. In most of South America and the Far East a rabble of porters greets the arrival of every train or boat, and reasonable care should be taken to know whom one is entrusting with baggage. In some countries the station porters pool their earnings with a boss porter and divide equally at the end of the day. In the less tourist-trodden parts of Europe the porter may be as well pleased with the equivalent of a nickel as with a dime, and in certain parts of the Far East, notably China, coppers are ample, and overpayment much more likely to cause a scene than underpayment.