Ever Hear of The Travelers Aid Society?


In this pandemic, most travel is prohibited, especially international. But I can’t imagine how frightening it would be to be stuck somewhere and have no resources. And double that fear if I found myself in a strange country and be unable to speak the language.

So organizations founded just to help travelers are a godsend, no matter when or where.

The Travelers Aid movement began in 1851 with Bryan Mullanphy, a former mayor of St. Louis, Missouri, who bequeathed half a million dollars to assist “bona fide travelers heading West.”

This organization furnished provisions and the means with which to make the trip for men and women in good health who showed the stamina required for the journey. I can only imagine how many adventurous settlers they helped.

Until recently, I had never heard of this organization and never knew anything like this existed!

Once the West was settled, the Travelers Aid Society moved into providing protection for women and girls traveling alone. Such a beneficial program that kept them from falling victim to the white slave trade and other criminal enterprises.

By the early twentieth century, they served all people regardless of gender, age, race, class, or religion. It truly became an organization for everyone.

Image by 272447 from Pixabay


It morphed into the National Travelers Aid Association in 1917 under Grace Dodge. They welcomed immigrants to the U.S. and provided assistance and a safe place to stay for anyone needing one. The organization set up offices near all the ports of entry and stood ready to dive in and assist anyone with a problem.

During the 1920s and throughout WWII, they were a prominent fixture at railroad stations, helping soldiers, unaccompanied minors, and assisting stranded travelers.

There are still around 40 Travelers Aid programs in the U.S. with offices at major airports to assist where there’s a need. In 2010, they assisted 7 million people in getting to their destination.

Now there’s an international branch for world travelers. There will always be a need for someone to help the lost, the desperate, the confused.

For an organization that’s 169 years old, that’s pretty darn good.

Have you ever traveled to a strange place and needed help? Would you ever reach out to The National Travelers Aid association if you were in a bind? I’m giving away a signed copy of The Mail Order Bride’s Secret so leave a comment to enter.


Website | + posts

Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

57 thoughts on “Ever Hear of The Travelers Aid Society?”

  1. What a wonderful organization! I have never heard of that organization. Fortunately, I’ve never been in need. Though we have ended up in ERs in other states while on vacation.

    I do know if you’re in a strange place and need help, a local chapter of the Red Cross can sometimes give assistance for returning home. Or they once did.

    • Oh wow I never knew this. Thanks for sharing. Glad there are things in the world that are good still.

    • Good Morning, Denise….I can’t imagine having to go to the ER in another state. That would be scary trying to navigate everything and if a family member had to hospitalized, the others would have to find lodging. What a nightmare! Good to know about the Red Cross. I’ll keep that in mind because they are everywhere. Have a beautiful day.

    • Good morning, Abigail! I’m glad I wasn’t the only one in the dark about this. I always feared being stranded in a strange city or country. We’ll have to keep this in mind. Have a blessed day!

  2. Good morning Miss Linda- I’ve never heard of this before. I’m sure glad it exist and people have it for their assistance. I’ve never traveled where I was lost or felt abandoned. I just can’t even begin to imagine how scary that type of situation would feel.
    I’m sure ready to get back to some normalcy and I know you for one, sure are ready. Hang in their my sister friend, hopefully soon we can get back out into the world. Love you, Happy writing today.

    • Good morning, Miss Tonya….I can’t imagine anything more frightening to be lost or stranded. That would be a horrible feeling! And even worse if it was back in the 1800s. No GPS, no phones, no help coming. That would the absolutely scariest. Yes, this lockdown is grating on my nerves. Each day is the same with nothing to break it up. And here we can only go outside for 15 minutes a day. I hardly get out there and I have to come back in. I felt so much anger at first but now I’m left with an emptiness. There’s nothing to bring joy. Love you dearly, sister friend. Thank you so much for your support and love.

  3. Surprisingly, yes I had heard of the Traveler’s Aid Society but mostly in its original organization. I have never had to turn to them, but, one of the best things I do is get turned around and lost. I have found in most countries people are very willing to help. So always have a language to English book or pull up a translation app on your phone. It is amazing what lengths people will go to to help someone, especially a “furriner”.

    • Good morning, Miss Cricket! You travel abroad a lot and I had wondered how that would feel to be so lost and help an ocean away. How comforting to know that local people love to help. If I ever get to travel outside the country, I’m taking an armful of language books! Excellent tip. Love and blessings, sweet lady.

  4. What an interesting organization! I have never heard of this organization before either. Thankfully, I have never needed that help yet, but it’s nice to know that they’re available. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Good morning! I’ve never heard of this organization then or now! It’s a great thing to know even though I don’t ever travel. Yes, I would use this organization if the need were to arise. I can’t even imagine how much money that half million dollars would be today or how many people they helped. It’s crazy to think that this organization is still around! Thanks for another great history teaching blog! Stay safe and try to keep your sanity!

    • Good morning, Miss Steph! It’s so good to see you. I’m glad you enjoyed reading about this evidently little-known organization. I’m sure the numbers over all of the people they’ve helped would be staggering. The 7 million in 2010 alone blew my mind! It’s sure crazy that it’s been around for so long. I think I read where they get money from the United Way or Red Cross. I do pray this isolation period is over soon. It’s very hard mentally to cope day by day. Love and Blessings, my Warrior Buddy.

  6. This is the first I have ever heard of The National Travelers Aid Association. I have never been anywhere that I needed help, but knowing about this organization, I would reach out if I found myself in need of help.

    • Good morning, Janine! I’m happy to see you. Thank you for liking my post. I found it very interesting and also that it went back to covered wagon days. Wow! Amazing. You have a blessed day!

  7. I had never before heard of The National Travelers Aid Association.

    Fortunately, I’ve never been in need of help while away.

    Thanks for another fascinating blog.

    • Good morning, Alisa! Thanks for coming. I’m very happy to see you and share my piece of information that I ran across by accident. We have so many things at our disposal now to help us–our phones for one–so it’s not as beneficial now as it must’ve been. But immigrants probably get the most use of the help. You have a blessed day and try to find something to smile about.

  8. I’m with most everyone here and haven’t heard of it before. Sounds like it would be a very helpful thing if you were lost or couldn’t get where you needed for many reasons. I’ll have to remember that.

    • Good morning, Debra……Thanks for coming. I’m happy you found my post as intriguing as I did. I never knew anything like this existed, especially not for pioneers. Have a blessed and wonderful day.

  9. I’ve never heard of this organization! I think it’s great! I’ve not really needed help when I’ve traveled, but then, I’ve only been on a plane once, and it was with a group I worked with, so I had them to help!

    • Good morning, Trudy C……Traveling with friends or family is the only way. It’s very stressful when you’re alone with no one to depend on for help. It’s nice to know that the Travelers Aid is available. Have a blessed day and keep smiling. This lockdown will be over soon.

    • Good morning, Hebby! I’m so happy to see you. I found this very interesting and that they’ve been around for 169 years. Blows my mind. Have a beautiful day and try to find something to smile about.

  10. I have heard of Travelers Aid. I have not traveled much and have never need it. I would reach if I needed to.

    • Good morning, Estella! Seeing your name pop up puts a smile on my face. I’m happy you came and that you found my post interesting. Have a blessed day and enjoy the sunshine if you get a chance.

  11. Since I don’t travel that much I have never been in a strange place and needed help. I think it would freak me out if I did. I would reach out to them if I was ever in need though.

    • Good morning, Quilt Lady! Thank you for coming to read my post. I’ve been in a few situations that did freak me out and it wasn’t anything I’d want to repeat. A Travelers Aid group would’ve helped immensely. Luckily, I got through it and things turned out okay. Have a blessed and wonderful day, sweet lady!

  12. I travel a lot, but fortunately I have never needed help. I would certainly reach out for help if I needed it though.

    • Good morning, Cheryl C…….Great to see you. Thank you for coming and liking my post. They seem like an amazing group and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to ask for help if I needed it. I hope your day is filled with love and hope.

    • Good morning, Caryl! I’m so happy you came. Thank you for liking my post. With cell phones, GPS, and other things at our disposal these days we rarely would have the need to ask for help but it’s nice to know it’s there. I think traveling abroad would be where I would need some assistance. Have a blessed day, dear friend.

  13. Good morning! I often think how frightening it must have been to travel anywhere without cells phones and road service plans and 24-hour gas stations. Wagon Train is fun to watch but don’t think I would be much good living it. We have been fortunate that although stranded and in need of help a few times resources were available for us. Thank heaven for Travelers Aid and the people who run it. Stay safe! Thanks for the giveaway – I love those mail order brides!

    • Hi Sally, thank you so much for coming. I share your feelings about the old West. Being alone would’ve been the worst feeling. You’d be so vulnerable and with outlaws and all kinds of unsavory types it would’ve been even worse. Thank you for liking my mail order brides. I’ve had a lot of fun with them and their outlaw men. Good luck in the giveaway.

  14. WOW, Linda! I had never heard of this before! I’m so glad you blogged about it today–this is a real eye-opener, and to think that they are still in operation after all these years? Amazing! I wish there was more publicity about them–I’m sure there are a lot of travelers who would take advantage of them if they knew they existed. I don’t travel much, but I never go a year without renewing my AAA membership–that gives me a little peace of mind (especially for the kids!) But I did not have any idea the Traveler’s Aid Society existed. GREAT POST! Love you, girl. Stay safe!

    • Hi Cheryl….I’m glad you enjoyed my post. I think this might be something to incorporate into a story. That might’ve been why I jotted it down when I ran across it not long ago. It’s just really interesting. And that they helped women and girls who got stranded. I love that. Take care of yourself and keep plugging along. One day this pandemic will be a distant memory. I can’t wait.

  15. Hello Ms Linda! I find blogs like this very informative and educational. I’ve never traveled a lot and never alone. Did not know that an organization like this existed but it would be great for those in need.
    Like you I am ready for this pandemic to be over. I can sit on my porch and go out in the yard when I want but I am trying to stay safe and not getting out otherwise! No visiting or shopping! Love you, Linda and all of your wonderful books!! Hope the rest of your day is blessed!!

    • Hi Miss Ruth! Oh man, this is a treat. I’m so happy you came by. For someone lost, confused, or stranded this organization certainly fills a great service. I never knew it existed. I hear you on this pandemic. Here at the Clairmont we only get to go outside for 15 minutes and the rest of the time we’re confined to our rooms. I really miss seeing and talking to my friends. I get terribly lonely. This can’t end soon enough for me. I pray we can both get through it without losing our minds. Blessings and love back to you, dearest frind.

    • Hi Miss Colleen! Great to see you. Seems like it’s been a long time. Thank you for liking my little piece of information. It was an eye-opener for me. Love and hugs!

  16. Welcome today. Wow that is an impressive article. I had no idea they existed. This is so cool. Thanks for sharing. I cant even imaging how many people they have helped.

    • Hi Miss Lori! Thank you so much for coming and liking my post. These people have really served a great need through the years. Blessings to you. Have a wonderful day.

  17. What an interesting blog! Only once did Ron and I need help finding our way. We were in the Pisgah National Forest in Tennessee and our road came down to a cattle trail at the top of a mountain. We were so lost. Decided to quit using our GPS and resort to common sense. Finally after hours of backtracking, we found our campground. The Mortimer Campground. We laughed and to this day talk about how mortified we were trying to find the Mortimer Campground.

    • Hi Miss Kathy! I’m so happy to see you. Thanks for the chuckle. How funny. Sometimes those GPS systems aren’t much good. I’m glad you found your way back. One incident of mine that comes to mind was when I was with my family on a long road trip and got left behind at a service station. I’ll never forget the feeling of abandonment and fear that I’d never see my mama and daddy again. Scared me to death. Luckily I didn’t have to wait but a little over an hour. But when you’re nine years old that’s a long time. Sending my love and many blessings, sweet lady.

  18. Back in the day before cell phone and gps I did get lost a time or two. I would stop at a gas station and ask the attendants for directions and they would give me the correct way. I would ask a Travel Aid Association if I needed their services. Wishing Bright Wonderful Days ahead to you Dear Linda. Love and Hugs to you!!

  19. Last summer, my husband and I got stranded in the airport in Dallas overnight due to a horrible storm. The airline put out sandwiches, drinks, and snacks (we made sure to grab something for breakfast the next day) and handed out blankets. We thought we had managed to book ourselves for a flight home the next day, but realized when we tried to print our tickets that we had done it wrong and had booked ourselves for a day later–the earliest we could find. God bless the counter agent who spent almost an hour with us at midnight to try to get us home to our kids as soon as she could. We had to fly standby to Miami just to get back to Indianapolis, but everyone at the airport was kind and helpful. It ended up being quite an adventure! (Since it was my first trip to Florida, I made my husband buy me a t-shirt at the airport–even though we never left the building.) I was just continually grateful for all the kind people we met along the way who made sure we got home safe as soon as we could.

  20. I had never heard of this organization until you mentioned it, sister. Where were they when you and I traveled along by bus from Hobbs to Lubbock? 🙂 Seriously, what a great organization!

    • Hi Jan! Great to see you, Sister. I don’t know where that group was when we traveled alone as kids on the Greyhound Bus. I couldn’t have been any older than nine or ten and you were three years younger. I was scared we’d get left when we got off the bus at stops, which there were a lot of. No one was looking out for us. I can’t remember anyone even talking to us. Mom should’ve had her head examined! Love you, Sister.

  21. I’ve never heard of this before. I probably would have used their services if I was traveling alone. This is very interesting. Thank you for sharing this.

  22. No need to add me to the giveaway. I have been lucky enough to travel, even overseas. I did not know about the Travers Aid Society. I never did need it, but it would have been nice during one incident. I had finished my three years in the Peace Corps and was taking the 3 months before my passport expired to travel around the world. Sadly, when I got to
    Singapore from Indonesia, just two weeks in to my trip, there was a not at American Express to contact the American Embassy. There was a box at the gate with a push button to talk with someone. A disembodied voice came on, I identified myself, and they said “Your mother is dying.” and disconnected. I managed calling home and changing travel arrangements by myself. I was in a bit of shock. It would have been very nice to have to have someone to understand and help me out.
    Take care. Stay safe and healthy.

    • Hi Pat! Oh my gosh! That would’ve been hair-raising. I think you’ve been awfully brave to travel so widely. I think I’m too big a chicken for that. But I really admire you for your immense courage. Thank you for coming to read my post and sharing your story. Love you dearly.

    • I have not traveled much. But would want to for sure have numbers of someone to help me in distress Thanks for this information

Comments are closed.