Going from Town to Town in Ancient Greece
People traveled by boat or over land depending on their starting and ending points. Once arriving at a destination, a traveler needed to find a place to stay. A traveler could seek out a proxinoi from their city-state. A proxinoi was an ambassador of sorts, who looked out for the citizens from the city-state he represented. If a traveler ran into legal problems, needed tickets, or a place to stay, the proxinoi gave him directions and support.
A traveler had several options for lodging. If a person was in town on business, his clients often had small rooms or apartments attached to their houses where they could stay. Typically a businessman would share his first meal in town with his host, and then he was on his own for meals for the rest of his stay.
Others might find a place to stay, for a small fee, in a little room in a private house. There were also inns, but the rooms were usually small and dark. A bathroom at an inn consisted of a pot, which was emptied every day or two depending on the quality of the inn.
If a traveler could not afford a room, he could look for a lesche. A lesche was a public shelter, which amounted to a roof over one’s head. For example, in Athens, a traveler could go to the agora at night and use the covered sidewalks for shelter.
Houses and apartments in ancient Greece were very sparsely furnished. The Greeks spent the majority of their days outside. Because of this, they invested little on indoor furnishing. Even in homes of the wealthy, furnishings were limited. They did not want to offend the gods by having more luxuries than were found in the temples.
Travelers that were close friends or relatives of a host family ate with the host family. Strangers were expected to supply their own food and a slave to cook it. If a traveler did not have a slave to cook his meals, he could eat at a local tavern. The variety of food at a tavern depended on the size and quality of the establishment.