19 Vintage Ads Take You Back to When Traveling Was Glamorous
Travel back in time to an era before extra fees for luggage and legroom.
Go home to mother
This American Airlines ad from the 1950s promoted the speed and ease of air travel on their Flagship planes. Just look how easy it was for women to take the kids and fly across the country for a trip home to visit their grandma! With this travel arrangement, everyone would be happy—even the “left-at-home husband.” These vintage photos show how elegant flying used to be.
For travelers looking to maximize their fun and minimize their spending, a mid-winter holiday to Mexico was just the ticket. Air travel was still a relatively new concept for many in the 1950s, and the idea of flying off for a sunny getaway south of the border certainly seemed exotic and glamorous. Looking to buy a gift for an avid traveler in your life? Here are the 20 best gifts for jet-setters.
Cruise to Europe
This ad from 1960 promised a complete resort vacation to passengers who set sail on a Cunard ship. Cunard still offers luxury ocean liners today including their flagship vessel, the Queen Mary 2. Just make sure your attire is culturally sensitive, please. Looking to book a vacation? Here are the best cruises for celebrating the holidays.
A train for all seasons
This business man needed dependable transportation, so he chose to travel by train instead of by airplane in case of bad weather. Union Pacific also promised the comfort of air conditioning and delightful meals while on board. While it would be nice to travel by vintage airplanes, here are 15 vintage cars you’ll wish you could drive today.
See the country
Train travel isn’t just for business—it’s also for pleasure. You can see the gorgeous sites of America, from California to Colorado, while riding on Union Pacific’s Streamliner passenger cars. This ad appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1950. Want to explore more of America by train? Check out the most scenic train rides across America.
Pretty paint job
If you were a manufacturer of planes, trains, tractors, or toys, you needed a quality paint job to elevate your product’s quality. Pittsburgh Plate Glass promoted its Industrial Paint Division in this magazine ad from 1941.
Home on wheels
An overnight trip on a Pullman train was a luxurious experience in 1939. Travelers enjoyed access to a comfortably furnished lounge car “living room,” a separate dressing room and washroom, and private sleeping accommodations.
Southern Pacific’s swift new trains crisscrossed America in the 1940s to take passengers to New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Yosemite, and even Mexico. For those looking to escape snowy winters, Southern Pacific traveled to dude ranches in Arizona and resort hotels in Palm Springs. These affordable destinations still feel like VIP adventures.
No more delays
This 1950 ad reassures passengers that they can relax and rest easy, even during a thunderstorm or winter weather, while aboard the New York Central’s streamliners and Dreamliners. Ever have a flight delayed but didn’t know why? These are the most unusual reasons for flight delays.
National parks map
This bright and colorful ad from Union Pacific showed all of the sites passengers could travel to via rail in 1948, including some of America’s most amazing national parks and scenic sites. Their service was “praised by discriminating travelers.” Check out these rare vintage photos of America’s national parks.
The super chief
Gorgeous actresses and models traveled to and from California on the Santa Fe Super Chief in 1948. And when they reached their destination, they were rested and camera-ready! We know the secrets your train conductor won’t tell you.
Seeking the sun
Pull your hair back in a ponytail and pack your shorts for a sunny getaway to Arizona or California via the Southern Pacific. This 1950 ad promoted swift trips through America’s scenic west. This is the longest train ride in the world.
Give planes a chance
Even this man who promised he would never fly loved his trip up in the sky via American Airlines. This retro advertisement appeared in 1949. Look at the size of that window! Check out the travel secrets only flight attendants know.
Sales go up
These salesmen were ready to take flight to visit their potential clients. This 1950 American Airlines ad promised that businesses would see their profits skyrocket if the sent their sales team up, up and away. Ever wonder what life was like in an earlier decade? These vintage photos show what life was like in the 1950s.
Passengers aboard the Boeing Stratocruiser looked forward to a turbulent-free ride through the skies. This ad published in 1946 mentions notable airline brands from the past, including Pan Am and Northwest. Worried about your luggage before heading off for a trip? These are the airlines least likely to lose or damage your bags.
The Samsonite Silhouette suitcase was sleek, elegant and available in a choice of sleek neutrals—Oxford Grey, Dover White, Biscayne Blue, Platinum Grey, Willow, Tanbark and Deep Olive. Prices in the 1960s ranged from $20 for a hat box to $42.50 for the ladies’ pullman and the men’s two-suiter.
Today, people spend hours or days searching for the cheapest airfare, and every perk seems to cost more—from legroom to luggage. But this magazine ad from 1955 reminds us travel was not always this way. Imagine knowing the interior designer of your airplane! Henry Dreyfuss designed Broadway theater sets before he moved into industrial design, putting his mark on everything from telephones to John Deere tractors. The sleek Lockheed Constellation was known as a “Connie.” Check out these tips in order to have stress-free air travel.
A flying station wagon
On a 1948 Stinson plane, pilots could allegedly learn to fly in ten hours or less. The planes were promoted as safe, dependable, and economical for family and business travel. Henry Dreyfuss designed the spacious interior to transport four people comfortably. With such benefits, everyone should have their own personal plane. Make sure you know about these new air travel rules.
This advertisement from 1946 promoted how easy it was to fly across the pond on TWA. The first commercial flight across the Atlantic occurred in 1938, and interest in leisure travel resumed after the end of World War II. TWA, originally known as Transcontinental and Western Airlines in 1930, was later renamed the Trans World Airline, then Trans World Airlines under owner Howard Hughes. Want to book your next flight? Learn about the best airlines for customer service.