Vintage Ads: Mid-Century Travel by Boat, Bus, Plane, and Train

Airlines, railroads, buses were all eager for Americans to reach their vacation destinations using their services. These advertisements from the mid-century did their best to lure travelers with promises of luxury, safety, speed, and value.

A Greyhound bus ad
Greyhound Lines
June 10, 1933

“What a glorious vacation you can have — anywhere in America with half the cost, double the fun!”


Magazine advertisement for Pan American airlines
Pan American Airways System
December 28, 1940

“Comfortably seated in a Pan American Clipper, you fly into America while it is still today. You literally push back the horizon to the other side of the world.”


Advertisement for the Union Pacific Railroad, highlighting the sights of Colorado
Union Pacific Railroad
March 9, 1946

“As soon as summer arrives — and with rail conditions greatly improved — we’ll be looking for you.”


A Lockheed ad featuring a woman holding a flower basket near the Brandenburg Gate
The Lockheed Constellation
September 21, 1946

“Swiftly your Constellation soars outward, swiftly over the rim of the North Atlantic, now racing with the turn of the earth — St. Malo off the starboard wingtip and Paris — proud Paris — on the horizon.”


Oceanliner ad featuring a Chinese junk ship
American President Lines
November 2, 1946

“You can plan for it now — the Orient! It is bigger and more beautiful and stranger than other places in the world.”


Airline advertisement, featuring Spanish flamingo dancers
Trans World Airline
November 30, 1946

“Here in the land of perennial Spring, you enjoy special pleasures that are rare indeed the earth around — at its gay fiestas, stirring bullfights, smart Mediterranean resorts.”


American Airlines magazine ad featuring a family boarding an airplane
American Airlines
April 22, 1950

“Now Dad can take the family on a big trip…He pays full fare while Mother and the children go for half when they travel Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.”


A magazine ad for United Airlines featuring a family enjoying San Francisco
United Air Lines
April 17, 1954

“At many points, United offers low-cost ‘stopover tours.’ Example: four days in San Francisco, including hotel and sightseeing, as low as $26.52 plus tax!”