First, a Public Service Announcement: LAST CHANCE to enter the Galley Giveaway / Pimp My Postcard contest! (Original deadline was this Thursday, but I'll probably accept anything I get through the weekend.)
And now I present to you ... thirty old-fashioned travel ads from Life magazine in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s. I found these when I was at the library researching my retro-European-travel-and-stuff book (cough-ahem, comes out April 3rd). They're in chronological order, starting with the 1940s. Most are for specific destinations or ways to get there (e.g. airlines), but I've also included some for travel accessories or that offer some sort of insight into how Americans thought about travel in a given year--like the Chef Boy-Ar-Dee ads that claim popping open a can of spaghetti is "Almost like being in a cafe in Rome."
Note how the mode of transportation and the specific places being advertised evolves over the years. The earliest ones, with one notable exception, are all about seeing the USA by road or rail. Later on, they're about package tours to Europe. And at the very end, in the 1960s, the ads emphasize independent travel to Europe. Okay, enough set-up. You're just here for the ads.
1946. Close-up of text below. Basically, this ad was invited US service men and women
who fought in Europe to come back as tourists.
Close-up of the above ad. Apologies for the low quality of the image.
[many more after the jump]
1952. Prize for the best caption for this one.
1965. Ad is for the Pacific Area Travel Association.