"" Writer's Wanderings: Vintage Travel

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Vintage Travel

While researching for my novel, Ruby, I needed to see if it was feasible for her to take a trip to California in the early 1940s. I found a great story about a troupe of female entertainers who were traveling by train across country and with a little help, the cost was in a range that I thought I could work into the story. Unfortunately, I closed the URL without saving it and when I went back to find it again, I couldn't. But today I thought I'd look at some of the other ways people traveled and vacationed in the 1940s.

During the war, travel by car would have been difficult since gasoline and rubber were rationed. If you were lucky enough to have a working car, you saved it for important errands or trips. Turnpikes and freeways were being developed, mostly in the East, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the largest, opened in 1940.

Trains were the mode of travel most popular around this time and many were very fancy but a lot were used during the war for troop transport. Still, those a bit fancier as time went on contained sleeper cars, dining cars, and lounge cars made by the Pullman Company. Also in the 1940s, steam locomotives were being replaced by diesel.

What about air travel, you ask? Well, United has been around since the 1920s and in the 40s, it was advertising its routes across the country and even to Hawaii. As one of their ads says, "They used to be days away. Now United's famed DC-6 Mainliner 300s will take you to most of this country's vacation spots, including Hawaii, in a few delightful hours." When was the last time you called a plane flight "delightful"? And, the ad goes on, children age 2-12 fly for half fare! Ah, the good ole days.

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