20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

By Leslie Horn on at

Travel was once the epitome of luxury. People dressed in their finest clothes to go to the airport. Ships and planes were things of glamour. In that era, the posters that advertised luxe journeys were just as lovely as the journeys themselves.

The Boston Public Library's Print Department has an extensive collection of these travel posters. Here's what the library's archivists have to say about them:

Railways opened up America and Europe, luxe ocean liners introduced elegance into overseas voyages, and drivers took to the road in record numbers in their new automobiles. By the mid-1940s, new airlines crisscrossed the globe, winging adventure-seekers to far-flung destinations.

Travel agents and ticket offices during this period were festooned with vivid, eye-catching posters, all designed to capture the beauty, excitement and adventure of travel and to promote a world of enticing destinations and new modes of transportation. Individual artists gained fame for their distinctive graphic styles and iconic imagery, and many posters from this era still remain important works of art long after their original advertising purposes have faded.

Fast forward to 2013, and travel is expensive, crowded, and invasive (we're looking at you, handsy airport security pat down). But forget for a minute where things are now and remember what things once were, through the lens of these beautiful, artful travel posters of yore.


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

Cruises in the early 1900s were the epitome of luxury. Now they're just floating Lord of the Flies barges.

Image credit: Flickr


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

This 1935 print made Palestine look utterly divine.

Image credit: Flickr


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

Artist Robert Falcucci created this 1932 advert for a French vacation. It looks like a piece of pop art.

Image credit: Flickr


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

This early 1900s poster is a reminder that France has an unfair advantage in the beauty, culture, and scenery department.

Image credit: Flickr


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

This poster depicts jet travel as a heavenly experience — with none of the crappy peanuts and bad service that await you today.

Image credit: LA Public Library


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

Yes, this poster would have enticed us to go to the 1936 Olympics. If only the whole Nazi thing hadn't been a factor.

Image credit: LA Public Library


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

This Japanese Public Railways ad still works today.

Image credit: LA Public Library


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

This captures exactly what you'd imagine the French Riviera to be like in person.

Image credit: LA Public Library


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

The Switzerland of the South? Artist Harry Kelly's rendering of Tasmania's Lake St. Clair has our attention.

Image credit: Flickr


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

We don't need much more convincing on the winter in Austria idea.

Image credit: Flickr


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

Image credit: Flickr


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

Image credit: Flickr


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

Image credit: Flickr


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

You can go fast as hell on the Autobahn — as illustrated in this tourism poster by German artist Ludwig Hohlwein.

Image credit: Flickr


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

Image credit: Flickr


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

Image credit: Flickr


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

Image credit:Flickr


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

Artist Dorothy Waugh touts what Ken Burns famously called "America's best idea."

Image credit: Flickr


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

Artist Edward Vincent Brewer's rendering of Yellowstone.

Image credit: Flickr


20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous

Edward Eggleston captures the glamour of Atlantic City.

Image credit: Flickr