The Adventure of Travel

In my post on Bloomingdale’s Le Train Blue restaurant, I mentioned how much I love old travel advertising. To me, vintage travel ads were about the adventure of travel, about the mysteries and romance waiting for you at just the cost of a ticket, and how getting somewhere was part of the experience.


Whereas today’s advertising is all about how quickly you can get somewhere, how cheap the ticket is, how much leg room you’ll have, and how it’ll look exactly like this picture when you arrive.

It’s a natural part of travel evolution, I guess, but I appreciate when companies make ads in the older style, and I really liked these Amtrak ads I saw in Penn Station the other day.

amtrak (1)

Simple and effective, I like them because they sell the adventure of travel. Reading a book while the Rockies pass by out the window…

amtrak (2)

Eating and playing cards with a friend as the sun sets over the desert mountains…

amtrak (3)

An almost Tomorrowland-esque trip through a city…

amtrak (4)

Who are you going to meet having a drink at the bar?

amtrak (6)

Ha, now, I’m well aware that the realities of train travel in the US don’t always match up to the romantic version you want them to be. But if you’re looking to put me in a seat, this is a much better way to do it than promising me more leg room. Adventure always wins out.


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  1. I’d love to hang those in my house!! They are so cool !!

  2. Travelling the US by train has always been a dream of mine! Unfortunately, I think you are correct in assuming our romanticized notions are out of touch with the reality of train travel here. Oh well, I can live vicariously through those wonderful posters!

  3. If I’m going to D.C. or Boston, I always take the train. Took my nephew to Baltimore to see the Yankees and left my car at home. I enjoy trains. Most of the great lodges and resorts in the U.S. & Canada were built by the railroads; including the doomsday White House, Greenbrier Resort. So it was always about getting you there.

  4. It’s nice to see that Amtrak is trying to at least make their section of Penn Station look a bit better than the hovel it actually is. Too bad they couldn’t figure this out before they tore the old Penn Station down.

  5. If you loved those, you gotta love these ones for Amtrak:

  6. But don’t enjoy a cigar on the journey. You’ll be crucified.

  7. You make a great point, and I have the same affinity for vintage travel ads. This is a nice throwback by Amtrak. Unfortunately it won’t get me to buy a ticket. Even if I’m going to Washington or Boston, I’d sooner fly or drive or even take a bus. Amtrak’s combination of airline ticket prices and Greyhound bus speeds puts it at a serious disadvantage. (And I too love train travel.)

    • Hi Adam,

      I used to think that, too, until a year or so ago! On a wintery day I decided to try Amtrak from NJ/NYC to Buffalo. It was GREAT. I could nap, use the internet, not worry about my driving my car (and I love to drive!) in snow/ice. I did take Business Class, which is like First Class on an airplane, except that you can get up and move around as much as you like. Amtrak used to be about 12 hours from NYC to Buffalo (which is why I wouldn’t take it years ago.) They have now cut it down to about 8.5 hours. I would love to see the trains here in the US like they are in Europe. People have to start using them. And, with the high gas prices, the cost is a break-even with driving. Flying– if you add in the time to get to airport early and go through security– Amtrak is still pretty good. And 1/3 of price of flying.

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