I’ve never been tempted to take a long trip by bus. I guess I just spent too many hours on the school bus as a kid. I have been on a few tour buses in Europe, but somehow I just don’t think it is the same.
Buses had a lot of competition in the late 1940s and early 50s when these ads appeared in Holiday magazine. Trains still had passenger service all over the US, air travel was becoming more common, and the American love affair with the automobile was well established. So the bus companies had to base their ads on why they were a better choice than the other options: it was cheaper, it was easier, it was connected to more places.
In the long run, the buses lost out to the car and to air travel. I can’t think of a single person I know who has been on a bus trip except for tours, in the past 30 years. The last person I know who traveled by bus was my Aunt Belle, and bus trips always remind me of her.
Belle grew up poor in the mountains of North Carolina, and she ended up living much of her life in Gastonia, a Carolina cotton mill town. There wasn’t a lot of money for vacations and travelling. When she was in her 70s, she and a friend were sitting around lamenting the fact that neither of them had ever been west of the Mississippi. They both started talking about how they had always wanted to see Texas.
Pretty soon, the two of them decided to just up and go. So they called the bus station and found out that there was a bus to Dallas that very evening. Without hesitation, they threw a few things in a bag, made a few sandwiches and rushed to meet the bus. 16 hours later, they were in Texas. I never could get her to tell me what they did there. It was always just, “We saw Texas.”