Advertising always provides unique insight into a time, an era - it offers a glimpse into the world as seen through the eyes of those who seek to sell it. Advertisers are a kind of world-maker: they present a vision of a place they want consumers to inhabit. Travel advertising does this perhaps more conspicuously than other forms of marketing. Sifting through the hundreds of travel advertisements from the 1960s - the beginning and golden age of commercial air travel - in the SVA Pictures Collection, one is transported in more ways than one. What did it mean to be a tourist in the 1960s? Who could travel, and where could they go? Travel has always been a luxury, but the commercialization of airplane travel in the 60s meant a reevaluation of cross-country and cross-continental travel as a luxury reserved only for the super wealthy. The primary target audience of travelling advertisements in the 1960s were businessmen (and, occasionally, their families). The ads are often problematic - depicting women as either “motherly” or sex objects, and exoticizing countries outside the United States. Scroll down for a glimpse into the world of travel ads from the swinging 60s, and come visit the Pictures Collection for a closer look.

Advertisement for a travel package to Africa. Two airline servers offer a passenger an elaborate meal and wine.
Realites 1960
A travel advertisement featuring four images of the same man in a suit wearing various hats from different cultures.
The Illustrated London News January 29 1966
Travel advertisement. A woman wearing an evening gown stretches in a seat beside a surprised-looking older man.
Realites July 1964
An air stewardess sits on a chair.
National Geographic June 1968
A Pan-Am bag sits on a ruined column in Rome.
Vogue May 1963